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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Some Foreign Exchange Students Weren't Happy with My Comments

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Foreign Exchange Students Weren't Happy with My Comments

Wow, the power of the internet! I was bombarded via email by a group of foreign exchange students. I say a group, but they were all acting independently after someone posted a link to my first article on some exchange student website. They weren't too happy with my post on hosting a foreign exchange student. In fact, many of them said they would do everything they could to break my rules and then some and what was I running...some kind of military operation here? I guess they were taking my "veteran military wife" quite literally. So much for the power of the written word and how it is interpreted. I did have some explaining to do...not for me but for them. I stand by my original post, but in the interest of getting my point across from a different angle and to offer some insight from our student as well, here goes...

Please be sure to read my first post so you know where I'm coming from and what these kids were responding to. Here's what I have to add from their questions and comments:

  • Many said I was too harsh with my computer rules and that I was infringing on the student's privacy. My computer is mine, and I am responsible for anything and everything that happens on there. If you download some malicious stuff or illegal software, who do you think will "pay"...yes, me and not the person using it. Our exchange student will be long gone before it's time to play the blame game. Looking at a few t*ts and a** is every young boy's dream...that was not really my concern here...just the hard stuff and doing illegal or immoral things...keep it off my computer.
  • Curfews are for babies they said. An exchange student needs a curfew, period. You are my responsibility while you are here, and your mother would kill me should I let you run wild. Nothing good happens after midnight and unless you have an event scheduled that ends after that, you will be home then. I do realize European teenagers, for the most part, do not have curfews. Your society is different. Stay in the US with responsible host parents and you will have a curfew and someone concerned of your whereabouts. That's just the way it is.
  • I shouldn't have to to chores and things. I am just visiting over here. Anyone living in our home, other than a guest who is only staying with us for a few days, will have some family responsibilities and chores. You are here, you are part of our family. I don't care what you did at home..that was home then, and this is home now:-)) Part of your exchange is to learn how other cultures do things and to become a part of your host family. You'll never get the full picture without jumping in head first and truly becoming a part of your borrowed family.
  • We all make mistakes and you are being too harsh to send someone home. When I said you get to go home if you screw up, I am not talking about minor things. I am talking about illegal or immoral things that could get us or you in trouble...the same kinds of things your exchange program and the law has rules about. Think about it. Your family has just spent thousands of dollars to send you over here, and you're going to blow that by doing something fleeting and stupid? It's not worth it. If you want to do stuff like that, do it outside of an exchange program, come back on your own and do what you want then.
Now I will probably get some more email, but let me add a few words from our exchange student. He knows that his mother and I do talk. He knows that I know what his responsibilities are at home there. He appreciates that I do sit down and take the time to talk to him, and that we consider him part of our family and not just some student living and eating here. He loves to be with his friends, but it does warm my heart to see him set aside time to do activities with us as well, especially his little brothers...just like any American teenager would..or should. Since he has been here, he has been immersed in either swimming or soccer, so spends most of his time training and competing, which is fine with us (it gives us a breather actually). When he is out, he actually calls me more than I think our own two boys would. I'm hoping my two will pick up on some of this stuff and the good habits of our student. We will surely miss him, and I have come to find out that for the most part, German teens are more mature, more worldly and more considerate than most of their American counterparts. I don't want to say this is completely so...just my own observations in my own little world. The foreign exchange experience has definitely been worth it, and I recommend it to any family looking to broaden their horizens a bit.

Have you ever thought of hosting? If not a whole year program, perhaps a summer program? I just saw a blurb in our local newspaper about a foreign exchange organization looking for American families to host about two dozen French exchange students who will stay here for four weeks. Let's hear your thoughts. Is this something you would ever think of doing?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

I'm so glad you explained your "rules". Every child should be so lucky to have rules. If there are no rules with consequences at home, what would happen if the young person went out into the "real world" and broke a rule?

Responsibility educates.

April 30, 2008 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous dlishtrish said...

Here is the other thing IRT curfews: some curfews are locally mandated. The child and/or parent could be fined if the minor is out after a set time. Additionally, if the minor doesn't show up to school, the parent or guardian can be fined or do jail time for that as well. Just something else to consider!

April 30, 2008 at 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't go back to read the other post -- no need to do so, your rules are right on the money and as you say "my house, my rules".
One of the happiest days of my life was the day my older son said to me, "Thanks for all you did for me, even when I thought you were too strick, I see know that it was for my benefit, and I am today a better person for it." He'll be forty this year and I couldn't be prouder. Carol

May 1, 2008 at 1:22 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Awwww, that's very sweet..and worthwhile to hear! Thanks!

May 1, 2008 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Jane Spetoskey said...

I didn't see anything wrong with your rules and I've been on the other side as an exchange student in Costa Rica.

May 7, 2008 at 1:37 AM  

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