#WorldBookDay: We pick Tokyo Vernacular!

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  chose this date to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and to gain a renewed respect for the extraordinary contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

VernacularWe picked Tokyo Vernacular as a book to recognize and celebrate, as it investigates and explores the ways in which common space and language play a huge role in the development and community. When our students come to America and stay with Host Families, it is this essence of a common vernacular that the students can further explore American heritage and culture. The book explores Japans past history, and current state of affairs in regards to shared identities, heritage, and language that creates lasting communities.

Student Ambassador Exchange is committed to creating a common vernacular amongst its students and host families, creating a unforgettable inter-cultural experience for all parties involved. If you’d like to be apart of our ever growing global family, Apply to be a Host Family today!

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#SAEstories: Meet Maddie!

Maddie grew up in a traditional Chinese home, and is ready to be integrated into a welcoming American Host Family! She has many hobbies that include badminton, playing the piano, and sharing her drawings with friends. When we first Skyped with Maggie she was shy at first, but after speaking with us for a few moments she opened up and became very interested in learning about American culture.

Yifei Holiday Photo

Maddie is a quiet girl with a big heart. While she is a little shy at first, she is willing to do anything to help her friends and enjoys making other people happy. She tries to paint at least once a week, and is always ready to travel! She loves all different kinds of Chinese food and is ready to introduce you to some new dishes! If you’re laid back and ready to try something new, Maddie could be a great fit with your family.

Quote from Parents: “As typical Chinese parents, we taught our daughter to be independent and honest. Maddie is very kind and considerate, and she is always eager to help others.”

If you’d like to learn more about Maggie or any of our other students, send an email to info@saeglobal.org today!

Due to Department of State regulations, we cannot post photos of students until they are officially placed with a host family and enrolled for the school year. If you’d like additional information on Maddie or any of our other students, please get in touch with us at emily@saeglobal.org.
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#SAEstories: Meet Esther!

Esther the Chameleon

Well before our Skype interview, we knew that Esther was a bright young lady who would do well in the United States. Her writing was flawless, her grades spoke for themselves, and the introductory PowerPoint she sent us featured background music of her playing the piano. However, we were thrilled all the same to see her come to life on the video chat. She was all smiles as she led us through her variety of interests. Esther pointed out her desk, and mentioned that she spends a lot of time sitting there and studying. However, she was quick to point out that she’s so much more than her good grades. She is an excellent pianist, and when you see her play you notice her attention to detail as well as her passion. Any musical families would easily form a strong bond with her. Additionally, Esther loves playing basketball. She played for her school team and would love to be able to make friends who she could play basketball with in the United States!

Chen Yu picture

Esther absolutely loves spending time with her family and friends. She’s traveled all around China with her parents, and really enjoys any chance she gets to put down her textbooks and let loose a little bit. Like many of our students, she might need a little extra encouragement to stop studying and have some fun! However, she would do great with just about any host family. Although she’s an only child, she seemed very flexible and easygoing – we’re certain she could adjust to any family dynamic!

If you’re interested in learning more about hosting Esther, or any of our other students, contact us today! Simply fill out a host family application, send an email to emily@saeglobal.org, or call (512) 323-9595, ext. 3062.

Due to Department of State regulations, we cannot post photos of students until they are officially placed with a host family and enrolled for the school year. If you’d like additional information on Esther or any of our other students, please get in touch with us at emily@saeglobal.org.
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Lantern Festival: Concluding New Year Celebrations

You may have heard a lot in the recent weeks about Chinese New Year, and the weeks long celebrations that accompany it. Like all celebrations New Year must come to an end, and the Chinese celebrate the conclusion of festivities with the Lantern Festival!

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The Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Luni-Solar Chinese calendar. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune. Diving deeper into Chinese folk history, Taoist tradition tells us that the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, Shàngyuán, corresponds to the “Official of Heaven,” who enjoys bright and joyful objects, so there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate!

This is one of many festivals and holidays celebrated by persons around the world, and is a great opportunity to connect with people from different cultures and learn about their historical heritage. If you’d like to learn more about festivals and celebrations held around the world, it’s time you applied to be a Host Family today!

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#SAEstories: Meet Bo!

Bo the Sweetheart

Because our students range in age from 15 to 18, we see a pretty big difference in personalities. When we are placing students on the younger side, we sometimes worry that they might be more shy than older students. Any fears of this being the case for Bo disappeared the second he answered our Skype call. With a big wave and an enthusiastic grin on his face, Bo shouted “Hello!” and proceeded to introduce himself with an excellent command of the English language.  He even introduced us to his parents, cats, and dog.  He spoke so highly of his parents –  explaining how much he loves his mother’s cooking and how he respects their careers.  Bo also told us all about his foreign friends, and how much they have taught him. He’s looking forward to coming to the U.S. and making even more foreign friends.  We were trying to get to know him, and he just kept telling us about other people.  In the end, though, this ended up giving us a better glimpse of Bo as a person than any piece of paper could. He truly cares about the people around him, and makes sure that everyone feels valued.  This is a quality that will serve him well when adjusting to life with his host family.

Swimming Boy

When we did get Bo to talk about himself, we got to hear all about his wide array of interests.  He’s an excellent swimmer, and prefers the butterfly stroke best of all (because it’s his fastest, of course). He also really enjoys playing the drums, and has a drum set in his room! Don’t worry about being kept up all night, though – he laughingly reassured us that he isn’t bringing the drum set with him to America.

Bo would definitely fit in well with any host family. He loves animals, so pets are welcome! His overall personality was laid back, and we got the impression that he’s just excited to come to America and be a part of a family, regardless of their particular interests! His parents hope you can come visit China one day to “drink tea and chat freely and happily in our quiet yard with beautiful blossoms in this very ancient city,” so apply to host Bo today and then start planning your summer 2017 trip to China!
If you’re interested in learning more about hosting Bo, contact us today! Simply fill out a host family application, send an email to emily@saeglobal.org, or call (512) 323-9595, ext. 3061.

Due to Department of State regulations, we cannot post photos of students until they are officially placed with a host family and enrolled for the school year. If you’d like additional information on Bo or any of our other students, please get in touch with us at emily@saeglobal.org.

 

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Viareggio Carnival: Italy’s Cultural Festival!

Each week we share different types of heritage and cultural history from around the world, and this week we’re sharing a festival that reflects our Italian students background! The Carnival of Viareggio is one of Italy’s, and Europe’s, most popular street fairs that lasts for an entire month!

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The Carnival of Viareggio was born in 1873 when there was the first parade of festively decorated carriages in the historic Via Regia, the heart of the old town. It was transferred to the Promenade at the beginning of the twentieth century and it has grown in size and popularity year after year. As the world over celebrates varying versions of Carnival, the Viareggio festival reflects a distinctive Italian flavor where floats and parades through the street are just one of many opportunities to experience a rich cultural experience.

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Since 2002 the Viareggio Carnival has been named Italian and European Carnival. Every year during a four week period, day and night time celebrations take place, and those who have traveled there say this is something you must experience at least once in your life!

This is just one of many festivities happening around the world, Hosting an International Exchange Student will give you the opportunity to share in these experiences and learn something new in the world. Apply to be a Host Family today!

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#SAEstories: Meet Nancy!

We are continuing our Student of the Week series with Nancy, a bright young lady hoping to spend next year studying in the United States.  Because of the time difference, it is often after 10 PM in China when we Skype with students. We apologized for the late call to Nancy, and she quickly dismissed our apology with a warm smile and an explanation that she would be up for at least another hour studying. This is a common theme we see with our Chinese students. High school is rigorous and competitive, and students are often up quite late to make sure they are up to date with all of their studies.  Nancy told us that she always looks forward to weekends, when she has a chance to participate in the extracurricular activities she loves. She is looking forward to coming to the United States and experiencing a different educational system. She likes the idea of being able to speak up and contribute to class discussions. Most importantly, she’s excited to have more time to devote to other activities.

Lucy 4

Nancy loves drawing, painting, and traditional Chinese dance. She likes to spend time with her family when she’s home on weekends. She started volunteering by tutoring Tibetan students last year.  This experience showed her that the most important lessons often do not come from textbooks. Nancy attended an American summer camp once, so this won’t be her first time in the United States. However, she is hoping to learn even more about American culture during an entire year abroad. She’s a little nervous but excited to learn as much as possible!

Nancy’s parents are nervous about sending their only daughter abroad for a year. However, they are excited for everything she will experience. They’re hoping that her host family will open their lives to her so that she’ll know what American daily life looks like. We’re certain that her outgoing personality will make her a great fit for anyone!

If you’re interested in learning more about hosting this sweet girl, contact us today! Simply fill out a host family application, send an email to emily@saeglobal.org, or call (512) 323-9595 ext. 3061.

Due to Department of State regulations, we cannot post photos of students until they are officially placed with a host family and enrolled for the school year. If you’d like additional information on Nancy or any of our other students, please get in touch with us at emily@saeglobal.org.
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Benefits of Inter-Cultural Exchange: J-1 Visa Program!

There are many ways in which students from abroad can learn new and exciting things about America, and the State Department’s J-1 Visa program is one of those opportunities! Student Ambassador Exchange has been promoting the J-1 Visa program for over a year now, and we’ve learned that it provides an opportunity for students to fully immerse themselves in American culture and make life long friends.

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The J-1 Visa provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. In its genesis, Student Ambassador Exchange saw that the J-1 Visa could provide the opportunity for students from abroad to experience American culture in many different ways, particularly through studying in American highschools and learning about a new and exciting culture.

As a designated J-1 Visa sponsor we are always looking for new Host Families to help us provide the opportunity to students that want to study in the United States. If you want to be a part of this amazing program, Apply to be a Host Family Today!

 

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#SAEstories: Meet Maggie!

Maggie the Explorer

Today we are excited to introduce Maggie, our newest Student of the Week!  She is a 15 year old girl hoping to spend the 11th grade in the US. We were certain that she would do great in the United States when she described herself by saying, “I think it’s important to work hard and play hard.” This globetrotting young lady is no stranger to travel.  She’s been to Thailand and explored all over Europe, but she told us that her favorite country so far has been Switzerland – for the scenery and the food. Beyond simply seeing the world, Maggie cares about making the world a better place. She joined Roots & Shoots – a global program started by Jane Goodall to get youth more involved in environmental issues.  Her local group tested river water for pollution. Based on their findings, they urged their mayor to treat the water.

Maggie loves school because she gets to learn new things while also spending time with her friends. She told us that her favorite class is English, because it’s the only class where students can speak freely. We asked her why she wants to come to America, and she’s most excited for a classroom experience that is different from China.

Beyond school, Maggie is looking forward to getting to know her host family.  She loves animals, especially dogs! She would probably do best with an active family. She likes to be involved in many different activities, and would probably jump into anything you’re involved with!

If you’re interested in hosting Maggie or any other student, the process is simple! Reach out to a Program Coordinator or fill out a host family application.

Due to Department of State regulations, we cannot post photos of our students until they are officially placed with a host family and enrolled for the school year. If you’d like additional information on Maggie or any of our other students, please get in touch with us at emily@saeglobal.org.
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Experience Chinese New Year!

We are happy to announce our new weekly additions of culturally focused blog posts that explore traditions, history, and festivals held around the world. Part of promoting inter-cultural exchange is not only sharing your own culture with an exchange student, but learning about theirs as well. This week we’ll be taking a look at…Chinese New Year!

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Chinese culture and traditions stretch back thousands of years, fostering and promoting some very interesting festivals such as the much anticipated Chinese New Year. February 8th marks the beginning of Chinese New year festivities, ushering in the year of the monkey for Chinese diaspora across the world!

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The New Year festival is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, and the Philippines. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors. [1]

According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children! To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One day, a villager decided to get revenge on the Nian. A god visited him and told him to put red paper on his house and to place firecrackers. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian! [2]

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Want an opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year and learn about the cultural traditions behind it? Apply to be a Host Family today with Student Ambassador Exchange, and broaden your cultural horizons!

Host Family Application

 

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