Lunar New Year is a time to get together with family and celebrate the coming year! This year consider hosting an exchange student and make this year a great one for your family! Create memories and build lifelong friendships, enrich your entire family as you learn about the culture of your new ’son’ or ‘daughter’, and become an American ambassador by sharing U.S. culture.
Create something special for your family! Find a family and exchange student tested and approved fortune cookie recipe below!
Total Time: 1 hr 24 min
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 24 min
Makes about 20 cookies
Wishing you and your family good fortune and a happy new year!
-Your Student Ambassador Exchange TeamRead More
As 2018 comes to a close, many countries tend to lie on many traditions or superstitions to give them a boost in their wellbeing for the next year to come. Although these methods are not yet proven to work, we do suggest you TRY THIS AT HOME. Joint many other cultures in bringing in 2019.
It’s election day in America! Whether you voted early or are planning on casting your ballot today, we all have a say in what our government will look like over the next two years. Exchange students who are spending the year here have the unique opportunity to see democracy in action. For some perspective, we took a look at what elections are like in their home countries.
Every four years, Spanish citizens vote to elect representatives in the Senate and the Congress of Deputies. The Prime Minister is traditionally chosen from the party that holds the most seats in Congress. There are also regional and municipal elections every four years, but those dates can vary. Many regions hold their elections the May before a leap year (so the next election would be in May 2019), but others choose their own election dates and as a result their voting years vary. Separately, they also vote to send members to the European Parliament.
Chinese citizens have a chance to vote in local elections, and their votes impact how leaders of the country are chosen. Every five years, they vote for their Local People’s Congress. In turn, the Local People’s Congresses elect members of the Local People’s Government. The Local People’s Government in turn votes for members of the National People’s Congress, and the National People’s Congress is responsible for selecting the National People’s Government.
With each country having elections that are so different, it’s possible that exchange students will be a little confused watching the results come in. This is a great opportunity for them to learn about voting and elections, and also what it means to be American. Our right to vote is something that we as Americans treasure, regardless of party alliances. While hosting an exchange student involves sharing in the little things like family traditions, shared recipes, and the differences in everyday life, this is one of the few opportunities to share in something big. Getting to watch an election from a foreign country gives students an inside look at what it means to be an American.Read More
We are excited to welcome our newest Program Coordinator to the SAE team! Since he came to the United States as an international student from Mexico, Deir has an inside perspective on what many of our exchange students are feeling as they come into the United States. We sat down to ask him a few questions about his experience:
What was it like to come to the US as a college student?
“It was pretty cool – I think it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It helped to have an open mind and open heart to try everything. It definitely paid off!”
What has surprised you the most about American culture?
“Americans seem to need so much space!”
What was the biggest culture shock you felt?
“Going to college in Missouri, there was a huge lack of awareness about authentic Mexican food. There were restaurants that claimed to be authentic and they definitely were not.”
What have been your favorite and least favorite things about living in the United States?
“One of my favorite things has been the security that comes with living here. Also, Americans seem more open minded to different cultures and more willing to talk to strangers and I like that. My least favorite thing is transportation. Where I’ve lived it’s been hard to get around and public transportation has been lacking compared to other places around the world.”
What’s one thing you think people should know about international students?
“One big misconception I found was that people often assume you are immediately well aware of the culture and able to get along with no problems. It’s an adjustment, and I think it’s important for people to understand that about exchange students.”
For more information on how you can get involved in our programs, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!Read More
From time to time, we like to feature holidays celebrated in some of the countries our students come from. Since the Mid-Autumn festival was celebrated on September 24 in China, we wanted to dive a little deeper to give you a little more information on the holiday!
As the fall season approaches, there is a certain feeling of excitement in the air. This is all the more true for an exchange student who is also getting used to life in a brand new country. This season is full of countless opportunities for students to encounter new traditions. Visiting a pumpkin patch, picking apples, playing in the falling leaves, and cheering on your favorite football team are all activities that we might associate with fall in the United States. Regardless of how your family enjoys fall together, hosting an exchange student is a great way to see your traditions through new eyes.
Fall is an exciting time in China as well, as the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches. It is also known as the Moon Festival, signifying the fact that the moon is at its brightest during this time of year. This festival has been celebrated for centuries with the purpose of gathering close friends and family together to give thanks for a successful harvest and pray for longevity and a prosperous future. Festivities include lighting lanterns, spending time with family members, and eating mooncakes – round cakes typically filled with a red bean paste.
Exchange students from all countries come with different traditions and holidays. One of the best parts of hosting a student is you get to celebrate new holidays while introducing them to your own. Whether you’re trying your first mooncake or getting your student excited to go to their very first high school pep rally, fall is an exciting time for both host families and students.
We are going to be hosting informational webinars this fall for anyone who may be interested in hosting an exchange student. Families who have been interested but have lots of questions – this is for you! Please join us for one of our two first webinars on Tuesday, October 23 and Thursday, October 25.
If you have any questions before then, we’d love to talk to you! Simply send an email to email@example.com and a Program Coordinator will contact you.Read More
Down in Texas, we’re full of ideas for outdoor summer activities. Whether we’re hiking, playing sports, or cooling off in the water, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do. So when last week met us with days of rainy weather, we were at a bit of a loss. One of our students, Elaine, absolutely adores rainy weather. She explained to us that rainy days are “very comfortable, especially in the summer to slow down the dry heat. Rainy days are suitable for thinking, and people’s minds become calm. The rainy season in my hometown is wonderful.” We’re a little less enthusiastic about the rain, so we came up with a list of activities that host families could do with their exchange students despite the gloomy weather.
Rainy days can definitely drag on, but you’ll never run out of opportunities to connect with your exchange student and form a strong relationship. We are still matching students for the 2018-19 school year. They’re excited to come to America and experience so many new things, regardless of the weather. To learn more about these students, check out our photolisting or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!Read More
Every year, an increasing amount of students choose to study abroad. A U.S. News & World Report study showed that the number of students obtaining an education abroad had grown from 2.1 million in 2001 to 4.6 million in 2017. During that time period, the United States has remained the top destination for international students. For students who want to learn English, there are many different countries to choose from. And yet, more than other English speaking countries, students choose America. While we get ready to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, we thought it would be fun to hear from our students who will be arriving this fall what makes them excited to come here!
Ana, from Spain: I have chosen the USA because people are open minded and I like the hospitality that Americans have. I also want to go and improve my English and have good experiences there. I want to live with an American family because my friends who have gone had a good experience.
Ed, from China: I’ve heard American food is delicious. I hope I’ll taste some homemade American food!
Astrid, from China: The reason why I chose to go to America is I like the American culture, and I like the open and free attitude of American people. I want to learn English well and learn more about American culture.
As we take time to celebrate America, we also reflect on how we are seen around the world. Diplomacy begins and ends with people crossing cultures and borders to get to know each other. Hosting one exchange student might feel like an insignificant act in the grand scheme of international relations, but every single student returns home from their program with a new view of their host country, and this view spreads to everyone they interact with at home. By hosting an exchange student, families have a real opportunity to impact the future of diplomacy between America and the rest of the world. As exchange students continue to come to the United States to learn firsthand about our culture, we will continue to be grateful to the families, teachers, and individuals who take it upon themselves to show them what it means to be American.
For more information on how to get involved, reach out to email@example.com or check out our photolisting and get to know our students!Read More
June is always a bittersweet time in the office. As we get excited for our new students to arrive, we also have to say goodbye to the students who have made the US their home over the last 10 months. It’s hard to believe that only last year they were preparing for this experience. We thought it would be fun to read the letters they wrote before arriving and see how they changed and grew through the experience. We’ve highlighted three students below:
Elaine thoroughly enjoyed learning about American culture over the year – ESPECIALLY celebrating holidays the American way! She dressed up for Halloween with her siblings and wrote her host parents and grandparents thank you notes at Thanksgiving. She even wrapped presents for her host family for Christmas and filmed the whole process!
Irati hoped for a little sister and wound up spending the school year with two little sisters AND a little brother! She thoroughly enjoyed all the time she spent with them. From watching sporting events together to traveling across the country on family vacations, she’s fully embraced her host family and gets to count them as members of her extended family!
While we are sad to say goodbye, we are excited for our new students to arrive! In a few months, they’ll have the chance to live out everything they wrote about before arrival. We can’t wait to hear about them watching their first football game, picking out Halloween costumes, and teaching their host families about where they’re from.
If you are interested in joining one of our students on the adventure of a lifetime, visit our photolisting and learn about the students who are still available to be hosted! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!Read More
Participating in exchange programs carries many benefits, such as learning about a new culture and acquiring or improving a new language. Working with our students from around the world, we have seen this firsthand. While one of the more obvious goals is for students to learn about a new culture, they also wind up learning so much about themselves. It has been such an honor to play a small role in this personal growth for students coming to the US, and we look forward to doing so for years to come. However, we’re also passionate about giving that opportunity to students in America who are curious to learn more about themselves and world around them. That’s why we are so excited to be launching ACE – our very first outbound exchange program!
We are thrilled to be returning to our roots for ACE, which stands for Adoptee Cultural Exchange. Alongside our parent company, Great Wall China Adoption, we have partnered with a leading international adoption agency in Spain to create an exchange opportunity between Chinese adoptees living in the United States and Spain.
The exchange will take place this summer. First, American children will travel to enjoy 3 weeks in Spain. They will live with a family who has also adopted from China. Then, children from both countries will return to the United States to share another 3 weeks of vacation together. Through 6 weeks of summer fun, each child has the opportunity to share feelings and experiences with another child who has traveled the same journey as them. The children will be hosted in homes where adoption and everything it entails is treated as normal.
International adoption can involve confusion in identity and belonging for the child. Experiencing a new culture will allow the adoptees to better internalize that difference is positive and enriching. In their daily lives, they are accustomed to experiencing cultural similarity and physical differences. With ACE, the similarities will be physical and the differences cultural. It is our hope that this will aid the children in their process of cultural and ethnic identification.
This program is open to any Chinese adoptee between the ages of 14 and 19. The American children will travel to Spain on July 2, 2018. They’ll return to the US with their Spanish counterpart on July 23. The Spanish children will remain until August 12.
Families will pay a fee of $2,500. This includes program facilitation, insurance, flights, room and board for the child while in Spain, and 24/7 support from GWCA and ACI.
Questions? Click here for more information or to receive a copy of our info packet. We are so excited to be starting this journey and hope that you will join us!Read More