Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And so it begins....

At what point does one begin to blog? Who's to say what I have to say is important enough for others to follow and possibly quote later?

I'm compelled to write down what I've learned from my observations during the 6 years I've been a Rotary Youth Exchange host mother, exchange officer, district mom, bus trip coordinator and lately, a district youth exchange committee member, not to mention the mother of a rebound student (one who has gone out and returned) and an outbound student (one about to depart for a year). Dealing with 16-19 year old foreign exchange students has been a highlight of my life for the last 6 years. Oh, the things I have learned about the world, how kids think, how mom's react (totally a universal phenomenon), how kids mature when put into a very stressful situation of living a year abroad away from family and most importantly, how I have grown...

I will start by acknowledging my previous students that I have lived with me anywhere from 2 days to 6 months. I've had so many come through my door that my son-in-law calls them FES (Foreign Exchange Student) # ___. I find myself referring to them by their countries when talking to others.

So in order of their stay with me from 2003-2009:
Aron (Brazil)
Pierre (France)
Paul (France)
Axana (Germany)
Tomoko (Japan)
Jahn (Switzerland)
Bank (Thailand)
Iida (Finland)
Lisa (Sweden)
Tom (Czech Republic)
Martyna (Germany)
Jose (Bolivia)
Karri-Ann (Australia)

Since I've already dealt with 6 years of this exchange life, I will occasionally refer to the past but will be typically writing in the present.

I truly believe that I am changing the world one teenager at a time. I wish I could bottle the compassion, understanding and insight these kids learn while on their exchanges. If we all had a small taste of what they get, imagine how much better the world would be.

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