Foreign Exchange student

Old Oct 24th, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Dear crest:

I have had several friends host Rotary students, and have had friends send their children out on this exchange. A friend's son went to Bolivia and had a great experience: he had a great host family. Her daughter went to Italy and the experience was so-so: the host brother was a real brat. Others have been to Argentina & Finland, which they thought was great. I think it depends on the kid and the host family. I do know in S. America, the host families are usually more affluent. Our friend's son had maids and housekeepers in Bolivia.

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Old Oct 24th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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My brother and his wife had a maid when they lived in El Salvador on a Peace Corps salary, and they sure weren't affluent. Having a maid in a country like that doesn't mean you're affluent. They were poorer there than I'd call middle class in the US.
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 03:36 AM
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My 16 yo daughter (from Australia) completed a 6 month exchange to France last year and I agree with earlier posts that immersion can be brutal and the experience is dependent on a lot of luck with respect to family and school. If your daughter gets a good family and school then that's great but if not then the whole experience can be a negative one.

We are currently hosting a 16 year French girl and she's told us that Australians are just so much more friendly and open than the French which would explain why other exchange students enjoy Australia so much. I would have to say that it's a lot more difficult for Australians going to France than French going to Australia!

In my daughter's case language was difficult (and yes she was fluent within 3 months) but it is the cultural aspect that can really make the difference. Just be aware that whilst many students have the best experience of their life, others have an ok time and for some it can be a nightmare. It is certainly not true to say that all exchange students have a good time. Anyway best of luck with your daughter's exchange. With Rotary I believe that they change host families every few months in which case if the family's not ok the first time then she'll be changed to another family.
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 04:05 AM
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The last post where they change families as part of the Rotary program is what I have heard as well.

Since we just finished a Jr. Year Abroad with our youngest daughter, I have one main comment. I think the experience will depend on how much your daughter wants this experience and how much SHE wants it to succeed. If her parents are a little less knowledgeable
and less enthusiastic, that is to the good. The more the young person has to want it for herself, the harder she will try when homesickness, culture differences, etc. really hit. She will realize as the person who cried on the
hill? that she choose this. Not her mother, father, school, college apps etc. And she has 10 months left, etc. It's a chance of a lifetime.

I encourage her to prep on the language no matter if English is spoken by many. If she is assigned Italy, take a conversational course at college extension, on-line, etc. Knowing as much as she can will give her a leg up iin her own confidence in adaptation and assimilation. Once again, her own motivation will show itself on this one.

That said, I agree with the person who said the South American families are often more affluent. A member in Rotary in those countries is definitely in the upper crust even though a maid or two doesn't mean much in general there.
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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I have five children all were Rotary Exchange Students with totally wonderful different experiences. Our district allows the students to put 6 choices of countries and then the Rotary chooses for the student based on the students preference and the Rotary experience after interviews and the students application. My oldest son went to the Philippines and classes were taught in English, my oldest daughter went to India and some of her classes were taught in English and she had little trouble with speaking only a little Hindi, which she picked up there. My next daughter went to Australia and obviously the language was not a problem there. My youngest daughter and youngest son return ed in July from Finland and Thailand respectively and both had wonderful experiences. My daughter who went to Finland is now fluent in Finnish and is in her first year of college and they are allowing her Finnish to be her launguage requirement. She was my child that I thought would have the most difficult time learning a foriegn language. She went to language class once or twice a week and then there was an exam at the end of the year. She lived with three families. The first two did have students in school and the parents spoke English pretty well but they made her speak Finnish gradually. Her last family was an older couple that the mother knew English but did not use it alot so my daughter was force to use Finnish which she was quite proficient with by then. She is studing to be a teacher and she can't wait to go back and possibly teacher English in Finland for a year or two. My youngest son went to Thailand and it took him about three months to learn Thai. Most young people spoke English but the classes were all taught in Thai so it took him a while to feel comfortable in class. He took his Junior year there and is retaking Junior year here again. The biggest reason being that he is still not sure what he wants to do in college so his father and I thought an extra year in high school made more sense in our situation then going crazy applying to colleges now, not know what he wanted to do. We also have hosted 6 students over the year and they are all wonderful students and I feel that I have children all over the world. The host families that my children stayed with were very open and took my children in like they were their own. The Rotary has very good rules that the students must follow and the students have several people within their host club and their home club they can talk to if problems develope. My two boys went as Juniors in High School, my oldest son's junior year counted because he went to school that was taught in English and my second son is repeating his junior year. My daughters all went after they had graduated from High School.
Hope this helps. Sorry it is so long. I think the Rotary program is the best one out there. All of my children say that also from their experiences with being on exchange with other students from other programs. The Rotary District that sponsored all of my children also tends to include students from other programs in activies that they do because alot of other programs put the students with a family and forget about them.
Good luck to your daughter and I hope she has a adventure of a lifetime.
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