This week (Nov. 17-21), organizations from all around the world are celebrating International Education and all that it signifies.
At International Experience (iE-USA), our whole mission centers around the values of international education. We aim to provide opportunities for students to explore the world and share their stories, while learning how to interact with new cultures and customs. We believe that learning about other cultures, languages, and customs is the best way to dispel prejudices and embrace global citizenship.
So whether a student is abroad in Spain, the U.S., or South Africa, we know they will be a future contributor to a globalized economy where people from all around the world work together, collaborate, and help each other. What they learn while abroad will not only help them, but those around them.
So this week, we ask you, what does international education mean to you, and how has interaction with someone from another country helped you in your life? Leave us a comment!
Exchange students all over the world experience the same emotions, excitement, and challenges of study abroad no matter where their destination is. If you or a family member are considering studying abroad in the future or even as soon as next semester, what better (free) way to learn about the adaptation process and about other cultures than by hosting a student in the U.S. first?
Most students’ goals are to:
1. Learn another language
2. Learn about other cultures
3. Do something unique and different
What some students and families don’t realize is that by hosting, you are accomplishing these goals as well! Your exchange student will teach you slang, colloquial phrases, and even grammar from their country (do you know how to say ‘Moose’ in Thai for example?). They will explain why they have different customs than yours and show you different ways to think about the world (Did you know Frozen Yogurt shops aren’t very common in Germany?). You will also see how they handle homesickness and culture shock, two things that will happen during your exchange at some point or another that you will learn to overcome.
By becoming a host family and host sibling, you are joining a ‘club’ of sorts of international volunteers that said yes to a unique experience. You never officially stop being a host sibling, ask anyone! The relationships you build, whether as a host or an exchange student, last for a lifetime. Any host family you ask has probably seen their exchange student after they return home. They’ve had chances to visit them and see the country they came from or have invited the student back to their home away from home.
These are the types of things you can also experience, by welcoming a student into your home this year, even for a short period of time.
At iE-USA, you still have time to become a host family and join the “Host Family Club”. You can apply to host a specific student that your family chooses, that will mesh well with your lifestyle, personalities, and interests. And you won’t be alone, you will have a coordinator in your local area (whichever state you are from) to give your family an orientation, check in with you and the student monthly to see how things are going, and solve any problems that may arise. Parents should make a non-binding application at www.ie-usa.org before the end of August, to find the right student.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make a iE student’s dream come true!
The first days were definitely harder than I thought they would be. Once we got busy and started to tour Córdoba it got a lot easier! I love the city and the people in it. They are all very welcoming and so nice! It was a little weird for me at first to be welcomed with a kiss on the cheek because we don’t do much of that back in the states but now I love it! Even complete strangers will welcome you into their home which is very comforting! I do have my days though where I miss my friends and family back home, but I know I will get to see those people again. The people I meet here I might never see again so I know that I have to make the most of my time here!
I am hanging out with my host sister and her friends a lot which is nice because that way we get to know each other a little better! I have one host sister and a host mom and they are both really comforting.
They said that I can talk to them if I’m ever missing home and that I should feel at home here. I don’t start school till March 5th. I am a little for that just because I will be the new kid and feel very overwhelmed because of the language. I know however, that the language will start to come easier for me and after a month or so it will be much easier. I have been here for two weeks now and am looking forward to the next four and a half months that I have ahead of me!