Amidst the cacophony of post-election chatter, one truth remains evident: America has much to gain from student exchange!
Whatever else may be said about this historic election, one incredible side effect has been its power to bring people together in meaningful discussion. It’s brought us to a point of looking at our neighbors and – perhaps for the first time in many years – truly SEEING them.
Old misunderstandings previously swept under the rug have suddenly been thrust into the light. Like a great wooden spoon stirring the proverbial “melting pot,” we’ve churned ourselves up! And though we now find ourselves swirling in a sea of differences, we find that we ARE, as the saying goes, all part of the same soup. And we’ve got to make it turn out. TOGETHER.
So what does any of this have to do with student exchange?
It’s the very nature of SEEING another, no matter how varied our views, that has molded American history. And it’s arguably one of the most important goals for our future as well.
When we invite exchange students into our communities – to share in our schools, play on our teams, and sit at our tables – we invite a new perspective! We learn to see through new eyes. We share what is sacred to us and learn about that which is foreign. And in the process, we grow. There is never a downside to such an experience, because for better or worse, these interactions with the “other” will propel us forward into new layers of empathy and understanding. And we, in turn, model to our children exactly what it looks like to seek such goals. To give without asking. To love without judging.
Student exchange does all this and more.
In 2017, there will no doubt be ups and downs in American politics. But in American homes and hearts, there will also be the gifts of charity and diversity.
Will YOU join us in this journey? There has NEVER been a better time.