By Jillian Sims: High School Programs Outreach Manager
Heather Tucker is a Local Coordinator with Greenheart Exchange in Idaho. Heather shares about a fun evening of cultural exchange she arranged for her students and shares what it means to be a Local Coordinator working with exchange students and host families in her community.
“On December 1st we had a sushi party for any exchange student who did a country presentation during International Education Week (IEW). Suzu from Japan was our leader: teaching us how to buy sushi grade fish and other ingredients, how to prepare the food in a safe manner, and how to make miso soup. Anahit from Armenia and Momcilo from Serbia were our FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) students who attended. We also had Sveva and Luca from Italy, Stella from Sweden, Anna from Hungary, and Vivian from Taiwan (she’s with another organization but friends with Suzu).
Working with exchange students has taught me a lot about the world, my community, and even myself. It has also brought a lot of happiness and joy not only to my husband and two younger sons, but also to my extended family and friends. I feel that hosting an exchange student has rippling effects you can’t even imagine. Your whole community is changed. Other teenagers and their families even have the opportunity to learn about a different culture and share their traditions.
Besides the exchange students broadening my views, I have met some of the most amazing people through working with exchange students. It has brought the most wonderful local people into my life.
Lastly, it has given me the opportunity to work with local schools to teach about other countries and cultures. I have worked with exchange students and schools to do country presentations for those as young as 2nd grade classes to some as old as seniors. With the older kids I even get to inform them of travel opportunities they can access to volunteer or travel abroad to learn a language or culture with Greenheart Travel.
Working with exchange students has quite literally changed my life and I can’t ever imagine not being involved with it.”
Looking for the opportunity to share culture and build lasting relationships with your global family? Visit hostwithgreenheart.org to learn more about hosting an exchange student or visit placewithgreenheart.org to learn more about working with exchange students and host families in your local community!