Dreams Fulfilled or Dreams Shattered? What is Your Role?
- Organization: Council For International Educational Exchange
- Causes: Educational
- Date(s): August 2012 to June 2013
- Contact person: Sheila Buckley, Local Coordinator
- Phone: 215.242.5026
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.cieeusa.org/highschool
Dreams Fulfilled? Or Dreams Shattered? What is Your Role?
Teenagers from around the world dream of coming to America. Seven students from Spain, South Korea, Poland, Germany and Slovakia have just fulfilled their dream by spending the school year in Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, attending local high schools, and immersing themselves in all things American. Living with a host family offered them the chance to experience American hospitality first hand. With their host families, they visited the New Jersey shore, went snowboarding and skiing, watched baseball, football and basketball games and saw Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. In the Philadelphia area, local coordinator, Sheila Buckley, organizes gatherings of the students both with and without their host families – sometimes in Historic Philadelphia with photo opportunities next to Rocky, the Love sculpture and the Liberty Bell or on a jaunt to visit an Amish family in the Lancaster countryside (here the gigantic, family style, shared meal is always the highlight) or seeing a Broadway musical or relaxing around the pool of a host family or simply visiting a local park or going to Friendly’s.
The students study hard and are eager to become immersed in the life of their schools. Jakub from Slovakia helped his school football and lacrosse teams to the championships; Marina from Spain was a lively addition to her high school musical and to the cheerleaders; Charls from South Korea was a proud “American” in his high school marching band and used his artistic skills to paint a giant mural in his host family’s bathroom; Jan Hendrik from Germany and Jaime from Spain propelled their schools’ soccer teams into the regional finals; Jaime learned that he had to wear a helmet when riding a bike but not for downhill skiing (the opposite rules apply in Spain); Julia from Poland taught her Social Studies class that her country is no longer a Communist country. All the students donated their time and energy to feed the poor, clean up streams, and generally enrich the lives of others. Jakub’s host mother reported that he “got to experience the full traditional Thanksgiving extravaganza. He especially liked the turkey and mashed potatoes....lots and lots of mashed potatoes....and turkey soup the next day!” Other students prepared typical dishes of their countries for their host families – sometimes with the assistance of their natural families across the world on Skype. At the final pool party, they voted Chipolte Mexican Grill as their favorite fast food restaurant; they did not like Philly Cheese Steaks – mostly because of the “funny tasting cheese”.
How can you help fulfill a teen’s dream? Here are some students anxiously awaiting a host family in our region so that their dream might be realized: NATHALIA is a 17-year-old girl from Brazil. "I am fascinated by traveling and knowing other cultures," she writes. During her exchange year she would like to play volleyball and soccer, join a cooking class, chorus and other clubs. She has an older sister, younger brother, a pet dog, and she wants to be a doctor.
Another waiting teen is IGNACIO, a 17-year-old boy from Mexico who considers himself “an easy person. I am not a fussy eater, I like to exercise, and I'm very healthy." He is passionate about soccer, but likes all sports. He also enjoys board games, card games, video games, and watching movies. He looks forward to playing soccer, ice skating, and skiing while in the US. He has two siblings.
Then there is HANZHANG is a 16-year-old boy from China. "People often say that I'm open-minded, warm-hearted and respectful of the older generations." He enjoys playing table tennis and basketball, singing and biking. During his exchange year he would like to join the basketball team or school orchestra, playing the saxophone. He dreams of being an automotive designer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGT2Id06oYQ&feature=youtu.be
DANIEL, a 16-year-old boy from Spain, anticipates learning about life and culture in the USA. He is especially interested in the environment. He has a golf handicap of 11 and plays on a soccer team. He loves music and plays the electric guitar. His favorite subjects are math and physics and he wants to be an engineer. He has no siblings.
PONTUS, a 17-year-old boy from Sweden is known to be very kind, empathetic and helpful. He enjoys watching and playing soccer, spending time on his family's boat, and swimming. During his exchange year he would like to be involved in student council and playing badminton, soccer and baseball. He has one younger sister. He completed a homestay program in Spain and has studied French for 6 years. He has a pet dog named Chloe, but he is allergic to cats and to birch.
RUBIA is a 17-year-old girl from Brazil. "I usually make friends very easy and I smile a lot." She likes to listen to music and read; she enjoys shopping and playing volleyball. While in the USA, she is interested in playing volleyball, cheerleading, ice-skating, and joining a drama club. She has one younger sister and four dogs (German shepherd, boxer, and 2 mutts). She is allergic to smoke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBvY-MD2oas
Every year since 1947, the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) makes it possible for Americans to invite foreign students into their homes. While these well screened students are in the USA, a local coordinator oversees all aspects of the program, so that it is a success for the students far from their own homes, for the host families and for the hosting schools.
The host families and their schools were all enriched by the experience of sharing and understanding the culture and traditions of a young ambassador from overseas. Families who host represent the ultimate in American hospitality. Now you can share in this experience by hosting your own student (boy or girl) from one of over 30 countries worldwide!
The program builds relationships between America and other nations. Families who host bring the world into their own home by bonding with a teenager from another part of the world. The teenagers from overseas return home with fond memories, amazing impressions of new experiences, friendships which will endure long after they leave – and with dreams of returning one day. Host families and students gain new understanding, expand their horizons and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.
Host families in many shapes – with or without kids, empty nesters, single parents - make these experiences happen. Discover your America through another’s eyes. Fulfill a teenager’s dreams by becoming a host family! Find out more at the Council for International Educational Exchange’s website www.ciee.org/highschool; to learn more about hosting, go to www.ciee.org/host or contact local coordinator Sheila Buckley at 215.242.5026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.