Thank you always for your great support of international student exchanges! Your front page article with the photo announcing the urgent need of more host families for the incoming students from abroad was much appreciated! Unforgettable are the memories of last year’s foreign students from Serbia, Germany, Norway and Mexico in our area high schools — thanks to our wonderful ambassador host families — the Andersons, Hortons, Kellers, Kemps, Rensenhouses and Todds!
This fall, two area high schools, LaGrange High School and Troup High School, have accepted five exchange students, including Mathias Berntsen (Norway) with Richard and Jane Free; Ligia S. Brasil (Brazil) with Ed and Claire Hale; Agne Pupininkaite (Lithuania) with Dawn Hunt and Isabel; Lisann Schoor (Germany) with Ed and Sarah Hersey; and Virginia Cuartero (Spain) with Troy and Jennifer Martin.
Other students from China, France and South Korea are placed in Hamilton, Newnan, Dallas and Canton area high schools, spreading international friendship. Ambassador host families, schools and churches are the hub of this amazing introduction to the “American way of life” which all students long to experience at the grass-roots in their applications. They want to see the “American School Spirit” and the pride of the communities all so amazing and quite foreign to some in their own countries. At 16-27 years, they are all eager to learn from us and share their own backgrounds, helping to promote better international understanding!
Such enriching experiences have made possible most of all by the kindest, most generous host families, some of them opening their hearts and homes for the second and third time, including countries like Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Columbia, Bolivia, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Republic of Georgia, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Spain, Thailand, and New Zealand, perhaps, others through organizations here.
To all these students and teachers who were introduced through AFS and Nacel Open door exchange programs to our Southern Hospitality over the years in “America’s Greatest Little City,” these United States — known to them mostly through the media and Hollywood — will never be the same, thank God!
As the first exchange student from then West Berlin to Greenville, S.C., some decades ago, I continue to be inspired and so thankful by all the encounters of amazing new host families with their foreign students who become — as I was — a member of a close-knit family life as a new son and daughter from a different continent!
More and more of our own young people apply to go abroad to represent America in foreign communities, making them their summer or year-long adventures. Germany, Italy, France and Spain have been part of the LaGrange abroad connection, with Japan and Northern Ireland as well through our Sister Cities organization, L.I.F.E (LaGrange International Friendship Exchange). We would like to invite interested people to become new members. Please call the Troup County Chamber of Commerce today for more information.
We need more young American ambassadors spending a gap year abroad during their high school or after graduation before entering college, or experiencing a business career enhancement in Germany, France or England. Such a “road less traveled” is indeed a courageous and rewarding step for the future. U.S. colleges and universities are looking for bilingual freshmen and undergraduates to serve as leaders for growing international relations, guaranteeing a more prosperous and peaceful world. Learning a foreign language, understanding the cultural values by living in the country with caring host families under a supportive staff abroad is a giant step for peace! Thank you.
Dr. Christiane Price
Nacel Open Door
Local Representative and Coordinator