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Hosting a foreign exchange student


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Considering it.

We recently moved into a larger home, and are fortunate to be in a decent financial position.  (At least for the moment! Family owned businesses are a roller coaster ride!)  We briefly considered being foster parents but that path doesn't seem to be the right fit for our family.  So, we're thinking about hosting a student through ICES:  boy or girl, age 15-18, would attend the public high school which is a mile away, they have health insurance/allowance, one or two semesters here, we can select the student, we can "return" the student if it doesn't work out.  

Background on us:  DD16, going to DE for 11th, will have her drivers license this fall.  DD13, 9th.  Both girls are active.  Husband works long hours.  I'm full time with the girls.  The girls are very open to the idea. Husband is worried that having another student in the house will take away from his time with the girls. I think we should share our current situation and feel that an exchange student would add yet another positive element to our family dynamics. Any thoughts out there? 

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We've had great experience with exchange students.  I exchanged with a girl in Germany when I was in high school - she lived with us for a year, then I lived with her family for a year.  

During my kids' teens, we hosted two Spanish exchange students in the summer for 6 weeks each, and had a German girl live with us for the full school year - she attended the local high school.  

The one thing I'd say is pay close attention to the kids' profiles and try to find someone who you think your kids would share some interests with.  Although the German girl I lived with for two years didn't have that much in common with me, and it still worked out great - we just had different friends.  But the key was the families on both sides were welcoming.

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Two of our close friends hosted foreign exchange students regularly.  They always chose their students carefully, and actually, always tried to do it when one of their dd's was in 11th grade too.  That seemed to be a good year, because that's the general age of the exchange student of course, plus an 11th grader can be quite independent (old enough to drive etc.), but they're not yet a senior (I mean, your own child) which is always such a busy year, and it would be harder to share that year.

They always had wonderful experiences, and wouldn't trade them for anything.  Now, some students were of course better matches than others, but it was always a positive experience for them, nevertheless.

The only possible concern I might see is if your dd close in age is doing all of her work at home (I assume DE means distance ed?) and the exchange student is at school, it might create a few...situations?  For example, what if the exchange student is in theater or band or some other fun activities and comes home every night excited and talking about them, or talking about all of her public school friends...  Would your dd feel badly that she didn't have those opportunities?  Or, I assume you'd want to support the exchange student at her school events from time to time.  Again, would your dd feel badly that she doesn't have those events?

The families I know who did it were a mix of public and homeschoolers, but their kids close in age to the foreign exchange student were always in public school by then, so they were involved in a lot of the same activities, which worked out well. 

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2 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

We've had great experience with exchange students.  I exchanged with a girl in Germany when I was in high school - she lived with us for a year, then I lived with her family for a year.  

During my kids' teens, we hosted two Spanish exchange students in the summer for 6 weeks each, and had a German girl live with us for the full school year - she attended the local high school.  

The one thing I'd say is pay close attention to the kids' profiles and try to find someone who you think your kids would share some interests with.  Although the German girl I lived with for two years didn't have that much in common with me, and it still worked out great - we just had different friends.  But the key was the families on both sides were welcoming.

Wow, that's great that you were able to take turns being exchange students at the other's home!

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5 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Wow, that's great that you were able to take turns being exchange students at the other's home!


I think that's the best way.  My mom was also an exchange student, to Mexico when she was 16.  She spent 2 summers with that family, and the student (a boy 3 years younger than she) spent 2 or 3 winters with her family.  She's still in close contact with them.  I spent a summer with the same family in Mexico when I was 15.  So I looked hard for a mutual exchange opportunity.  With the German girl we hosted, we also asked if one of my dds could spend a summer with them, and one of them did.  That same dd is starting a coop job in Germany in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure she'll visit her.

As far as homeschooled or not - both my older dds attended high school the year our student was here, but my younger dd was being homeschooled.  I wasn't homeschooled, but I attended a private school; our exchange student went to the public high school - my brother was in 8th grade and went to the jr. high in the same building.

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43 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Two of our close friends hosted foreign exchange students regularly.  They always chose their students carefully, and actually, always tried to do it when one of their dd's was in 11th grade too.  That seemed to be a good year, because that's the general age of the exchange student of course, plus an 11th grader can be quite independent (old enough to drive etc.), but they're not yet a senior (I mean, your own child) which is always such a busy year, and it would be harder to share that year.

They always had wonderful experiences, and wouldn't trade them for anything.  Now, some students were of course better matches than others, but it was always a positive experience for them, nevertheless.

The only possible concern I might see is if your dd close in age is doing all of her work at home (I assume DE means distance ed?) and the exchange student is at school, it might create a few...situations?  For example, what if the exchange student is in theater or band or some other fun activities and comes home every night excited and talking about them, or talking about all of her public school friends...  Would your dd feel badly that she didn't have those opportunities?  Or, I assume you'd want to support the exchange student at her school events from time to time.  Again, would your dd feel badly that she doesn't have those events?

The families I know who did it were a mix of public and homeschoolers, but their kids close in age to the foreign exchange student were always in public school by then, so they were involved in a lot of the same activities, which worked out well. 

Sorry...I mean dual enrollment.  Thanks for the insight! Super helpful. 

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I think your dh's concerns need to be taken very seriously. Having another person in house is, almost by definition, going to take away from his time with the girls (certainly his time with only the girls). And, with them being teens, they are going to be gone before you know it. 

A foreign exchange student might or might not add positively to the family dynamic. Even if it for sure would, your dh might value his time with the girls more than he values that potential dynamic, and I think that's valid. 

Edited by katilac
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1 hour ago, katilac said:

I think your dh's concerns need to be taken very seriously. Having another person in house is, almost by definition, going to take away from his time with the girls (certainly his time with only the girls). And, with them being teens, they are going to be gone before you know it. 

A foreign exchange student might or might not add positively to the family dynamic. Even if it for sure would, your dh might value his time with the girls more than he values that potential dynamic, and I think that's valid. 

I agree. I wouldn't do it if your dh isn't on board.

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10 hours ago, J-rap said:

Wow, that's great that you were able to take turns being exchange students at the other's home!

There are programs that specifically do this. Adolesco and En Famille are two.

of course you can do your own private exchange if you have friends/family overseas. 

I did not have a great time hosting and won’t do it again with a teen. Maybe if I know the family. 

Edited by madteaparty
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I run short-term exchange student programs and oversee year-long students.  I have hosted 12 people short-term and been over about 100 kids and adults.  I think for someone with the time to put into the exchange, that year-long exchanges can be incredibly rewarding.  I have not year done a semester or year-long exchange.  I may do it after my older 2 kids graduate and go off to college and then again I may not.  I take things year by year and with a senior next year, I don't think I can.   An exchange student, though independent in so many ways, is like having another child.  You have to give hugs, encouragement, help with homework, carpools, parties, and all the rest.  It is a big commitment.  If you feel like you can incorporate another child into your family then I would say-- do it!!  Make sure you carefully pick out the student.  Find a coordinator that will go through your application and the child's application and see if it will be a good fit.  It may not always be a good fit.  I have had kids that fit into my family as if they were one of my own.  I have had kids that I have had to work hard with to make sure they felt like part of the family.  I have never had a bad exchange, but I have only hosted for a maximum of 6 weeks.  I have had kids I oversee not work out with their host families.  This year though, I have had 2 very successful year-long exchanges where the students don't want to go home and their host families adore them.  I just finished a 3-week exchange where I had 9 kids come from Germany and hang out with host families and attend a local school for 7 days. It was a wonderful program and I would say that there was only one student that was "negative" in the group.  The host family has hosted before and was not deterred from hosting again because this one young lady was a little negative.  I love to host in the summer when we have all the time in the world to play and have fun.  My oldest daughter was able to visit one of our exchange students last summer in Germany.  It was nice for her to see the German culture from that perspective.  If you are able to find someone that does short-term exchanges I would say to start there and then if your family loves that experience then definitely do a long-term exchange!

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I'm not familiar with ICES, but my high school junior is currently abroad on a year exchange through Rotary, and we are hosting a student from Turkey. It has been so fun hosting this young man - my first "son" as I have two girls. It has helped us look with fresh eyes at our city and all it has to offer, and enlivened our family time with long conversations over meals and after dinner games. It hasn't been an issue here that he attends our local high school while my younger dd homeschools. 

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5 hours ago, Bocky said:

I'm not familiar with ICES, but my high school junior is currently abroad on a year exchange through Rotary, and we are hosting a student from Turkey. It has been so fun hosting this young man - my first "son" as I have two girls. It has helped us look with fresh eyes at our city and all it has to offer, and enlivened our family time with long conversations over meals and after dinner games. It hasn't been an issue here that he attends our local high school while my younger dd homeschools. 

Are you hosting the student from Turkey through Rotary also?

 

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On 5/1/2019 at 6:15 PM, katilac said:

I think your dh's concerns need to be taken very seriously. Having another person in house is, almost by definition, going to take away from his time with the girls (certainly his time with only the girls). And, with them being teens, they are going to be gone before you know it. 

A foreign exchange student might or might not add positively to the family dynamic. Even if it for sure would, your dh might value his time with the girls more than he values that potential dynamic, and I think that's valid. 

This. My family growing up hosted a student and I went to stay with her family for a year. I've always wanted to host one, but DH was never on board. When I found a young man who has many of the same interests as ds, I asked again and DH and ds both agreed. Unfortunately, the young man was also a swimmer and played on a water polo team, which is what he wanted to do here. He hasn't connected with DS on the things they have in common. This young man hasn't gelled well with our family and I think one reason is that dh resents having someone else in the house, even though last summer he seemed on board. There have been some other issues, some in part due to the language, some due to personality. 

There is another exchange young lady from the same country who lives in our neighborhood, but she's there for only one semester. She seems to have gelled with that family very quickly and I could see them housing another exchange student.

I would recommend trying it out for a semester or 6 weeks and see how it goes. It's very different having someone else live in your house for a year.

One thing I'm very thankful for is that he has another family he spends lots of time with who has a son who is very similar to our student. He is able to enjoy his time when he's with them more, I think, them when he's with us. I also found a different family to hang around with when I was a student because I didn't get along with my host family, either. They were a life saver for me and 30 years later, I'm still in contact with them. I didn't stay connected to my host family

Edited by wilrunner
Posting on a phone and needed to clean up some grammar.
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On 5/1/2019 at 7:15 PM, katilac said:

I think your dh's concerns need to be taken very seriously. Having another person in house is, almost by definition, going to take away from his time with the girls (certainly his time with only the girls). And, with them being teens, they are going to be gone before you know it. 

A foreign exchange student might or might not add positively to the family dynamic. Even if it for sure would, your dh might value his time with the girls more than he values that potential dynamic, and I think that's valid. 

You are right.  And dh is not 100% on board.  Appreciate your insight. 

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On 5/2/2019 at 5:11 AM, borninthesouth said:

I run short-term exchange student programs and oversee year-long students.  I have hosted 12 people short-term and been over about 100 kids and adults.  I think for someone with the time to put into the exchange, that year-long exchanges can be incredibly rewarding.  I have not year done a semester or year-long exchange.  I may do it after my older 2 kids graduate and go off to college and then again I may not.  I take things year by year and with a senior next year, I don't think I can.   An exchange student, though independent in so many ways, is like having another child.  You have to give hugs, encouragement, help with homework, carpools, parties, and all the rest.  It is a big commitment.  If you feel like you can incorporate another child into your family then I would say-- do it!!  Make sure you carefully pick out the student.  Find a coordinator that will go through your application and the child's application and see if it will be a good fit.  It may not always be a good fit.  I have had kids that fit into my family as if they were one of my own.  I have had kids that I have had to work hard with to make sure they felt like part of the family.  I have never had a bad exchange, but I have only hosted for a maximum of 6 weeks.  I have had kids I oversee not work out with their host families.  This year though, I have had 2 very successful year-long exchanges where the students don't want to go home and their host families adore them.  I just finished a 3-week exchange where I had 9 kids come from Germany and hang out with host families and attend a local school for 7 days. It was a wonderful program and I would say that there was only one student that was "negative" in the group.  The host family has hosted before and was not deterred from hosting again because this one young lady was a little negative.  I love to host in the summer when we have all the time in the world to play and have fun.  My oldest daughter was able to visit one of our exchange students last summer in Germany.  It was nice for her to see the German culture from that perspective.  If you are able to find someone that does short-term exchanges I would say to start there and then if your family loves that experience then definitely do a long-term exchange!

I believe ICES does offer short term programs - one semester.  And maybe 6 weeks.  I'll definitely look into this option. Thank you! 

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On ‎5‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 3:44 AM, borninthesouth said:

Are you hosting the student from Turkey through Rotary also?

 

Yes. And in fall we'll host a Rotary student from the country my dd17 is doing her exchange in. Hopefully it won't be too much, even though it will be dd17's senior year.

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We only did some summer hosting.  We hosted three pairs of kids from China and one kid from Spain over four different summers.

It was like everyone had said when we researched before hosting:  the kids from China were pretty easy to host.  Their culture is so entrenched with respecting your elders and with checking to be sure that everyone else is happy, that they were practically effortless to host. They put a lot of effort into being good guests.

And, like everyone had said, the kid from Spain was a lot harder.  He wasn’t rude at all, but his culture was one where the young people go to discos and stay out until 1 or 2 in the morning.  Teens (young teens, too), expect to leave home and stay out with friends all day until the early hours of the morning.  And here we are, living in a small town, where most things are closed for the night before 8:00.  He tried to be polite about it, but he seemed pretty bored with us.

I’d agree to make a careful match.  See, we were supposed to be matched with Iker from Spain.  He said he liked coin collecting and museums and reading and that very much matched my family’s pace of life.  But then, the day before Iker was to arrive, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and couldn’t come, so we figured we wouldn’t have a student that year.

But then we got a call a week later that a different student, Telmo, wasn’t happy with his host home because it was with a little old man and lady and he was so bored.  They asked us if Telmo could be with us.  I looked at Telmo’s profile:  he liked sports and I can’t remember exactly what it said, but basically he was about as opposite from Iker as possible...and opposite from us.  With trepidation, I agreed to host Telmo thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.

We made it through our month with Telmo, but it was hard.  None of us had anything in common with each other, and he was used to a more exciting life with a group of friends hanging around all day.  We just don’t live like that.  My guys are quiet introverts.  My shy sons were very intimidated by him and rarely spoke to him because they couldn’t think of anything to say.  The emotional work for me that month was pretty overwhelming—trying to keep my museum loving kids happy on their summer break, while also keeping the disco-going Telmo happy...and they all didn’t talk to each other, so I did all the talking to everyone. It was exhausting.

There was nothing wrong with us or with Telmo, but we were a bad match.  For all I know, we’d been a bad match with some of the Chinese kids, but their culture is such that they helped smooth over any discrepancies and they worked just as hard as I would have to keep things flowing.    

So, a careful match is important.  

My dh was on board for hosting, but I did pretty much all the work of caring for another teenager in the house, just because he was out of the house at work all day.  It was a lot of work for me.  It was worth it for the Chinese kids, but I’m not sure it was good for us for our Spanish student.  We were all very stressed that month.  

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When oldest was in public school, we did an exchange program through the public high school. A group of students from the same country/school came and there were planned activities and field trips. It was only for a couple of months which was just right for us. Later, oldest went and spent several months with our exchange student and his family. It was a good experince for us, but there were some issues. Our student was from Germany where students can drink, go out, and take public transportation whenever they want. We live in a small city in a suburban type neighborhood without public transportation and we had two very young kids. Our exchange student wasn't used to young children and I think he felt a bit stifled by the lack of things to do or places to go although we tried to give him as much freedom as possible.

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7 hours ago, Garga said:

  while also keeping the disco-going Telmo happy...and 

 

This is something I have seen mentioned here and on other boards as well - many European teens seem accustomed to quite the night life! The drinking age they are used to is quite often 16. Even in places where it is 18, teen night clubs are often quite popular, so even young teens may go out dancing and such most weekends. It leads to big mismatches in expectations for what a high schooler should be doing in regards to their social life. It's definitely a variable to account for and one I'd go into some detail about on my application. If teen clubbing is not something you're okay with, I'd massively stress this fact. 

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25 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

This is something I have seen mentioned here and on other boards as well - many European teens seem accustomed to quite the night life! The drinking age they are used to is quite often 16. Even in places where it is 18, teen night clubs are often quite popular, so even young teens may go out dancing and such most weekends. It leads to big mismatches in expectations for what a high schooler should be doing in regards to their social life. It's definitely a variable to account for and one I'd go into some detail about on my application. If teen clubbing is not something you're okay with, I'd massively stress this fact. 

Yeah, I'd heard about it before we had our Spanish guy, but thought the reports were exaggerated.  They weren't!  Telmo seemed to find us to be very, very backward.  He was very much used to a rather cosmopolitan lifestyle where he spends almost zero time with his family and all of his time with a group of 30 teenagers.  They spend all day long on the beach, then until the wee hours of the morning at the disco.  Every day all summer.  He was 17 and the drinking age there is 18, but he told us that the discos are very loose in enforcing the drinking age. 

My family likes doing puzzles in the evening....and I've never been drunk in my life.

I felt like we were the biggest nerds paired up with the coolest kid in school.  It was a very bad fit. I felt like Telmo was mostly bored with us.  There were a lot of awkward evenings where none of us knew what to do with each other.  We showed him Stranger Things on Netflix and he loved that!  That was nice.  There were a few big things we did with him that he enjoyed:  a roller coaster park, a rodeo, and he got to shoot a gun.  But the things we would normally do in the summer?  Museums and the local fireman's carnival?  He wasn't impressed.

Also...a lot of the kids are pretty wealthy.  We just couldn't keep up.  Everything we had thought of to do with Telmo, he'd already done, only better.  His father is an important man in his country, so Telmo talked about the bodyguards he had at home when the ETA (a Spanish terrorist group) was active.  He talked about family vacations to Monaco.  He skis in the alps.  His family gets tickets to events that are thousands per ticket.  Everything I could possibly think of to do with him was something he'd already done, and done better.  I was going to take him to some local caverns, but he'd already been to some of the biggest caverns in the world.  My boys and I were going to tour some cathedrals that year...but Telmo is from Spain...he'd already seen some of the most amazing cathedrals in the world in his own country.

Yeah, he was really bored with us.  🙂  If I ever host again, it'll be the Chinese kids.  A number of them were very wealthy as well (one kid's dad had two masseratis), but they were better at hiding it and acting happy even when you had them do something much dinkier than they were used to, like go to the local carnival.  And since East/West culture is sooooo different, they were impressed even with our dinky things.  Everything felt fresh and new to them.  Europe to America isn't as big of a cultural jump as China to America, so the Chinese kids ended up being impressed by simple things, just because it was all so different.

Hang on...Telmo was super impressed with our grocery stores!  He had never seen so many choices.  In the stores where he is (even in the rich area) there aren't entire aisles of cereals.  There aren't 6 different kinds of Oreo cookies and 10 different kinds of M&Ms and 10 different flavors of Gatorade.  He spent a lot of time in those aisles looking at all the flavors.  (Pringles, too...he was amazed at all the Pringle flavors.)

 

 

I just realized I was rambling.  Basically:  get a good match with your student.  I'm still convinced that the first Spanish guy we were matched with would have been a good fit for our family.  Coin collecting, reading, and museums.  I think he'd have enjoyed the simpler things we could have showed him, because he sounded like a quieter type of person.  I think he'd have enjoyed our American cathedrals, even though they're not as nice as the ones in Spain.  And I think he'd have liked doing things like puzzles with us in the evening.  We just happened to get matched with the night-life loving European teen you hear about.  Telmo is a great guy (and was very funny, I laughed a lot with him!) but our family as a whole wasn't a good match for him.

 

Edited by Garga
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12 minutes ago, Garga said:

 Hang on...Telmo was super impressed with our grocery stores!  He had never seen so many choices.  In the stores where he is (even in the rich area) there aren't entire aisles of cereals.  There aren't 6 different kinds of Oreo cookies and 10 different kinds of M&Ms and 10 different flavors of Gatorade.  He spent a lot of time in those aisles looking at all the flavors.  (Pringles, too...he was amazed at all the Pringle flavors.)

 

😂😂

And yeah, if the drinking age is 21, you're going to have 19- and 20-yr-olds drinking. If the drinking age is 18, you're going to have many more 16- and 17-yr-olds drinking. 

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45 minutes ago, Garga said:

Yeah, I'd heard about it before we had our Spanish guy, but thought the reports were exaggerated.  They weren't!  Telmo seemed to find us to be very, very backward.  He was very much used to a rather cosmopolitan lifestyle where he spends almost zero time with his family and all of his time with a group of 30 teenagers.  They spend all day long on the beach, then until the wee hours of the morning at the disco.  Every day all summer.  He was 17 and the drinking age there is 18, but he told us that the discos are very loose in enforcing the drinking age. 

My family likes doing puzzles in the evening....and I've never been drunk in my life.

I felt like we were the biggest nerds paired up with the coolest kid in school.  It was a very bad fit. I felt like Telmo was mostly bored with us.  There were a lot of awkward evenings where none of us knew what to do with each other.  We showed him Stranger Things on Netflix and he loved that!  That was nice.  There were a few big things we did with him that he enjoyed:  a roller coaster park, a rodeo, and he got to shoot a gun.  But the things we would normally do in the summer?  Museums and the local fireman's carnival?  He wasn't impressed.

Also...a lot of the kids are pretty wealthy.  We just couldn't keep up.  Everything we had thought of to do with Telmo, he'd already done, only better.  His father is an important man in his country, so Telmo talked about the bodyguards he had at home when the ETA (a Spanish terrorist group) was active.  He talked about family vacations to Monaco.  He skis in the alps.  His family gets tickets to events that are thousands per ticket.  Everything I could possibly think of to do with him was something he'd already done, and done better.  I was going to take him to some local caverns, but he'd already been to some of the biggest caverns in the world.  My boys and I were going to tour some cathedrals that year...but Telmo is from Spain...he'd already seen some of the most amazing cathedrals in the world in his own country.

Yeah, he was really bored with us.  🙂  If I ever host again, it'll be the Chinese kids.  A number of them were very wealthy as well (one kid's dad had two masseratis), but they were better at hiding it and acting happy even when you had them do something much dinkier than they were used to, like go to the local carnival.  And since East/West culture is sooooo different, they were impressed even with our dinky things.  Everything felt fresh and new to them.  Europe to America isn't as big of a cultural jump as China to America, so the Chinese kids ended up being impressed by simple things, just because it was all so different.

Hang on...Telmo was super impressed with our grocery stores!  He had never seen so many choices.  In the stores where he is (even in the rich area) there aren't entire aisles of cereals.  There aren't 6 different kinds of Oreo cookies and 10 different kinds of M&Ms and 10 different flavors of Gatorade.  He spent a lot of time in those aisles looking at all the flavors.  (Pringles, too...he was amazed at all the Pringle flavors.)

 

 

I just realized I was rambling.  Basically:  get a good match with your student.  I'm still convinced that the first Spanish guy we were matched with would have been a good fit for our family.  Coin collecting, reading, and museums.  I think he'd have enjoyed the simpler things we could have showed him, because he sounded like a quieter type of person.  I think he'd have enjoyed our American cathedrals, even though they're not as nice as the ones in Spain.  And I think he'd have liked doing things like puzzles with us in the evening.  We just happened to get matched with the night-life loving European teen you hear about.  Telmo is a great guy (and was very funny, I laughed a lot with him!) but our family as a whole wasn't a good match for him.


The rich-kid thing.  This is why I don't like to use exchange outfits that charge $$$ for the kids to go on them - the ones that offer to pay you a stipend are probably the worst for this.  

The couple of Spanish kids we had were reasonably well-off, but not super-rich (they paid for the trip, but we didn't get paid).  The German kids we had (paid almost nothing for the exchanges, and we got paid nothing) were solidly middle-class.

There is a ton more freedom for teens in Europe.   They take public transportation to school and around their towns/cities starting in grade school.  US suburban teen life to them seems very constricted.  But if you choose their profile well, you can minimize that - there are plenty of European teens not into the party scene even if it's there for the taking (and Spain has a much more intense and all-night nightlife than most).  The German girl we had for a year was a studious homebody who was happy with the Outdoors Club at the high school. 

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4H has short term summer exchange programs.

We hosted a Korean boy and a Japanese girl for a summer program.  They were good guests but it was a bit tiring for all the introverts in the family, and even the extrovert got a bit tired by the end!  Of course, we tried to do more with them than if they had been here a whole year.  They don't have a lot of outdoor activities and spaces available, they both lived in large cities, so they appreciated fairly cheap outdoor activities that our area has in abundance.  We also drove to visit my parents and do big city activities, my mom is a huge extrovert so enjoyed doing things with them and planning things with and for them.

https://www.states4hexchange.org/summer-inbound/

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On 5/5/2019 at 5:24 PM, Matryoshka said:


The rich-kid thing.  This is why I don't like to use exchange outfits that charge $$$ for the kids to go on them - the ones that offer to pay you a stipend are probably the worst for this.  

The couple of Spanish kids we had were reasonably well-off, but not super-rich (they paid for the trip, but we didn't get paid).  The German kids we had (paid almost nothing for the exchanges, and we got paid nothing) were solidly middle-class.

There is a ton more freedom for teens in Europe.   They take public transportation to school and around their towns/cities starting in grade school.  US suburban teen life to them seems very constricted.  But if you choose their profile well, you can minimize that - there are plenty of European teens not into the party scene even if it's there for the taking (and Spain has a much more intense and all-night nightlife than most).  The German girl we had for a year was a studious homebody who was happy with the Outdoors Club at the high school. 

It’s not just the party scene though. These kids just want to go out. I understand because I also grew up like that moving around in herds from coffee shop to coffee shop but unless you want to go for a hike there’s literally nothing you can do from my house unless someone drives you. And even then, where would they go?  Shopping is another thing. Some kids love to go shopping and I think malls are the fourth circle. 

My friend had a hell of a time with a German girl, she had to be moved. 

The short term 4H type exchanges have been successful here but mostly because the host is going to pieces with the programming. My short term exchanges were successful because the kids were younger and in your typical lake and mountain day camp all day, plus I went to pieces programming plus I could tell the parents, hey, this doesn’t fly. 

a longer term exchange with a teen I will never do again, unless it’s a friend of DC and they ask and I know child and family. I’m a huge fan of international education but I wish I knew then what I know now. 

Edited by madteaparty
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