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Ann Ruhman's Comments

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Pacific Intercultural Exchange, Sponsor Company For High School Exchange Students, Suspended By State Department

Pacific Intercultural Exchange, Sponsor Company For High School Exchange Students, Suspended By State Department

Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 08:20:24 in Education

“Unfortunately, schools are very reluctant to let organizations know what they know about potential host families due to privacy issues. Think about that. Schools know a lot about the families in the school, and yet organizations run into an almost adversarial attitude at many schools when trying to place students. If your school is willing to talk to organizations, I commend them, because that is not the case in most schools. I TOTALLY agree that one phone call is all it would take...

Also, it is a misconception that "everyone is making money". First, all organizations by State Department regulation are non-profits. Second, not all organizations pay the local coordinators. 3 in particular are totally volunteer driven on the local level - AFS, YFU and Rotary. I am not saying that this is the best way as there are lots of organizations out there that do just fine, compensating the local coordinator. This is a personal value decision. But when considering organizations, both schools and host families should be doing more to vet an organization on their side than googling "exchange".

Lastly, I would like to invite everyone who thinks that regulations solve everything to actually go through the process of becoming a host family. Everyone talks about how horrible it is that these things happen, and yet are unwilling to become that ideal host family. Organizations need families to step up and host. Become part of the solution.


katter47 on Jul 26, 2012 at 13:37:30

“In the vast majority the experience is a wonderful one for both the exchange student and the host family. It enriches the lives of all involved and the people involved make friends for life. It is not uncommon for members of the host family to travel to visit the exchange student in their home country after the exchange ends.
That said, I stick with my statement that there was, in my experience, a wide variation in the quality of services provided. In this, as in everything, "Buyer beware" is a good policy. And yes, if placing exchange students in homes with felons or registered sex offenders is occurring, it would seem a little regulation is in order.”
huffingtonpost entry

Send Your Orphan Heirlooms Home

Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 21:56:21 in Entertainment

“Orphan heirlooms don't just come in the forms of bibles, pictures, etc, they also come in the form of just everyday living papers and items. When my mother passed away, I had the job of cleaning out the house. I swear, the family never threw anything away. I found lots of things that I could not throw out just because they didn't mean anything to me. I have sent things to local hospitals, the American Legion, and the most memorable one, a 1942 college brochure from Denison University. When they received it, this was part of the response: "I laughed when I opened the envelope and read your description of finding (and saving) the old Denison Bulletin - brava to you! A woman after my own heart. You're going to a special place in heaven for historians and preservationists. This bulletin is a perfect example of a once-common object which most people tossed out long ago - there are few of them left, so it's a real treasure for our archives, and we're delighted to have it." My note with the Bulletin said that the history major in me wouldn't let me throw it out so it was now their problem! It has been quite heartwarming to get these little notes. Not every one responds, but enough do that it makes it all worthwhile.

The moral of the story?Just because something doesn't have what you think is value, it could be valuable in many different ways to others.”