Monday, January 31, 2011

Mor til fire - A swedish Experience in Australia

Our former exchange student years later when we visited her in Denmark.
Many years ago we hosted an exchange student from Denmark, a wonderful girl who became an integral part of our family. She stayed with us for 11 months and attended the local high school. In those days, my boys were quite small and prone to making noise in the early morning, such as banging on our old piano...which probably annoyed the hell out of our student,  but despite those and other minor issues, the year she spent with us, was such a wonderful experience that I hoped to welcome other students in to our family someday.....

For many years, not having space due to having another child, was really the only thing stopping us. We did have a short term Canadian student, but 2 weeks is not really enough to get to know someone and their culture well. So an opportunity arose recently, when a student needed to transfer from the country to the city rather quickly, and would be here for another 5 months... and this is where we put our hand up. Now I am a mother to four children again.

Loving Scandinavia, and having a little swedish in my background, for me to welcome a student from Sverige into our home, seemed just perfect. She has been here a week already and has superbly fitted in to out family nest. We like her a lot and I think she likes our home and family....

Having some one from another culture living in your home gives you many opportunities to experience another way of life and learn so many things, both tangible and intangible.  My own son was so taken with stories and pictures of Denmark and danish life that he always planned to travel and be an exchange student himself in either Denmark or Norway. And so it has come full circle.  A little of our family and culture has influenced a Norwegian family where my son's exchange was spent, and now we in turn, are hosting  another student... perhaps in time, my youngest child may also be tempted to spend time overseas in another family.

I am sure it is not all plain sailing, though. There can be many challenges for the student and the family. If conflict arises, it has to be resolved otherwise a student may need to change families ( as many of them do) and this in itself, is disruptive and a setback in their process of integration in the community.

It is a shame that there are only student exchanges... I myself would love to go on an adult exchange program... wouldn't that be fun?  Not having the confidence or inclination or exposure to do this as a student, where the only overseas destination was America... ( and I was not interested in going there) it seems that it is too late for me. But not for my children.

I can thoroughly recommend an exchange experience for anyone or is open minded and likes to learn from other cultures.... you can literally have the world in your living room!

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