Cultural Exchange

It isn’t very often that, as a white American, we get to feel out of our element, but when we make our way to Viet Nam, we will be completely out of our element. I’m sure it will be interesting for me, but assuredly difficult for my kids. So I’ve been contemplating ways to help them not be so overwhelmed at being the different one. I thought that one way would be to have them associate more with those who are in similar boats as we will be in. I decided that we will host two cultural exchange students, one at a time, for nine days each. Enough time to get to know them, not long enough to annoy me. The first student will be a freshman girl from a Japanese medical school. The second will be a younger middle-school boy from China. I’m hoping that the kids get along with them okay, but I also know that it will be slightly awkward for everyone. The kids (and I) will have to be patient and understand of the cultural and language differences. I think it will be a good experience for the kids and will hopefully lead to a more open response to people abroad and an understanding of how silly we will seem struggling through the most basic communication. It will prove to be hard, I’m sure, but I’m hopeful that having these exchange students will be a positive learning experience for everyone involved, including the visiting students.

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