Tag Archives: foreign exchange

“Winging it” sounds the same in any language

Yes, I know he's not Danish. He's also not really speaking Swedish. That's not the point.

Yes, I know he’s not Danish. He’s also not really speaking Swedish. That’s not the point. Art by Max Geiger.

In Danish, the phrase “Good morning, how did you sleep,” looks like this:

God morgen, hvordan har du sover?

It sounds like:

G’morn, vordenardusowah?

As in any language, in Danish, phonetics often have little to do with how words look on paper. While this particular phrase (which Jack needs to learn, along with a short introduction speech by the end of the month), may not be too difficult, there are sounds in that language that don’t even exist in English. Not to mention letters, like: æ, ø, and å.

But when I reminded him last week about putting together his speech, he was unconcerned. He said he’d just use the handy, new Danish dictionary he got for Christmas, and whip out a few phrases.

Oh, honey. Please (er, ahem: vær så venlig). (more…)

Teenagers might one day be the death of me

stanley_valley copyOur wedding anniversary was Sunday, and Mike and I slept in separate rooms.

It wasn’t like that. He did spend the better part of an hour trying to make a fire for me in a teensy stove, but there wasn’t much for kindling and the wood may have been a little wet. The room would be warm enough anyway once all the girls returned to the cabin.

When I looked up this place online I read about a lodge that sleeps 50 on the shores of Alturas Lake with a view of the Sawtooth Mountains. There would be en-suite bathrooms, linens and towels and hand stitched quilts and a staff to serve meals in a common dining area.

It sounded rather swanky for a labor-day weekend orientation for twenty or so Rotary foreign exchange students, but maybe the intent was to start their year off with a bang.

In retrospect the fact that I thought we were staying in that lodge is a little funny. (more…)

By the way, Namaste

flagsA little while ago, Mike and I spent the morning with a group of emotional teenagers.

… Sorry, that’s redundant. I meant “more emotional than usual, even given the teen thing.”

We were chaperoning a group of kids on year-long exchanges from all corners of the globe. On a regular basis during the year, these kids would leave their various host homes scattered across Idaho to gather in a central location. They bonded, comparing notes on their new lives in mostly rural places they may previously believed were only contrived as a setting for Napoleon Dynamite. (more…)

Eight things I’ve learned hosting a foreign exchange student

guilleAnother teenager came to live with us this week. Given the stories you hear from me about the one we already have, you might think I’m self-medicating. Hold off on the intervention, we know what we’re getting into.

And not second-hand either. When we told people we were going to host our first foreign exchange student, we were regaled with horror stories, similar to what happens when someone finds out you’re pregnant, and feels compelled to share the most hair-raising details from their own labor and delivery.

But we’ve yet to experience any horror, hosting through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, and the student who just moved in is our fourth. (more…)