Subject: Hosting a Student from Another Country
I've seen both ends of the spectrum. We hosted a 12 year old Mexican boy for a summer who spoke no English when he arrived. He was an absolute sweetheart. My father has a ham radio and his dad also had one so they communicated that way, as well as by phone. He came from a very wealthy family but you'd never know it. He helped with dishes, etc. and fit in just fine. By the time he left, he spoke very passable English. He graduated from M.I.T. and is now running an international conglomerate for his family. Several times, he's called at the drop of a hat and dropped in to see us - he still calls me mum. I regularly correspond with his mother and have lots of pictures of he and his family and an open invitation to visit any time I want, plus the offer of the use of a condo on South Padre Island . Two of my sons have visited their home also and have been treated like family. We also hosted over Christmas three Mexican students my son met in Tehuacan on exchange and one of them, Oscar, still e-mails me and calls me mum.

Our son, Jason, spent a year with three families on Rotary exchange in Tehuacan, Mexico - his high school gave him credit for the year away. As a result, Jason speaks Spanish, French and English fluently and is the only Spanish speaking police officer on his police force. We visited him while he was there and you would not meet more kind and loving people. That's why our family loves Mexico and the Mexican people and it's our favourite place to visit.

I highly recommend exchange as an excellent opportunity for any student to learn about other countries and cultures. It's not only rewarding for the student but also for both families. Fortunately, in our case, the experiences have been nothing but positive.

On the other side of the coin, my brother and his wife and children hosted an exchange student from France who was an absolutely beautiful girl but she turned out to be bulemic and they had to send her back home.