One Student’s Dream!

We are looking for an amazing host family for the last student remaining in our Spring 2016 Semester Program. We’ve nicknamed him “O” because it sounds like his first name, and he’s a total sweetheart. He’s smart, kind, and outgoing, according to the sweet letter we received from his father, and in his own words, “O” is hoping “that I can improve my English and study hard to fulfill my dream” of studying in America.

One of our amazing exchange students already studying in the US this year!

As a host family, you’ll need to provide a welcoming and supportive home for the exchange student throughout the semester. Families are strongly encouraged to think of their students as full-fledged members of the family, not as guests. Key host family responsibilities include:

Oliver trying TexMex with the family ♥ Providing three daily meals, plus snacks
♥ Engaging in family activities
♥ Communicating with the student and SAE
♥ Attending mandatory SAE meetings
♥ Arranging transportation to/from school and activities

To apply to become a host family please fill out the short contact us form to the right! We’d love to tell you more about O, his dream, and his journey here to the United States.

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International Education Week

The Departments of State and Education declared last week to be International Education Week.  We like to think that we celebrate this every week, but we welcome the occasion to reflect on our experiences and appreciate all the good that can come from international exchanges.

International Education Week celebrates the ways that study abroad programs enrich lives all around the world. From the American students that go abroad and the foreign students that travel here to the host families around the world that open their homes to these students, each participant is forever changed. International education strengthens our global ties, and teaches younger generations to look beyond their own countries and interact with the world around them. Host families are vital to these exchanges. By opening their doors to students they have never met before, they are showing kindness that will forever be remembered when the student thinks of the United States. On a small scale this may seem insignificant – just a friendly interaction. However, on a larger scale, this makes a big difference in the world of international relations.

Many of us at Student Ambassador Exchange had the opportunity to study abroad.  One of the most rewarding aspects of the exchange was getting to visit historical sites and have a personal experience with events that shaped our world history.  From climbing pyramids in Mexico to walking where the Berlin Wall once separated Germany, these experiences gave us an education that a textbook could never offer. We believe it is vital that students around the world have access to these experiences. We are proud to play a small role in helping students go abroad and go beyond a typical education.  In closing, we think First Lady Michelle Obama describes the importance of international education best: “Investing in the potential of all  young people, through access to a well-rounded, world class global education, is an investment in our collective future.” To all students, teachers, host families, and people who have played a role in helping us facilitate these exchanges: thank you for your investment.

For more information on International Education Week, visit the official website: http://eca.state.gov/programs-initiatives/international-education-week

 

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The Journey Thus Far

Andrea Smiling

It’s a long flight from China to Texas. Depending on where IN China you are flying from, some estimates put the trip at 23 hours of non-stop flight. When Andrea arrived at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, signs of travel fatigue were anything but noticeable as she beamed at her new host family. Despite her cultural differences and language barrier, Andrea now has an exciting opportunity to experience a new world in the United States of America. She will afford the chance to learn about American culture, Texas culture, and improve her English language skills as she fully immerses herself in the American academic system.

One interesting aspect of traveling is seeing and learning about the holidays that are celebrated in comparison to your own. Yifei has been with her host-family in Columbia, Missouri since August of 2015 and has already significantly immersed herself. In mid-July, the Chinese celebrate the “Hungry Ghost Festival” where it is customary to float river lanterns to remember those who have died. Compared with the American holiday of Halloween there are obviously some differences, however, it still afforded a fun opportunity for Yifei to adorn an absolutely stellar witch costume.

Halloween with Host Sister & Host Cousin

Student Ambassador Exchange promotes and supports any and all students interested in participating in our programs of cultural exchange. With 2015 coming to an end, Andrea and Yifei have nearly six months behind them, with another exciting 6 months ahead. New Years, Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day, so many more interesting opportunities that will undoubtedly give them a broader perspective on the world.

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Meet our Spring 2016 Exchange Students

The school year may have just started, but we are already preparing for the months ahead. We are looking forward to welcoming more exchange students to the United States. We are currently seeking host families for two Chinese students who will be arriving in early January and leaving in late May or early June, depending on your local high school’s academic calendar.  This is a perfect opportunity for families who are unable to host a student for an entire school year but are still interested in taking part in a cultural exchange.

These students are both coming on our J-1 program, so there are no stipends available for host families. However, as a reminder, host families may claim a tax exemption of up to $50 for each month the student remains in their home.

Here is some more information on our two students seeking host families:

Jenny is a 16 year old girl who has been dreaming of coming to the United States for quite some time. She is curious about American culture and can’t wait to experience it firsthand. Her hobbies include dancing, gardening, playing with animals, and reading. Jenny says that her studies tend to get in the way of her hobbies, but she’s hoping that her semester in the United States will give her an opportunity to have a better work/play balance.
James is an outgoing 16 year old boy who is eager to start his American adventure! He is active and tries to play basketball every day, but he is just as happy reading a good book, spending time with his friends, or playing games on his computer. Family is very important to James, and he can’t wait to be a part of a new family in the United States.

For photos and more information on either of these students, send an email to emily@saeglobal.org or fill out a form on our website requesting more information. Don’t pass up this amazing opportunity to learn about another culture from the comfort of your own home!

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Would We Be a Good Host Family?

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If you’re considering hosting an exchange student, you probably have a lot of questions. To help you decide if becoming a host family is the right decision for you, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequent questions we receive from potential host families. We understand that every situation is unique, so please feel free to call us to get some more personalized information about hosting.

What is the difference between the J-1 hosting program and the F-1 homestay program?

We think both of our programs are great, but there are some differences that you should consider before deciding to apply for either one.

The J-1 program is our biggest program, and we are recruiting host families all over the country for that. Students who apply for this program will be enrolled at the public school closest to your house. If that school does not have room, they will be placed at a different high school somewhere in your school district. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program was designed by the Department of State to encourage an exchange of cultures.  They believe that offering a stipend to host families would compromise the cultural exchange, so host families are not allowed to be reimbursed. Students will bring funds to cover their own entertainment and non-essential purchases, and they come with their own medical insurance that will cover any emergencies or illnesses. Host families are expected to provide 3 meals a day (except on school days, when students may opt to purchase lunch at school) and cover basic living expenses.

The F-1 program is intended for students who want to attend private school. Currently, we are recruiting host families in the Austin, Houston, and Dallas areas for this program.  Because the students attend school on an F-1 visa, we are able to offer a stipend of $750 each month to host families. Host families are expected to cover meals and basic living expenses. In addition, they are responsible for transporting the student to and from school.

We already have a family vacation planned. Could we take an exchange student?

As long as the vacation is within the United States, you can definitely take your student with you! Just send our office the information so we know where you are. If the trip involves extra fees that you expect the student to cover, make sure the student has received permission from his or her parents. If you have an international vacation planned, there are extra steps to take. You’ll need to make sure the student has permission from their parents. Then, you’ll want to research what it takes for your student to get a travel visa. Keep in mind that if they meet all the requirements to leave the country with you, you’ll need to send us their visa paperwork to sign and approve travel.

We’re a very busy family. Will we have time to host an exchange student?

Americans are generally busy people! Between work, school, and recreational activities, it may seem like your family has no extra time to spare.  However, keep in mind that your exchange student will probably be just as busy as you.  We don’t expect families to drop everything to accommodate a student – just include them in your daily life!  As long as at least one parent is home on evenings and weekends, hosting should not be a huge burden.  Families should be aware that the week leading up to the beginning of school is bound to be exciting and stressful at times, but with the right preparation it will not be a problem.  Plus, you’ll have a Local Coordinator and the Student Ambassador Exchange team behind you the whole time!

How much support will we receive once the student arrives?

Once you have applied to be a host family, you will be assigned a Local Coordinator who will help guide you through the entire process.  They will conduct a home visit and facilitate a host family orientation to prepare you for the arrival of your student. They will even be at the airport with you to greet your student for the first time! Your Local Coordinator will check in with you and the student at least once a month to see how things are going and troubleshoot any potential problems. In addition, a Student Ambassador Exchange staff member will be available 24/7 to help out with any emergencies or answer any questions the Local Coordinator is unable to resolve.  At least once per semester, the Local Coordinator will come visit you in person to make sure everything is going well.  All staff members have been fully trained both by our organization and the Department of State, and are ready to help guide you through this exciting experience!

What if we have a family emergency and are no longer able to host?

While we would like to avoid moving a student as much as we possibly can, we understand that emergencies do occur that call for a change in plans. Rest assured that if you have a sudden emergency, such as a death in the family, Student Ambassador Exchange will be there to help you and, if necessary, will move your student to a backup family for the rest of the year or until you are able to host again.

Students won’t be arriving until next August. When should we submit a host family application?

You can submit a host family application anytime! We will be accepting student applications on a rolling basis and are hoping to begin matching students with families this winter. The sooner you send in an application, the more time we have to place you with a student who will be an excellent match for your family!

Of course, these questions do not cover everything that you need to know to be a host family. Please feel free to send us an email or give us a call – we would love to discuss the possibility of being a host family with you!

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Six Signs You Should Be a Local Coordinator

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Student Ambassador Exchange is seeking Local Coordinators to help us prepare for our next group of amazing exchange students! This is a unique position that you may have never considered before. So if you’re wondering whether the job is right for you, here are the best parts of being a Local Coordinator:

1Gain experience working with youth, families, and schools: Local Coordinators act as our liaison between the student, the host family, and the school. This is a perfect position for anyone involved in education or social work. You’ll form relationships with the family and the student, as well as school officials. These relationships will help ensure a positive experience for current and future exchange students in your area!

2Get to know another culture: Think of the Local Coordinator position as the international vacation you get to take without leaving home! As you help an exchange student adjust to life in the United States, you will inevitably be learning about their home country’s culture, traditions, and way of life. This experience will enrich you and give you a deeper understanding of global affairs.

3  Put your study abroad experience to use: Were you ever an exchange student? If so, you understand the triumphs and challenges that come with adapting to a foreign environment. Your firsthand experience will be crucial in guiding an exchange student through the same thing.

4  Get involved in international relations: Diplomacy is no longer just about ambassadors meeting behind closed doors. Public diplomacy is all about getting people from different countries to interact with each other. By getting to know a foreign student, you are influencing the way they view the United States. This is an incredible opportunity to act as a citizen diplomat and represent your country!

5  Show off your town: In addition to representing the U.S., you also have the chance to act as an unofficial ambassador to your town! If you’re proud of where you live, you get to introduce an exchange student to all the places that you think make your town great.

6 Get paid: Yes, in addition to all these awesome experiences, we offer our Local Coordinators a stipend based on how many students they place. Local Coordinators can monitor up to 10 students.

For more information on how you can get involved as a Local Coordinator, reach out to us at info@saeglobal.org today or fill out the Local Coordinator application here!

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Five Exciting Experiences for Exchange Students

Wondering what you’ll do with your exchange student while they are here? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered!

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Here are five great activities that your exchange student will be excited to visit with you and your family:

1. The beach or local lake, river, or waterpark

Take your exchange student to the local water spot in your town! Whether it’s the beach, the lake, or the river, this type of event is a great idea to have a little fun, relax, and maybe pack a family picnic!

2. The Capitol

You know how you’ve never quite gotten around to going and visiting your state’s Capitol Building? Now is the time! You’ll  be surprised by how interesting a state’s local history can be, and this is a great opportunity for your exchange student to learn more about the United States and its history!

3. The movies

There is nothing quite like the movies. If you know of a special theater that includes all the extras (dinner and a movie, anyone?), consider taking your exchange student to that theater. It’s an exciting opportunity to do an activity that’s is certainly loved across the nation.

4. Local Sports Events

Local basketball team playing soon? Favorite hockey team you’d like to see? American sports are big overseas, so take at least one opportunity to show your exchange student what an all-American baseball/football/basketball/soccer game looks like! Maybe they’ll leave in love with your favorite sports team, too!

5. Road Trip

Pile the family in the car, and hit the road! Get out to see that landmark that’s a few hours away, and take your exchange student along for the ride. Make it educational by looking for landmarks along the way, and have everyone play along with “Spot the Landmark!”

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Two Exchange Students from China This Fall!

Student Ambassador Exchange, as a department of Children of All Nations, is excited to announce that TWO high school students from China will headed to the United States this fall to begin their educational journey and cultural experience of a lifetime for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic school year. These students will have the amazing opportunity to live not only with a host family, but with a family who has adopted or will be adopting from China. This is a chance not only for the students, but for our families to learn more about Chinese culture, connect with someone from their child’s home country, and provide a bridge between the two to create a lasting bond that will last a lifetime.

You can read a little bit about our matched students below, and see informational materials on our other students waiting to find their host family for the upcoming school year. Contact us at emily@saeglobal.org to receive a student’s profile and provide your family with the opportunity to experience Chinese culture without ever leaving your home.

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Andrea from China
– I Have a Host Family!

Gender: Female
Age: 16
Hobbies: piano, cooking,
meeting new people
Read My Bio!
Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg
Nathan from China
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Hobbies: archery, science
fiction, and movies
Read My Bio!
Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg
Lucy from China
Gender: Female
Age: 16
Hobbies: building robots,
basketball, and cartoons
Read My Bio!
Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg
Oliver from China
– I Have a Host Family!

Gender: Male
Age: 16
Hobbies: sports, playing with
animals, and DC comics
Read My Bio!
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Five Culture Shocks

We’ve compiled a list of five “culture shocks” that exchange students sometimes experience during their year here in the States. For our host families, it’s good to remember students are adjusting to us just as much as we might be adjusting to them! For that moment when your exchange looks at you like, “Really?” Yep, really! Welcome, y’all!

It’s the first week, and my host family is so excited. My body think it’s 3 a.m. right now. I just….can’t…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hound_sleeps_3

Americans don’t drink coffee all the time and eat barbecue at every meal? I’m so confused. The television said…

The food portions are amazing here! YES I WOULD LOVE DESSERT, TOO! (owowow I’m so full!)

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It’s how much in American dollars? Hold on, I need to convert that to my home currency to find out how much that is.

Pecan? Is it pee-can? Pih-cahn? Pick-un? And you said…y’all is you all? So what do you mean when you say “y’all all?”

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We all know foreign travels can be a little strange, so remember to keep supporting your host student as they learn more about your culture through student exchange!

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Three Students from China Need You!

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Children of All Nation’s newest program offers opportunities for high school students from China to visit the United States, study for a year in a local high school, and live with a host family to learn more about American culture. Are you interested in sharing about your traditions while learning more about Chinese customs? Then our J-1 Visa High School Program is for you!

Learn just a little bit about the students in our program by getting in touch with a Program Coordinator

Host families are expected to provide meals, a room, and a supportive environment for these students to live, grow, and study in. Students will come with their own spending money and an open heart for your family! In return, you’ll get all the benefits of travel and learning about another culture without ever having to leave your home. While families cannot receive compensation for hosting a student, there is an approved IRS deduction of $50 per month families can quote on their taxes. This is a volunteer opportunity to reach out into the world and make it just a little smaller, connecting one family to another across an ocean.

Our three students from China have written amazing welcome letters to their potential host families, and we would be excited to tell you more about each one of them. If you think you’re ready to open your heart and home to one of these students, click here to contact an SAE Program Coordinator Today!

From Our Students and Their Families

A Meet “A”
Anyway, my friends all said I have a great temper, because there isnt something that can drive me really mad. I have tons of friends, even foreigners. And I guess that is because I love communicating with different people. Im looking forward to living with you, and experiencing the life in America! 
L From “L’s” Parents  
I sincerely thank you for your hospitality and I also hope my daughter will bring you infinite joy and everlasting memories in the coming year. Hopefully, you will find time to visit and we will surely give you a sincere and warm welcome.
N Meet “N”
I also love sci-fi, I am a big fun of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’. I want to be a captain and travel in space like James Kirk. If you think that’s all, then you are definitely wrong. I like old classical movies too, my favorite series is ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Back to the Future.’ I like spy movies and comedy film, too!

If you’d like to find out more about the students in our program, contact a Program Coordinator to receive a Student Profile! They might be the perfect fit for your family’s new adventure in cultural exchange!

BECOME A LOCAL COORDINATOR!

Not ready to be a host family yourself, but know lots of people in your community excited about cultural exchange? Consider becoming a Local Coordinator with SAE, and get paid to help students achieve their dream of coming to the United States for a year of study!

Student Exchange Students

Local Coordinators are contracted to work with Student Ambassador Exchange. LCs have an exciting, flexible role in the J-1 Visa Secondary Student Program because they get to manage their own schedule and set their own methods of recruitment for host families and schools. LCs must be able to provide for their own travel expenses and supply materials needed for the position.

Find out more about becoming a Local Coordinator at this link, and fill out your application today!

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