Foreign Exchange Students

Welcome to the USA

For the past several years AYA has asked me to help chaperone one of their student orientations during the month of August. Held in NYC, this is always an exciting, fun-filled four days as we greet students from all over the world, help them adapt to the fast-paced American lifestyle, site see in NYC, and then send them on their way to their host families scattered all over the US.

 

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This year, my daughter Sierra was able to volunteer as well as a teen chaperone. She was on hand as a “expert” of American teen culture and to provide a short presentation of her own exchange experience in Ecuador this past summer with the US Department of State’s  Youth Ambassadors program.

Along with two other American teens, Sierra and the others acted as wonderful liaisons to bridge cultural gaps and fears for the upcoming school year.

 

I decided to make a video this year for my new Youtube Channel, An International Family, to highlight the excitement and energy of Orientation. Not only does this kick off another year of AYA adventures for me as an Local Coordinator, but it also gives you some added insight to what exchange students experience before they even meet their families and friends for the next school year.

 

Strap on your seatbelts and get ready. This post marks the beginning of another year of adventure and cultural exchange!

Foreign Exchange Students

Liebster Award!

How cool is this?!

liebsterA Special Thank You! to DMNicholson at Baguettes and Boarding Passes for nominating my blog for this “newbie” award. Although, I’ve been around the blogosphere for a few years, I still get excited every time someone likes a post or encourages me in my writing. If you like travel, food and culture, you will want to check out Baguettes and Boarding Passes. It’s a pretty awesome blog too.

In the spirit of this award, I would like to nominate Just Add Culture: Stories From Academic Year in America. Their blog launched yesterday, May 27th! They deserve this award because they are the awesome non-profit organization that brings together host families and exchange students from around the world year after year. A part of the American Institute of Foreign Study, AIFS, AYA is committed to “promoting worldwide understanding through cultural exchange”. Cultural Exchange = World Peace.

So Kudos AYA! You have just received your first blogging award!!! Grab the Liebster from my page, post it on yours, then nominate one of your favorite new blogging friends.

To learn more about Academic Year in America and becoming a host family to start your own wonderful cultural exchange experience visit the AYA website by clicking here: www.academicyear.org

Foreign Exchange Students

Ciao Mirko!

Announcing……….

Mirko
Mirko

Mirko, from Italy!

Mirko is coming soon to stay with our family for 10 months thanks to Academic Year in America. We are making great plans for learning about Italian culture (especially the food) and introducing American culture to him. For now, we text through WhatsApp and like each other’s Instagram and Facebook posts. We even managed to Skype once too. We are all getting excited and counting the days until Mirko arrives in the USA.

During the next two months we will finish the school year, celebrate a high school and a college graduation within our American family of kids, prepare to send a daughter to college in North Carolina, and continue to make big plans. It won’t be long until we start the next chapter in our International Family adventure: Italia

Ciao Mirko!

Foreign Exchange Students, Uncategorized

Varsity Letters

This past Fall was filled with soccer. Gabriel played mostly JV soccer for his high school team, and my daughter, Micah, played soccer for her private all girls high school team. Having two high school soccer players in the house required strict attention to schedules and a balancing act of managing rides, soccer Mom duties, and tending to the needs of non-soccer playing siblings that would send most corporate CEO cowering into a corner. We were busy.

The best part of the soccer season, however, occurred after the last game. The infamous awards night, or in my daughter’s case, soccer team banquet.

The public high school honored all of their Fall sports during one massive assembly on a Thursday evening. Name after name of scholar athlete was read, while bleachers filled with proud parents looked on. After a short break for cookies in the cafeteria, the various Fall sports teams separated into individual classrooms for sport specific awards; speeches from coaches, and individual recognition. Gabriel’s team returned to the gym.

To our surprise, Gabriel’s coach spoke briefly about each “Senior” recognizing him within this select group. Kind words were exchanged and Gabriel received a Varsity School Letter, pin, and a special Senior gift. He was thrilled and we were too. 

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Gabriel earned his “W” Varsity letter

Micah’s banquet was equally rewarding. After three years of playing on her school’s soccer team, and a bit of high school athletic politics, she received her Varsity letter. For Micah, this meant the ability to purchase a Varsity letter (woman) jacket, valuable cultural capital at her school. It was a sweet victory earned through patience, persistence and fortitude.

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Micah and her letter (woman) jacket.

It was a busy soccer season, but the effort was worth it. Two high school soccer players, two varsity letters, two varsity letter jackets. American high school culture at its best.

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WHS Varsity Letterman jacket—oh yeah!