It is with great pleasure that we welcomed an international exchange student from Argentina for the month of July. The story of how we connected is simply serendipitous.
In summer 2013, I attended a small Google Apps for Education conference in Colchester, Vermont. We were probably about 25 people in attendance. We all had a voice and participated in the conversations. Three people from Argentina stood out to me. How in the world did they find this small conference in a rural middle school in Vermont? The answer? “We were visiting NYC, and this conference was close by.”
For the following two years, Fernando, a tech integrationist at a bilingual school system in Cordoba, Argentina, worked collaboratively with me and my tech team at Essex Town School District. We carried out collaborative projects and held many, many Mystery Hangouts between our schools to the delight of the students and teachers alike.
In January 2016, I made bold to ask Fernando if he could assist in finding a volunteer opportunity in medicine in his town for my fledgling 20 year-old daughter, who was delving into medicine. We held live Hangouts together in which he promised that my daughter could come “as another daughter” to experience and exchange in Argentina. I felt the trust and so within short order, we had booked a three week trip to Cordoba. The short story is that with Fernando’s help, the support of their family, and an amazingly welcoming daughter (Lucre), my own daughter had the immersion experience of a lifetime with an Argentinian family and a shadowing experience in the surgery room of a public hospital, the gory details of which could be completely divulged in a subsequent post…
This experience changed her life. My daughter has just now applied to med school with the dream of becoming a surgeon.
My appreciation was inexpressible. I wanted so much to reciprocate and host Lucre here in the USA to return the favor. Eighteen months later, Lucre arrived, glossy-eyed, but ready for adventure. She got the whirlwind tour of Vermont as well as jaunts to NYC, The Hamptons, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, Lake Ontario, Boston and Montreal, QC CANADA. My efforts to share culture, customs, food, geography and history were appreciated many-fold by Lucre. She was undemanding, gracious and appreciative… just the way I like it!
Intrigued? Trust your instincts and support sharing culture around the globe. Make a world of difference in a youth’s life. The reward and returns are immeasurable. Certainly Lucre and my daughter will pay it forward in kind.