Week 4 Discussion

Kristin Marquardt

Throughout high school, I’ve been a part of AFS. Last year I was the vice president. If you don’t know AFS, it is a foreign exchange program. So being a part of AFS was very exciting, especially with communication! The first couple years I was in AFS our foreign exchange students spoke English very well and had few problems with communication. The next year I met one of my best friends Manami from Japan. Going from Japanese to English is very difficult and Manami had a hard time at first. The first few weeks she just didn’t speak. I invited her to go to a movie with some friends and we soon became closer than many of my other friends. The same year we had Elisabet from Germany. The communication problem with Elisabet wasn’t the language barrier. It was cultural and social. She would act very strangely toward others and nobody understood why she acted so different. Last year we had three exchange students. Borghild from Norway, Hannah from Brazil, and Lalitwan from Thailand. Lalitwan had trouble with communication too. At first we though she was just shy, and then we thought it was educational, and then cultural, but I think it was some of each. She never wanted to join a club or a team and she didn’t like doing things besides homework and school. One thing that surprised me was that she let her hair grow. At her school in Thailand, their hair needs to stay just below her ear, so when she came here she was so happy to have long hair. Hannah from Brazil also became one of my very best friends. Meeting people from all over the world gives me a lot to think about. I think about war, and wonder how we could fight to the death with people like my friends. It makes me sad, but also very happy that I have friends in s many places. Meeting Manami, Hannah, and Borghild, made me want to learn another language or travel the world. The language didn’t work out for me, so lets hope I can travel.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    katherinehwoods said,

    MAJOR PROPS! Communication can be hard to understand even in english and then to try and understand different accents makes it enven harder. And even though its a struggle you still continue to learn, I dont understand war either and having a boyfriend in the military really makes me dislike it all the more!
    ps. lets travel together!

  2. 2

    arienbecker said,

    That is such a cool experience! We had three foreign exchange students in our entrepreneurship class my senior year of high school, and they way they handle business in their countries is so much different. It took a lot of work to communicate our business practices with them at first!


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