Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Writers' Wednesday: Ruminations on Hosting an Exchange Student

Continued from Monday...reflections on the first week of hosting an exchange student.

First, it's fun. Experiencing a new person from another culture gives you a lot to talk about.

It's also interesting in ways you don't expect. Language barriers (even when your student speaks pretty fluent English) can lead to trouble communicating. Best to speak slowly and using common terms if possible.

It's exhausting. I'm sure this is partly the adrenaline of the whole change/experience of meeting someone new, but for us it's an added exhaustion because we don't have other kids. I'll be honest: having to consider someone else in your house (besides hubby, who can pretty much fend for himself by now) isn't something I'm used to. It's OK, and I'm getting used to it, but it's definitely a psychological change.

It makes you think about things you hadn't thought about before. Your own politics. Your own country and quirks about the culture. How big everything is here. Which qualities and thoughts and values you want to communicate to your student (and which are better left unspoken).

And this is only the beginning. I'm sure there's much more in store (and hey, maybe a story idea or two as well). To sign off, some pictures:

Outside her adopted American high school

Opening a Chinese fortune cookie for the first time!

At a wedding over the weekend

Volunteering at a local pet shelter (each student actually needs 10 hours of community service for the year)

Husking corn for the first time!


Mom said...

There is nothing like being immersed in another culture to guide you to looking at your own country from a different perspective. We should all have that opportunity.
This should be a great year for you and "Hubbie" and the student from Norway. Enjoy!!

Diane Craver said...

It's great you have an exchange student - she looks so sweet and pretty. I bet the language can be difficult even though she does speak fluent English.

Marianne Arkins said...

It must be amazing for her ... so many "first times". And, yeah, having a kid around (despite the fact she's a teen) must be interesting! Good luck to both of you.