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.
“This year so far has been absolutely amazing. I’ve been greeted with open arms into the most loving family. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and all the things I’ve experienced – from football games, to hunting, to school activities and to gaining a new family.
Grabbing an opportunity like this is the best thing I’ve ever done. Wyoming has been great and filled with completely new experiences for me. I’ve gained great friends and memories for life.” – Ida
“We feel blessed beyond words having Ida as part of our family! Our lives are so much richer! Ida has fit in from day one, always full of life and laughter. She’s never backed down from anything we have asked of her, and dove right into things we never expected her to do.
Our girls have gained a new sister, and she will forever be ‘one of our kids’! She was on the volleyball team, basketball team and plans on playing soccer here soon; all of which she has never done, but excelled in! She is also on the Yearbook Staff and has been a great student. We love her like one of our own, and there will definitely be a void in our home when she returns to Denmark.” – Host Family
This post originally appeared on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum as a guest post:
The Life Cycle of a Public School Student
I am a product of the public school system – and I do mean a product. But I do not mean this in a necessarily negative way. Our system was designed for the industrial age when students were prepared to be workers in a factory setting. Their “workday” was normalized to bell ringing and abrupt change of activity based on time constraints. The end product of 12 years of schooling was intended to be a well prepared worker. There would be a few standouts on both ends of the spectrum, but for the most part, the masses would join the ranks of the employed and educated citizenry.
This system served us well for what it was designed for, but our society and our economy have changed dramatically while our education system has not. Many parents – like me – are products of this system and have followed the same path with their own children augmenting what they can and working within the system to try and change it. A large and ever growing number of parents have taken matters into their own hands and taken their children out of the public school environment to homeschool. They are taking confident leaps of faith into a less structured arena where they are able to shape the process by which their children engage with the world.
High School Study Abroad Changed My Life
While there are many elements of my schooling that I wish could have been different, there is one distinct experience that I know shaped my future in a way that no other could – my high school student exchange to Soviet Russia. I was fortunate enough to have an English teacher who had taken a road less traveled in her college years and studied Russian in the 1970s. At the request of her students who found out about her Russian minor, she was able to create a Russian language program at our public high school in Columbia, South Carolina. She was globally minded at a time when many others were not and so was able to secure a place for us in the US/USSR High School Exchange Program sponsored by the US Department of State at the very height of glasnost. The rest, as they say, is history. I went on to become a diplomat for the United States after several more international study abroad experiences. I married an Army Foreign Area Officer, raised five children across the world, and have come back full circle to work in the international student exchange community.
Homeschool and the Immersive Study Abroad Experience
So why am I talking to the homeschooling community about study abroad? It is the ultimate in experiential learning for developing global citizens – particularly at high school age. High school study abroad students live with host families and attend high school in the local language. Many of our programs do not require prior language study because of the intensity of learning in total immersion. College study abroad tends to group foreign students together to study, and the living arrangements are often in dormitories. High school study abroad is a total immersion in the language, culture and community of the town and country in which the student studies.
For the month of November, we held a video contest asking our students to send us a short video that describes why they think an American student should study abroad in their country. The winner was chosen by drawing a name from those who submitted a valid entry. Our winner is Alessia from Italy! Please watch Alessia’s video, and stay tuned for the rest of our video submissions over the coming weeks. For all of our CETUSA students and host families – DON”T FORGET our Go Pro video contest!! Submit your video entry by January 15, 2016 to enter to win a Go Pro!!
Council for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA) is celebrating its 20th year of coordinating international high school student exchanges. As part of the celebration, CETUSA is announcing the creation of the CETUSA Founder’s Scholarship for study abroad in honor of founder Rick Anaya. Over the last 20 years, CETUSA has worked with over 80,000 students and host families making the dream of studying in the United States a reality. Looking to the future, CETUSA continues its top notch programs in the United States and commits to making study in other countries possible for a greater number of American high school students.
Founder Rick Anaya began CETUSA twenty years ago in Southern California and Switzerland with the belief that hosting international students in our homes, schools and communities is the most tangible way to impact global relations and cultural understanding. Commitment to that belief led Rick to bring together a team of experienced and passionate people to form the Council for Educational Travel, USA. CETUSA President Terry Watson and recently retired High School Program Director Peg Spolestra were two of the original group.
“Rick had a clear vision for the type of organization he wanted to create. He wanted an organization in which the people of CETUSA – the community coordinators, the managers and the entire program staff – were personally committed to the success of the students,” said Peg Spolestra in a recent message reminiscing about the early days of CETUSA. “CETUSA continues to strive for excellence in service to the high school students, host families, and communities that are part of the exchange experience. That level of excellence carries over to the Trainee and Intern programs and to the Study Abroad program that CETUSA has taken on in recent years,” noted Terry Watson at a recent conference of CETUSA managers.
CETUSA continues to expand its exchange opportunities with the US – Mexico Intern Program and a growing Study Abroad program. The US-Mexico Intern program was created by agreement between with the United States and Mexico to increase the number of Mexican university students participating in internship opportunities in the US. The Study Abroad program will begin the exciting process of awarding the Founder scholarship and also implementing an additional Generation Study Abroad scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year.