Congratulations to our Student of the Week – Pedro from Brazil!
CETUSA is dedicated to the mission of "reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding." We support this mission through the implementation of exchange programs for high school students - both American and international - and trainee and internship programs for university students/young professionals. This blog space is meant to continue the conversation on the value of education through experience - more specifically the experience of study abroad. There will be guest blogs here as well as announcements of resources for students, parents and teachers to learn more about study abroad and the global perspective.
Martina recently returned to Italy after her high school program with CETUSA in the United States. Read what she had to say on her final day in America:
So here we are. I can’t believe this moment would have come so fast. It seems yesterday I took a plane to arrive in an unknown country, but at the same time it seems a really long time since I’ve been here, because of all the things I could experience which will always be unforgettable memories. Words cannot describe how I feel right now-sad and happy at the same time, because leaving a life you built by yourself for such a short time makes me sad, but this experience has been the best one of my life so far, with all the beautiful and happy moments I lived.
Thanks to my American family, because otherwise without you I wouldn’t be here (and feel the oldest sister and a new member of the family and laugh all the time with you). I’m blessed to have met my crazy amazing American friends who tried to deal with my poor English and my sometimes being shy. You are all so important to me and made this experience the best, I’ll never forget you.
I’m thankful for this “new” life because it doesn’t just give me the opportunity to get to know amazing people from all over the world, expanding my horizons, to discover a new culture and see the world from another perspective. It makes me discover more about myself.
To students going on an exchange program: be ready, it will be the best time of your life, it will make you discover a lot more than you can even imagine. You will experience so many things and once you’re home again all you can say is “can we come back to page one and do it all over again?”
Thank you America, see you soon!
Many of our host families look for a student from a country where their ancestors came from, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that; they feel a strong connection with their new son or daughter due to familiarity with their culture and simply knowing that the blood ties to that particular country are prevalent. Sometimes, however, the reason for hosting a child from a certain country can be meaningful in a different way. Ray and Renita Williamson from Wisconsin are hosting Jaeuk, a boy from South Korea. They wouldn’t really consider a student from any other country because 30 years ago, this childless couple explored adopting an infant, and before they knew it, they were welcoming their South Korean baby boy, Brandon, at the airport and bringing him home to raise.
Brandon is now an adult who still lives near Mom and Dad. He’s married with two children of his own. The Williamsons had never thought of hosting a student until their coordinator asked them if they’d like to see a very special South Korean boy’s profile and letter to the family. The letter moved them to consider taking Jaeuk into their home this year, and they haven’t looked back. Jaeuk instantly became their son, and the thought of sending him back home in June almost brings Renita to tears. She still recalls the first time she got to talk to Jaeuk before he came to the U.S. She was beyond excited, and Jaeuk was ecstatic to hear that she and Ray already had a Korean son.
Brandon has been able to ask Jaeuk all about his home country, and the family wants to visit Jaeuk in South Korea in the future. This placement has been joyous in many ways–it’s not only given the Williamsons a new son, but it’s also helped their older son establish a deeper connection to the Korean culture and the country where he was born!
“We are so blessed to have Katja as a member of our family this year! By the time her program is over, it will be 10 months of memories to have for the rest of our life! It saddens me that some people never reach out to experience this life changing opportunity – they truly miss out! Katja is such a delight and although her parents deserve much credit for raising an awesome daughter, she will forever be our Danish daughter also. One of the most precious moments we shared with Katja was in December. She sang ‘Silent Night’ in Danish at our church. It was absolutely beautiful, everyone was so blessed, and I was so proud of her!” –Kelley, Oklahoma
As those of you who are a part of international exchange know, the ripples run wide and the impact runs deep when a community welcomes an international exchange student. There is one high school in Michigan that has welcomed not one but a whole basketball team sized group of international students. In this article, “Grattan Academy basketball teams represent 14 nations,” it is clear that the students on the team, the students in the stands and the community that supports them will never be the same. Let’s celebrate this incredible story and work to bring this magic to our own communities.