Student exchange builds understanding

Dear Editor,
In this time of ongoing turmoil, student exchange is good medicine for a world torn by terror. We want to invite the families of Winifred to help us combat international fears and prejudices by welcoming a foreign teen into their homes and hearts.
In recent weeks, all eyes have turned to Rio and the Olympic games. But as we cheer on Phelps, Biles and Ledecky, many of us quietly hold our breath: rumors of a potential terrorist threat are woven through the press and shared on social media. The result? Fear. “International,” a word once celebrated as exciting and elite, now feels scary and oppressive.
And yet – we have a choice.
If we want to break down prejudices and build understanding (even in the face of terror), relationship is the most likely antidote – real relationships with other human beings. This is where student exchange comes in. Welcoming an international student is a simple, tangible way to teach our children that different is not dangerous. When students engage with a classmate from Germany or Thailand, they begin to see the world differently. They become more likely to judge the country based on their friendship (and not the other way around.)
In short: exchange students provide a much-needed way to let “global” be good again.
We are looking forward to bringing exchange students to Winifred High School, but we are still looking for host families to welcome these students. We can’t do it without community support – so let’s link arms and be part of the solution.
We urge readers to help us bring all students “home.” We are seeking host homes for 75 students from Germany, Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Austria and Italy. All students must have a host home by Aug. 31. Readers can consider helping by hosting as a short-term or long-term host family.
To learn more, readers may contact International Experience directly at (888) 266-2921 and we will connect you with the Local Coordinator in your area, or visit

Jodi Lundell



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