PG 01 by wuyunyi


									                             May 2011
                             Vol. XVI, No. 3

                                                                                                A Storyteller’s Message
                                                                                                of Peace and Unity
                                                                                                    On April 3, Salamatu Mohammed
                                                                                                entranced a crowd with a story at Children of
                                                                                                the Well, a youth storytelling event in Troy,
                                                                                                New York. In a discussion with
                                                                                       reporter Azra Haqqie,
                                                                                                Salamatu explained that she learned the art of
                                                                                                storytelling from her maternal grandmother
                                                                                                in Ghana. “Every time I would ask her a
                                                                                                question, instead of answering the question,
                                                                                                she would tell me a story.”
                                                                                                    Her host mother, Siri Allison, who is also
                                                                                                a storyteller, encouraged her to perfect her
                                                                                                craft by participating in weekly storytelling
                                                                                                events. In March, the accomplished Ghanian
                                                                                                YES student was chosen as one of six youth
                                                                                                storytellers to speak at the Nazareth College
                                                                                                Global Citizen Conference.                       Imam Abdur-Rahman Yaki, also a native of
                                                                                                    For this recent April event, Salamatu told   Ghana, compliments YES student Salamatu
                                                                                                                                                 Mohammed on her performance.
                                                                                                a story titled “If God Doesn’t Kill Me, No
                                                                                                One Else Can” about a kind man, a king,
 Indonesian YES student Ayeshadira Putri with her pupils.
                                                                                                money and a ring. “It is a story about how           Salamatu explains her greater hope, “My
                                                                                                great God is and how He is the master of         goal is to promote peace between all the
  Novice Teacher Wins Hearts                                                                    everything,” Salamatu reveals. “No one can       people in the world, uniting them by stories.
    I am a person who is passionate about       my country. Another good thing is they like     kill me except God was the message. You've       It is my wish that no one fight in this world.”
 volunteering and I love kids. Fortunately,     to fix my pronunciation, so I am getting        got to have faith.”
 the local elementary school allows me to       other benefits!
 be an “Indonesian teacher” for the after          My favorite part of teaching is when
 school enrichment program students.            their facial expressions show that they
    Twice a week I go there to teach about      learned something different. It is my
 Indonesia. I share our musical instruments,    happiness when the kids say “thank you
 read Indonesian folk stories, teach            Ms. Ayeshadira” and hug me every time
 Indonesian crafts, etc. We eat Indonesian      the class is over.
 food, too! It is a big experience for me.         I never imagined I could actualize my
    Being a teacher is not easy but I really    dream to be a teacher, here, in United
 enjoy my time doing it. This activity          States.
 brightens my days. The kids are adorable                      Ayeshadira Putri (Indonesia)
 as well. They are so curious about my                          Hosted by Weezorak family
 “different appearance” and what we do in                                   Charlotte, NC

Unexpected Lessons,                             understand. Yet coupled with her sense of
                                                confidence is a deeply ingrained respect for
Delights and Laughter                           her parents and family, her culture, her
                                                friends, and for us.
   She stepped into our lives with an               Amina has taught us the value of sharing
infectious smile and sparkling eyes that seem
never to have stopped shining all year.
                                                what we have, what we think, what we like to    Encore! Encore!
                                                do, our space and our time. Simply being        In California, these Morro Bay High School PAX exchange students received a thundering
Perhaps this is the very best part of the       here and having the normal needs of a           applause for their dance performance at a mock rock concert. Pictured are Pleng
exchange. Back in August, I wondered when       teenager involved in various activities, she    Yimsomboonpat (Thailand), Hikaru Mochizuki (Japan), Natthapat Wongcharoenyong
the enthusiasm and glee would wear off. At      has taught us that it’s not so difficult to     (Thailand), Coordinator Jan Walter’s son Isaac and Diego Gladig (Switzerland). After the
Christmas break, there was some sadness,        change habits, to do something in a new way     routine, the group brought attention to the devastation in Japan and asked for prayers. Special
perhaps homesickness. Yet despite being         or try something we’ve not done before —        commendation goes to Pleng who led the PAX performance and placed third for choreography.
separated from her family for so long, Amina    like to go to cross-country meets or choral
has continued to be charming, warm and          events, attend Akron’s First Night, or tour                                                                                    NONPROFIT
enthusiastic.                                   Washington, DC. She has taught us that by                                                                                   U.S. Postage Paid
   Coming to Ohio from Kazakhstan on a          opening our hearts to a total stranger,                                                                                      Greenwich, CT
FLEX scholarship, Amina is curious,             unexpected lessons, delights and laughter                                                                                         06830
flexible, generous and confident. She finds     will surely follow.                                                                                                          Permit No. 741
something positive in most situations and           Deniese and Alan Newman, host parents for
laughs frequently. She talks to others with                    Amina Sugirova (Kazakhstan)
ease and asks questions when she doesn’t                                        Akron, Ohio       14 Willett Avenue, Port Chester, NY 10573

 Defining Moments . . . . . . . . . . . .3
 What We’ll Miss . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
 America Close Up . . . . . . . . . . . .5
 What I’ve Gained . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
 PAX Goes GREEN . . . . . . . . . . . .7
 Share Your America . . . . . . . . . . .8      Alan and Deniese Newman, FLEX student
                                                Amina Sugirova (Kazakhstan) and host sister
                                                Carly Newman.
                                                                                                    What a Year!
                                                                                                       This year has not only made me more
                                                                                                    independent but has also made me even more
                                                                                                    mature, active, attentive, confident and
                                                                                                    interactive. It forced me to realize the
                                                                                                    importance of interacting with people and
                                                                                                    respecting other cultures.
                                                                                                       I am gratefully thankful to my host family
                                                                                                    for having me in their house, treating me in
                                                                                                    the same way as their own sons, and sharing         Gained Grandparents, Too
                                                                                                    their love and time with me, asking nothing
                                                                                                    in return. I also thank the other host families        My host mom’s mom lives a five minute
                                                                                                    for taking students not only into their homes       walk away. For Christmas, the whole big
                                                                                                    but also into their lives. I thank the U.S.         family went there and I was counted as a
                                                                                                    Department of State for giving me such a            granddaughter. Every holiday we spend time
                                                                                                    memorable journey.                                  with relatives. These are wonderful
                                                                                                       The schools here are very different from         American experiences. The next day after
                                                                                                    the schools in India. I liked the fact that my      Christmas, I went to Grandma and Grandpa
                                                                                                    school was very supportive. I also liked the        Freund’s and I got a bracelet engraved
                                                                                                    enthusiasm of the students, parents and             “Granddaughter” on the front and “love” on
                                                                                                    teachers       during      athletic     events.     the back. I love talking to my host
Once Upon a Time...                                                                                 Homecoming, spirit week and pep rallies             grandparents. I think I could travel in the
Dorothee Nyga reads one of her favorite German stories to elementary school children. The           were some of the new experiences that I             U.S. any time I want, but not every time
Stewart family hosts her in Washington, Utah.                                                       happily enjoyed. These will be some of the          could I get these beautiful memories. This is
                                                                                                    many things that I will miss when I go back         one of the things I love about the tiny town,
 Generation Tech                                  Far from Malaysia                                 home.                                               Johnsburg.
                                                     I came for the second semester of school,         Almost every day came with something                             Leelanut Jitbantad (Thailand)
    Since Tnat Chantrachirathumrong had           so it was a little bit hard to get used to                                                                            Hosted by the Freund family
                                                                                                    new to learn and share. My first snow,
 never swum competitively before he               American society. As the days passed by,                                                                                            Johnsburg, MN
                                                                                                    snowboarding and even slipping on black
 joined his Leavenworth, Kansas high              things became better. I’m so lucky to have an     ice. It was an entire year full of amazing
 school team, he fired up his computer to         awesome host family, Coordinator Natalie          experiences.
                                                                                                                                                        Japan: Keeping a Vigil
 glean tips from YouTube videos. With             Saltmarsh and friends. I am now having fun.
 those tips and the support of his hosts, the        Experience is the best teacher. When I
                                                                                                                     Khabeeruddin Ghouri (India)
                                                                                                                       Hosted by the Eblen family
                                                                                                                                                        as Disaster Unfolds
 Van Cise family, and his coach, Tnat got         knew that I would be in Florida, I was not as                                                             On March 11 my host dad told me the
                                                                                                                                  Lovettsville, VA
 up to speed quickly. When he returns to          excited as before because there is no snow                                                            news about the earthquake in Japan. All of
 Thailand, Tnat plans to continue                 there. Snow was the first thing on my mind                                                            the news on the TV and Internet was about
 swimming at the pool in his Bangkok              when I applied for this program. After a few                                                          Japan. We saw the many
 suburb.                                          weeks in Gainesville, I realized that snow                                                            horrible pictures of what the
                                                  could screw up our activities. I’m so grateful                                                        tsunami did to Japan.
                                                  to be here because I can spend more time in                                                               Fortunately, I could contact
                                                  outdoor activities.                                                                                   my family right after I saw the
                                                     For me, instead of missing family, I miss                                                          news. When I first contacted
                                                  Malaysian food! But, American foods are                                                               my family, my mom and sister
                                                  awesome. For example, I really like the                                                               were there, and all was fine. But my dad
                                                  American hamburger because it is way                                                                  wasn't home yet, and they couldn't contact
                                                  bigger than the Malaysian hamburger.                                                                  my grandma. I was so nervous. Some of my
                                                     So far, this program has taught me to be                                                           friends called. I was happy that I had made
                                                  more respectful of other people and be aware       Mariami Otarashvili (Georgia), Amerhussein         such great friends here. When I heard that my
Indonesian YES student Ditha is the third girl    of what is going on, and to appreciate others      Amenodin (Philippines) and Adlinanur               father and grandma were fine, I was so
in the front row.                                 and love our planet. It also makes me realize      Prihandiani (Indonesia) show off their creation.   relieved. I was very anxious because I'm far
                                                  how important it is to get to know other                                                              away. But, I didn't have to think about it too
Dance Fever                                       people outside of our community and to
                                                                                                     My First Snowman                                   much because my American family took care
   I’m part of the varsity dance team at my       create strong camaraderie with them so that           It’s March and it’s snowing! That’s             of me well.
school, Highland Park Senior High. Our            we can have world peace as a result.               what happens where we live in northern                 I'm so glad that I'm staying with the
dance team is considered a sports activity.                           Luqman Ramli (Malaysia)        Michigan. It’s never too late for snow.            Demberg family for this whole year. I really
The types of dance that we do are jazz dance                        Hosted by Robinson family           Hooray! My host brother and my wish             appreciate their kindness.
and kick line, including split, Russian, triple                                 Gainesville, FL      came true and there was no school on                                         Ayumi Baba (Japan)
turn and all the hard dance techniques.                                                              March 10. We had woken up early to have                           Hosted by the Demberg family
   I had such a great experience with the                                                            our school musical performance, The                                               Westtown, NY
dance team. We already performed many                                                                Wizard of Oz, taped by 9&10 news. We
times, and even one time as the guest                                                                were on television! After we went home
performers at a state competition. The last                                                          and I begged Amer for a whole hour, he
dance that we did was “Candy Dance” for a                                                            helped me make the snowman.
pep fest. It turned into a really awesome                                                               Without help from an American kid
dance performance. I'm so honored to be a                                                            and with the power of the exchange
part of this team, giving me such remarkable                                                         student excitement, our snowman was
memories that I will never forget. Thanks to                                                         finally done after an hour. It was a nice
my host family, the Stone's, who fully            Pass the Hammer                                    looking snowman. It was my first one!
supported me being on the dance team, and         In Nettleton, Mississippi, Justin Griffith             Adlinanur Febri Prihandiani (Indonesia)
cheering me on all the time. And definitely,      (Germany) built these giant racks to support                   Host by the Workman family             Dressed for Saudi Life
                                                  bird nests. He has loved working in host father                                                       YES student Omar Al Nabati’s parents sent
thanks to the PAX program!                                                                                                     Cheboygan, MI
                                                  Randy Harlow’s workshop.                                                                              these outfits to his hosts in Fort Mill, South
                Ditha Rimadiputri (Indonesia)
                                                                                                                                                        Carolina. Host mother Monique Nicoll reports,
                  Hosted by the Stone family
                                                                                                                                                        “The little boys didn’t want to take them off!”
                                 St. Paul, MN
 PAX–Program of Academic Exchange                                                                                                                       Scouts Honor
 is    a     not-for-profit    educational                                                                                                                 I used to be a part of the Ukrainian
 foundation. Established in 1990, PAX                                                                                                                   national scouting organization called Plast,
 sponsors international high school                                                                                                                     so I decided to try scouting here in America.
 students from over 40 nations on five                                                                                                                  I joined the Girl Scouts in the Heart of
 and ten month academic homestay                                                                                                                        Pennsylvania, Troop #81250.
 programs.                                                                                                                                                 I enjoy being part of such a great troop.
 For more information, contact:                                                                                                                         We learned new things at every meeting, and
                                                                                                                                                        every night is full of joy and new discoveries.
  PAX–Program of Academic Exchange
                                                                                                                                                        I even took a part in cookie sales and
              14 Willett Avenue
                                                                                                                                                        improved my business skills.
           Port Chester, NY 10573
                                                                                                                                                           I'll use the things I learned to improve
              tel (800) 555-6211                                                                                                                        scouting in Ukraine. To help others here gain
                                                                                                                                   a better understanding, I made a presentation
 Thank you for submitting letters to PAX                                                                                                                about Plast. The troop learned new facts and
 Press. Because of space limitations,
                                                  A Whirlwind Peru Visit With Our Former Student
                                                                                                                                                        my traditions from it. It was really important
                                                  “It took us 72-hours, three planes, four buses, two taxis, a monorail, a train, and one hour of
 however, we are unable to print each             hiking, but we finally made it to Machu Picchu, Peru!” says the Worrell family of Rochester,
                                                                                                                                                        for me to introduce my country, culture and
 letter in its entirety.                          Minnesota, who journeyed to Peru for spring break with their current exchange student, Nelson         scouting here in the USA.
         PAX Press is printed on recycled         Fernandez-Vieira from Venezuela. Their previous exchange student, Alejandra Vargas-Narvaez                            Kateryna Petrovska (Ukraine)
            paper with soy based ink.             from Peru, joined them for the trip. In this picture: Ale Vargas, Greg Worrell, Sam Worrell,                           Hosted by the Fischer family
                                                  Christa Worrell and Nelson Fernandez. The Worrells exclaim, “Peru pun intended!”                                        Chambersburg, PA
                                                                                              Page 2
                                                   Cheering My Team On at the State Champs
                                                      The state tournament was held a month          started to sing it: We’re the champions; we
                                                   ago. I can remember it clearly, because it was    are the champions, no time for losers 'cause
                                                   amazing. At the huge dome, I cheered for the      we are the champions of the state!
                                                   basketball team as loud as I could. My throat        It was lucky for me to be a member of the
                                                   was sore after cheering three days in a row,      cheerleading team this year because it is
                                                   but I couldn’t stop yelling because we were       unusual for us to go to the state tournament.
                                                   losing by three points at the third quarter.      We’ve never won the state tournament
                                                   Then my team started to win.                      before. How many people can be a state
                                                      The game-over bell rang. They won by 14        champion? How many people can be a
                                                   points. As soon as they could, the entire         cheerleader of a never-losing team? I want to     Host mother Charleen de la Flor and South
                                                   crowd rushed into the players! They hugged        say thank you to my school basketball team        KoreanYoung Kwon celebrate running a 10K.
A Wilderness Venture                               each other without recognizing who they           that gave me this precious memory.
Indonesian Ade Uktubara used her time in
                                                   were hugging, screaming and yelling.                                 Juhee Kang (South Korea)
                                                                                                                                                       Runners Rejoice
Washington State to develop her outdoor skills.
The YES student learned how to rock climb          Appropriately, the song “We Are the
                                                   Champions” by Queen came on and we
                                                                                                                    Hosted by the Murchie family
                                                                                                                                        Cando, ND
                                                                                                                                                       at the Finish Line
and snow shoe, as well as how to make a fire
                                                                                                                                                           For the past two months every Saturday
without a lighter. Her crowning moment came
                                                                                                                                                       morning, my host mom and I would drag

                                                             Defining Moments
during a survival camping night when she built
and slept in a snow cave. To eat, she had to                                                                                                           ourselves out from bed and train for the
catch a chicken, butcher it and cook it over a                                                                                                         Monument Avenue 10K. At first, it was
fire. She thanks her hosts, the Clay family, for                                                                                                       tough work, waking up early on the
being supportive.                                                                                                                                      weekends and running. We, however,
                                                                                                                                                       overcame the barriers and worked our way
Captured First Place                                                                                 Rookie Cross-Country                              up to 6.2 miles.
                                                                                                                                                           Despite the forecasters’ prediction of rain,
at First Science Fair                                                                                Skier Makes His Mark                              the weather was actually perfect during the
   It is pretty funny that my first science fair                                                                                                       race. It was hard to run 6.2 miles, but the
                                                                                                        Cross-country skiing was a new                 spectators encouraged the runners, handing
happened to be in America. I mean, even
                                                                                                     experience for me because I come from a           out water and giving free high-fives. I had an
though in my school in Indonesia my major
                                                                                                     country that doesn't have any snow. I saw         extraordinary experience, which I wouldn’t
study is science, I’ve never done a fair.
                                                                                                     real snow for the first time in November.         have had an opportunity to do in Korea. I
                   My project here was to find
                                                                                                        I learned about skiing and racing with my      also learned a lot from the race: to postpone
                   out the effect of nicotine on
                                                                                                     school team. Everyone on the team was very        immediate pleasure for the long-term values.
                   the cell. At first, my
                                                                                                     supportive. I really like the skiing sensation,   It wasn’t just a race against other runners, but
                   teammate and I had no idea
                   how to start the project.       Running to Raise Funds                            especially when you go fast.                      rather, it was a race against me. My host
                                                                                                        The thing that really affected me, though,     mom and I are planning to continue training
                   Then luckily, we found a
                   sponsor, Dr. Yen Thing
                                                   for Polio Vaccines                                was the end of season banquet that happened       every Saturday morning for a half marathon.
                                                      On April 9, I did a torch run to raise funds   on March 1st. The team gave awards for                               Young Kwon (South Korea)
Shiu from the University of Utah. She helped
                                                   for the “End Polio” campaign. Fifty people        what each person did during the season. I got                  Hosted by the De La Flor family
us a lot with the experiment. But then in the
                                                   participated that day, and every single person    an award for helping one of the team                                                 Quinton, VA
middle of the experiment, we had to change
                                                   had sponsors that would donate money - the        members by being her singing buddy at a ski
our project because we didn’t have enough
                                                   amount depending on how many miles were           race event. It touched me because she really
time. We ended up testing the effect of
                                                   run. It was unforgettable because we ran          appreciated the small thing that I did for her,
cytochalasin on the cell. It was so much fun.
                                                   without really noticing that it was snowing. I    even though when I did it, I never really
I could see so many things that I usually just
                                                   was there with the members of my Interact         thought of it that way.
hear from my teacher in the class.
                                                   Club. We raised more than $800.                      Zainab Athiaturrahman Al-Ghazali (Indonesia)
   And yes, we made it! We got the first
                                                              Dian Fahdhila Lestari (Indonesia)                     Hosted by the Orlansky family
place in our school. And because of that, we
                                                                      Hosted by Kergaye family                                      Anchorage, AK
did another one for the state competition.
Each of us got a $1000 scholarship from                                       Salt Lake City, UT
Westminster College and a special award
from The Society for In Vitro Biology.
                                                   An Actress is Born
               Azka Nafirul Hasna (Indonesia)         He's the devil in disguise, Oh! Yes he Is,                                                       Georgian Folk Dancer
                                                   rang the chorus. For my first musical play in
                  Hosted by Halilcevic family
                            Salt Lake City, UT     my life, I had to walk with a walker and dress
                                                                                                                                                       Wows Audience
                                                   up like an old lady. I decided to join the                                                             Even though I did not have my dress with
Soaring with Song                                  drama club this year because I wanted to try
                                                   new things. I’ve never sung or danced in
                                                                                                                                                       me here, I decided to dance in my school’s
                                                                                                                                                       multi-cultural assembly to show an
   March 26 was one of the unforgettable           front of an audience.                                                                               important part of my culture and to let the
days in my life. My host parents’ church held         This show, All Shook Up, presents a story                                                        students know that as small a country as
a Young Women’s General Meeting at the             with Elvis Presley's songs. We had rehearsals                                                       Georgia is, it has a huge, beautiful culture.
place where the Tabernacle Choir sings. As I       for two months. I totally had fun during this                                                          So on the 18th of March, I went on stage
entered the hall for rehearsal, I was              time because I got to know people who I had                                                         with the hope to make my country proud.
astonished by the other beautiful girls sitting    never talked with before. I learned how to                                                          With all my friends there, I was excited and
giving a colorful sight. We had a long             sing and dance and learned how to work with                                                         a little nervous. I tried to make the dance
rehearsal and after lunch break we sat in the      many people that I barely knew.                   An Advocate for Health Care                       interesting by including three different kinds
hall, which had the capacity for 21,000               We put on the show four times. I was so        Sheena Seth took to the podium and spoke to       of Georgian folk dance. Because of all the
people. I could see the audience increasing –                                                        the Oregon governor and senators about the        plaudits that followed, I realized that the
                                                   happy when the audience liked our show and
hundreds then thousands. The other 364 girls                                                         lack of funds for public school health centers.
                                                   clapped so loud in the theater. This was one                                                        audience really liked it.
and I were to sing in front of all of them and                                                       Drawing on her own experience, the Indian
                                                   of my greatest experiences ever. I want to do     YES student cited needing a vaccine, which her
                                                                                                                                                          For the following days, a lot of students
the audience who was watching our                  this again if I can.                                                                                and teachers asked me about my dance and
                                                                                                     school health center was able to provide.
performance by a worldwide broadcast. I felt                        Awasada Binnisoh (Thailand)      Moreover, she explained the critical functions    culture. I was glad to let them know how
powerful, proud and very happy. Somehow, I                          Hosted by the Vasquez family     school based health centers provide, especially   beautiful Georgia and its culture is. I wrote
controlled a tear dropping from my eye. Last                                       Hoquiam, WA       for students who can’t afford insurance.          their names for them in the Georgian and
but not least, the camera zoomed in on me at                                                                                                           Russian languages as well.
the end for few seconds.                            Conference Inspires Teen to Denounce Hate                                                                          Salome Khmaladze (Georgia)
   I felt honored to be part of the choir.              Walt Disney World is where dreams            or religions. Remember we're human                               Hosted by the Schaerrer family
                     Pratima Padghan (India)        comes true. That's exactly right. I never        beings. Unlike animals and plants, we have                                 West Valley City, UT
                   Hosted by the Smith family       considered I’d get to go there, but on           intelligence! So, stop hating each other.
                           Salt Lake City, UT       February 2, I flew from Washington where         Let's unite!
                                                                    it was the freezing winter to        While in the U.S., I have also learned
                                                                    Florida, the Sunshine State. I   the joy of volunteering. So far, I have done
                                                                    went there to join the Better    72 hours of service, mostly preparing food
                                                                    Understanding for a Better       and serving the homeless at the Tri-City
                                                                    World Conference held by         Gospel mission. I usually go on the
                                                                    the Civilization Exchange        weekend and work in the kitchen as a cook.
                                                                    Cooperation Foundation. We       It makes me thank God that I live in a good
                                                    visited a mosque, church and synagogue           house and it inspires me to donate to the
                                                    and learned about Islam, Christianity and        needy.
                                                    Judaism. We broke through stereotypes and            We teenagers are the next leaders of
                                                    built better perceptions and understanding       world. Who knows! One of us could                 Painting Takes Top Award
Shot a Hole in One!                                 of each other.                                   become the president of our country. So,          Yulia Hobriy’s painting of a mountain lion won
Defying the odds in golf, Rachata 'Mek'                 Because of this conference, I will make      let’s “Talk Less! Do More!”                       first place in the Tuscarora Wildlife Education
Sakpuaram (Thailand) hit a hole-in-one for the      presentations about what I learned. I will                    Muhammad Rizki (Indonesia)           Project art contest. “It was my first time trying
Legacy High School Varsity Golf Team in Las         tell the world, Stop disputes! Stop wars just                   Hosted by the Martin family        expressionism,” said Yuliya. The Horst family
Vegas, Nevada. Host parents Melissa and                                                                                                                hosts the Ukrainian FLEX student in
                                                    because you're different ethnicities, races                                 Kennewick, WA
Bryan Thammavongsa couldn’t be prouder!                                                                                                                Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.

                                                                                               Page 3
                                                   Being Part of the Basketball Team
                                                       Yes, basketball! It’s the reason why my       supporters outside the court. We had practice
                                                   exchange year was so awesome! Since I             for two hours a day, six day per week. It was
                                                   played basketball back in my country, I           really hard and physical, but we had a strong
                                                   decided to try out for the women’s basketball     will to become champions!
                                                   team at my school. The tryouts were hard.            We had great team chemistry and every
                                                                           We had to run, dribble    practice was fun, no matter how hard it was.
                                                                           and play for two hours    But things didn’t stop on the court! No, no!
                                                                           every day of the week.    We had team dinners, lunches and
                                                                           I was exhausted! But it   sleepovers. We were like a family. And that
                                                                           was worth it. I was so    contributed to our success! We made second        YES student Alejna Ademi (Macedonia) with
Pure Maple Gold                                                            happy when I saw my       in our league and went to the state               her host mother and sister.
                                                   name on the list. I couldn’t believe it! I made   championship. It was sad when we finished
   Vermont is the largest producer of pure
maple syrup in the U.S. I was curious about
                                                   the varsity team!                                 our last game, but I was glad I made so many      My Host Sister
                                                       The girls on the team were nice and           friends who made my exchange year                    Making the decision to come to America
how to make it and I have been waiting since
                                                   friendly, and we had so much fun together.        unforgettable.                                    was really hard, because I was scared to live
my first month for the maple syrup season.
                                                   The coaches taught us everything there is to                      Emilija Pereska (Macedonia)       with people that I had never met. But now I
   My friend’s family invited me to see how
                                                   know about basketball. They were strict on                   Hosted by the Souza-Smith family       know that this truly is the best thing I have
maple syrup is made at her uncle’s place in
                                                   the court, but they were our friends and                                           Portland, OR     done in my life.
Wilmington. It was so exciting because they
are still making it the traditional way. They                                                                                                             I feel so lucky to be part of my host

                                                                 What We’ll Miss
have about 800 buckets hanging on trees to                                                                                                             family. We love and understand each other.
gather the sap all over the woods. They said                                                                                                           They are the people who supported me
that the sugar maple trees should be 10” in                                                                                                            through my experience. All the holidays have
diameter and it takes 40 years to reach this                                                                                                           been special this year for them too, because
size. We rode horses to help us collect the sap                                                                                                        some were the first time for me.
buckets.                                                                                                                                                  My host sister Leah is the person who I
   After we collected the sap, we boiled the                                                                                                           have fun with all the time. We are the same
sap in the sugarhouse. We needed 40 gallons                                                                                                            age and we are always doing something fun
of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup and it                                                                                                          and crazy together. I love her. She is an
had to be the right temperature. When we see                                                                                                           amazing sister.
how hard it is to grow the trees for 40 years,                                                                                                            Every day when I get up I know that
collect the sap, and boil it, we can realize                                                                                                           something new and fun is waiting for me. I
why pure maple syrup is so expensive. But                                                                                                              am more mature now and I feel more
when you taste it, you realize that all the                                                                                                            confident and independent.
work is worth it.                                                                                                                                         I will miss a lot of things, especially my
            Gianita Puspita Dewi (Indonesia)                                                                                                           host family, but they promised to visit me in
                 Hosted by the Abbott family                                                                                                           Macedonia.
                                  Jamaica, VT                                                                                                                            Alejna Ademi (Macedonia)
                                                                                                                                                                        Hosted by the Bower family
                                                                                                                                                                                   Williamsport, PA
Small Town Life
    People who once were foreign exchange
students all tell you the same. Enjoy every
day because it's going to go by fast! I look
               back and see that eight months
               did go by fast! I met so many
               wonderful people that'll be a
                                                   Sleepovers with Pizza and Ice Cream
                                                   Olena Vyshnevska (Ukraine), Aydana Rakhimbayeva (Kazakhstan) and Rahmadani
               part of my life forever, I got
                                                   Cahyaningtyas (Indonesia) say that they’ll miss their all night gatherings in Fort Collins,
               experiences that'll help me get     Colorado.
               through life, and I had fun
               every day as never before.
    My American life is so different from the      Bowling in My Dress                                                                                 Creature Comforts
Swiss one. One thing I really like here is the         I'll never forget prom. I had my first prom                                                     Giorgia Mazzanti (Italy) and Francoise
school system. Sports are so important here.       ever and it was awesome! It was so fun                                                              Bouffioux (Belgium) don raccoon hats. The two
I played softball in the fall, basketball in the   because I went bowling afterwards with my                                                           live with the St. John family in San Luis
winter, and now I'm doing track. That means        prom dress on. That is not easy! It was my                                                          Obispo, California.
I'm busy every day after school. That is one       first time at a dance.
of the many things I'm going to miss.                  I will also miss American culture where                                                         Shepherd’s Pie
    I'm super excited for the time that's still    we throw out our own trash after we eat,
left. There's going to be things like Choir        especially at fast food restaurants. Back                                                           and Cheddar Cheese
State that are going to make life more             home, the waiters usually clean up our            irreplaceable. My host mother inspired me a           Some aspects of the American culture that
exciting, but also the small town life here that   dishes. I will miss the moving class system       lot and made me understand so much. She           I will miss include the foods, specifically
I like more and more every day.                    since classes in my school system back home       made me realize how every parent loves their      shepherd's pie and cheddar cheese on almost
                 Marilen Zosso (Switzerland)       just stay in the same room and let the            children no matter what.                          anything! I will also miss playing in the
            Hosted by the VanWagner family         teachers move.                                                    Floriana Kukuh (Indonesia)        snow, skiing, school dances and going out
                                   Seneca, MO          I will miss everything I did here! My                          Hosted by the Ariail family      with friends.
                                                   family was always wonderful and                                                  Ashland, AL            It has been a long and
                                                                                                                                                       bumpy road, but there were
                                                                                                        My Favorite Things                             roses on the way. Though I
                                                                                                                                                       started out on a wrong foot,
                                                                                                       Always smiling and polite American people,
                                                                                                                                                       I am glad I went through
                                                                                                              American birthday parties,
                                                                                                                                                       that phase because I am
                                                                                                           Hamburgers, pizza, chili, cookies
                                                                                                                                                       stronger and wiser now. I
                                                                                                                   & ranch dressing,
                                                                                                                                                       have learned a ton of life skills and values.
                                                                                                              Huge holiday sales in stores,
                                                                                                                                                       These include how to handle situations
                                                                                                                 The ice tea “Arizona”,
                                                                                                                                                       independently with patience and tolerance.
                                                                                                           Volunteering and helping people,
                                                                                                                                                           By joining the school dance team and
                                                                                                          Learning Spanish and getting 100%,
                                                                                                                                                       aerobics class, I became physically active
                                                                                                          School dances (can’t wait for prom),
                                                                                                                                                       and flexible. I have had the best times of my
                                                                                                          American football and cheerleading,
                                                                                                                                                       year in these two activities.
                                                                                                                  Yellow school buses,
                                                                                                                                                           The most influential person during my
                                                                                                      The American flag and American patriotism,
                                                                                                                                                       stay was my dance teacher, Mrs. Kim
                                                                                                       The International Club in our school where
                                                                                                                                                       Rowley, who I commonly refer to as "ma".
                                                                                                       Americans come to try our national foods,
                                                                                                                                                       She taught me to believe in positive change
                                                                                                          How everybody is so nice to me here,
                                                                                                                                                       and know there's always a way out of every
                                                                                                     Watching movies in English without translation,
                                                                                                                                                       life storm. Along with her two daughters who
                                                                                                     My lovely family Linda and David Chapman to
                                                                                                                                                       also teach dance, they have helped me grow
                                                                                                     whom I am grateful for all their love and care,
                                                                                                                                                       both as a dancer and as a teenager. Like she
                                                                                                     The exchange students that I met here and will
                                                                                                                                                       once said, "no one else can pull you down
                                                                                                       remember forever: Irina Klimova (Russia),
                                                                                                                                                       unless you allow it" and "pain is weakness
                                                                                                         Metehan Doyran (Turkey), Alex Vlasin
Snow, Snow and More Snow                                                                              (Ukraine) and Gaiz Hatta Sahi (Philippines).
                                                                                                                                                       leaving the body." These are just a few
They will miss snow days, too! Pictured after tubing at Brian Head Ski Resort in Utah are Jakob                                                        lessons I have learned from her.
Traxler (Germany), Haykuhi Harutyunyan (Armenia), Nattaya Tasawat (Thailand), Manuela                                    Elina Khusnullina (Russia)            Lorraine Nguku Mwakiringo (Kenya)
Flores (Spain), Dorothee Nyga (Germany), Thita Tunlayadechanont (Thailand), Hannah                                    Hosted by the Chapman family                    Hosted by the Almgren family
Meckling (Germany), Leire Irastorza (Spain), Elena Lledo (Spain) and Jon Ostolazo (Spain).                                             Orange, MA                                        Warner, NH

                                                                                              Page 4
                                                                                                                                                   Finding Ourselves
                                                             America Up Close                                                                      Amidst the Adventure
                                                                                                                                                       Every day is like a small adventure for
                                                                                                                                                   me. I've seen a lot of beautiful places. For
                                                                                                                                                   example, my host mom, friend Klara and I
                                                                                                                                                   went to Washington, DC. I don’t have
                                                                                                                                                   enough words to describe how wonderful
                                                                                                                                                   that place is! I fell in love with the
                                                                                                                                                   architecture of the Library of Congress. We
                                                                                                                                                   were lucky to be in DC when the cherry
Massachusetts Madness                                                                                                                              blossoms were in bloom.
Getting crazy are Irina Klimova (Russia), PAX                                                                                                          One day my host dad and I went to the
Regional Director Lena Adely, Alex Vlasin                                                                                                          Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
(Ukraine), Elina Khusnullina (Russia) and                                                                                                          near Cleveland. I saw famous people's
Gaiz Hatta Sahi (Philippines).                                                                                                                     costumes, instruments, cars and other
                                                                                                                                                   personal things. That day my goal was to find
Life in the Heartland                                                                                                                              Michael Jackson's glove! Eventually I found
    The thing I will miss the most is my                                                                                                           it. I felt joy, and on the other hand sadness,
family, school and friends. I liked my school                                                                                                      because he is gone.
because I made a lot of good friends and the                                                                                                           This year I'm learning so many things.
teachers are really nice. They usually asked                                                                                                       I've matured, become more responsible and
me if I needed help in my studying.                                                                                                                learned to budget my money. I've realized
    I went to Arizona, Florida, Minnesota,                                                                                                         how much my family means to me, and what
Illinois and Wisconsin. I had a lot of fun.                                                                                                        it's like to be so far away from home.
When I went to Arizona with my family, we                                                                                                              Thank you for giving us students this
stopped at the Grand Canyon. They thought                                                                                                          amazing opportunity to get to know more
it was funny when I told them it was a                                                                                                             about American culture, and also not less
dangerous trip.                                                                                                                                    important, to find ourselves, to figure out
                       Dolagy Khalil (Egypt)                                                                                                       who we really are and what we can do to
                Hosted by the Russell family      Russian FLEX students Anastasiya Gunko and Olga Magneyeva at the Supreme Court.                  achieve our goals.
                           Mount Vernon, IA                                                                                                                         Amina Sugirova (Kazakhstan)
                                                  An Education in Civic Life                                                                                        Hosted by the Newman family
                                                                                                                                                                                      Akron, OH
Thankful to Many                                     One of the most exciting events I've          Congresswoman Jane Harman talked to us.
    I feel that I gained a lot of wisdom during   experienced in the U.S. was the Civic               Moreover, we had a chance to attend an
this year, and I learned a lot about people.      Education Workshop in Washington, DC.            NBA basketball game, the Newseum, a
But the most important thing I learned is to      This weeklong March workshop was                 number of famous memorials, the Museums
be thankful and appreciative of the people        organized for the winners of an essay            of American and Natural History, and the
who surround me. One year                         competition.                                     Holocaust Museum.
away from my family in                               The event was aimed to educate FLEX              At the end of our workshop we had a
Kyrgyzstan showed me how                          students about democracy, politics and           party at a penthouse that had a wall of glass
appreciative of them I                            international relations. We went to Capitol      opening onto a breathtaking view of
should be. And now it’s time                      Hill, had business meetings with the senators    Washington.
for me to thank my host                           of our states, discussed current issues at the      Our workshop was so full of different
family once more for letting                      Department of State with Assistant Secretary     exciting events that it is hard even to list
me experience a real American family life. I      of State Ann Stock, had a seminar about civil    them all. I'm extremely thankful to the         Discovering Colorado
know now how happy I should be for                rights with Dr. Frank Smith, visited the         American Councils and especially to Tim            Oh no, not this, no, please, not
everything happening in my life, no matter if     American Councils office to talk about           Hair, who organized such an outstanding         this can make it, yes you can
it is good or bad, because all of these things    democracy in the U.S. and Eurasia with Dr.       event.                                          Nika...oh no! Deep sigh. Yeah, I made it!
teach you a lesson in the end.                    Robert Herman. What’s more, we                                    Anastasiya Gunko (Russia)      Oops, here goes another rock...
                  Meerim Ibraeva (Kyrgyzstan)     participated in the National TV News                              Hosted by the Jones family        This was the conversation I had with
                  Hosted by the Merrick family    program recorded at the Woodrow Wilson                                       Chattanooga, TN     myself while mountain hiking in Moab.
                             West Richland, WA    International Center for Scholars, where                                                         Although we chose the “easy” path, it didn’t
                                                                                                                                                   seem that way. But it was so much fun.
A Year of Exchange                                                                                                                                    This all happened during spring break
                                                                                                                                                   when my host family took us on a vacation to
    The dictionary meaning of exchange “is
                                                                                                                                                   explore northern Colorado. On the first day
an act of giving one thing and receiving
                                                                                                                                                   we visited the Air Force Academy and the
another.” When we say exchange, we think
                                                                                                                                                   caves. The next day we went to sand dunes,
of exchanging a shirt or a book with a friend.
                                                                                                                                                   my host relative’s house and a soak in the hot
However, I have exchanged one year of my
                                                                                                                                                   springs. We visited Mesa Verde and saw how
life. I have exchanged my country, culture,
                                                                                                                                                   the Native Americans lived in the mountains.
language and many other things.
                                                                                                                                                   Moreover, we had fun jumping from one
    At first, the word “exchange” meant fear
                                                                                                                                                   state to another at the “Four Corners” site. I
to me. Once I figured out I was really going
                                                                                                                                                   was in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New
to go to another country, I was scared. I felt
                                                                                                                                                   Mexico at the same time. The following day
like a little baby who didn't want to leave her
                                                                                                                                                   we reached the Grand Canyon. Well, it’s
mother. I cried like one, too.
                                                                                                                                                   grand indeed! I was afraid to look down.
    For the first two months, the fear was all
                                                                                                                                                      I want to express great appreciation to my
around me. I thought about going back to my
                                                                                                                                                   host family. I value all the effort that they put
country every single day. I didn't blame
                                                                                                                                                   into this trip. I am grateful that I have such
anyone. It was my choice to be here.
                                                                                                                                                   wonderful parents and sisters.
    Some say time is the cure for anything.
                                                                                                                                                               Veronika Ponomarenko (Ukraine)
Now I believe that. When I made friends, I
                                                                                                                                                                     Hosted by the Horton family
started getting over my problems.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fort Collins, CO
    I met wonderful people and added great         Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin with YES students John Asigbekye (Ghana), Gianita
memories by exchanging a little time in my         Puspita Dewi (Indonesia), Natasha Arif (Thailand), Hasna Alfitra (Indonesia), Cluster Leader
life. For example, the first time it snowed        Ann Newsmith and Arjeta Rushiti (Macedonia).
here was my first snow! I ran outside in my
pajamas, grabbed handfuls of snow and              An Open and Accessible Government
threw them on my sleeping host sister.                On April 5th, YES students from the          about the nuclear power plant, health
    Another memory is when I told my               Brattleboro area went to visit the Vermont      insurance and leadership.
coordinator that I did ballet, and she said she    State House. It was so exciting for us to see       For Governor Shumlin, a leader is one
knew of a class. When I got there, many old        how the government runs the state.              who has courage, honesty and listens to
ladies started coming in. I asked her if she       Everything is so open, and everyone can         others. He also said that there are two kinds
was sure the class was for ballet. She said it     come. We went into the senate room and          of leaders: the one who wants to be a leader
was belly dancing! Because of my accent,           the representatives room where they were        because of his ego, and the one who wants       Where the Civil War Began
she thought I had said “belly”. For the next       discussing proposed laws. I was surprised       to make a better world.                         These students visited Fort Sumter, South
six weeks I went to it and it was really fun to                                                                                                    Carolina where the first shots of the American
                                                   that we could come in and listen.                   We are so lucky in Vermont because our
watch the ladies belly dance.                                                                                                                      Civil War took place. Pictured are: Sonya
                                                      It was our pleasure to get a chance to       government is easily accessible to
                                                                                                                                                   Hakobyan (Armenia), Felipe da Silva (Brazil),
    I am sure the word "exchange" is going to      meet Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont.         everyone.                                       Emilio Alanis Gutierrez (Mexico), Chia Yen
make me smile whenever I think of it.              He is so friendly, down to earth, and so                  Gianita Puspita Dewi (Indonesia)      Gan (Malaysia), Omar Al Nabati (Saudi
                      Sonmez Guney (Turkey)        amazing. He was able to spend his time                          Hosted by the Abbott family     Arabia), Zeba Mansuri (India), Tatjana
                Hosted by the Hamilton family      with us. We asked him some questions                                             Jamaica, VT    Brestovac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and
                                  Hanover, IN                                                                                                      FLEX/YES Cluster Leader Tracy Bolin.

                                                                                             Page 5
 The Key to My New Found Confidence
    The most important thing that I have           The students listened very carefully. I could     front of the whole school in the auditorium.
 gained from this experience is my                 hear their reactions: “What?” “Oh my God,         I wasn’t afraid at all! I was excited about it
 confidence. I realized that you must have no      really?” “WOW!” “You’ve got to be kidding         and looked forward it.
 fear to express yourself and feel confident       me!” “Russia is awesome!” and so on. Then            Now I feel free to ask questions, not only
 and free to say, “I’m different and I have my     they asked me a lot of questions about            in school, but also in any store, restaurant or
 own opinion.” In America, the country             Russian schools, teenagers and the many           to a stranger on the street. Some would think
 where everybody is so different and               stereotypes that I talked about and their         that it’s because of my better English. But I
 original, people respect your points of view      impact on both nations.                           say that it’s because of my new confidence
 and attitude.                                        After that, I wanted to do more                and realization that you can’t wait until your
    At my school I felt different at first just    presentations in my classes. It really helped     fear disappears. It will never happen. You
 because I’m from a different country. I was       start conversations with many students.           must feel scared and keep going on, speak if
 nervous that people wouldn’t be interested        Later they would ask me: “What do you like        needed, disagree, think different and be
 in my culture and me. When I began to             about America the best?” or “Are our              yourself.
 understand and use English better, I felt         countries really so different?”                                     Zarina Tuybayeva (Russia)
 freer, but still shy.                                This spring my local coordinator took me                     Hosted by the Whittaker family
    Then came the day when I made my first         to Columbus International School to talk                                        Westerville, OH     FLEX student Zarina with her journalism
 homeland presentation in government class.        about stereotypes and Russian culture in                                                            teacher after she made a presentation.

                                                            What I’ve Gained...                                                                        Ways to Delete the Wall
                                                                                                                                                       Between People with
                                                     Home Away from Home                             Independence in                                   Disabilities and Society
                                                                                                                                                          Recently I went to a birthday party that
                                                            From all around the globe                Big Ways and Small                                was celebrated at “Morgan’s Wonderland”, a
                                                       with determination and fervent hope
                                                                 we seek to see                         I have learned so many things from this        fun park designed specifically for children
                                                          how sweet Uncle Sam can be.                experience and my host family. Some are           and adults with special needs, as well as the
Filipino YES student Muhammad, Principal                                                             simple things like laundry, chopping              larger community. They had a lot of cool
                                                             As we arrived ashore
Dave Reif and Russian Yuliya Puptseva.                     nameless of what’s in store               vegetables and fixing lunch for school. When      stuff to do: a train trip through the park,
                                                     you know what’s always been our goal?           I was in India, my mom used to do these           playgrounds, rides, interactive exhibits,
Long Lasting Friendships                               To have fun and enlighten our soul.           things for me, but now I feel a sense of          gardens, an amphitheatre and a fishing lake.
   In school, we learn things and then take a        Surely, though obstacles come our way           independence and confidence from doing my         I enjoyed every minute there, seeing kids and
test. But in life, we go through a trial and              life tries to keep us laid away            own work. My English speaking skills have         parents so happy! By sharing my experience
learn things from it. During my year, I have                  man determines his fate                definitely improved. It feels good that I can     here at this park with my country, I hope I too
learned many things that are not easy to learn         as surely as a key unlocks a gate.            share all my thoughts with my host family         can help delete the “wall of difference” that
at school. These skills are so important for          Leaving our friends and family behind          and that they trust me. The one thing that I      stands between people with disabilities and
the rest of my life.                                   our lives get more and more refined           will miss the most when I return to India is      society.
   I have learned to be independent, which                  no matter how far we roam                American food. When I first came, I hated                                Elena Ionita (Moldova)
                                                      we are always home away from home.
means I can decide things on my own. When                                                            bland food. Then, I started tasting new foods.                       Hosted by the Grant family
I was in the Philippines, I always consulted                            John Asigbekye (Ghana)       Now I love cheese.                                                             San Antonio, TX
my parents and asked for their approval.                       Hosted by the Payne-Meyer family                                Sheena Seth (India)
   And one of the most important things I’ve
                                                                                    Putney, VT
                                                                                                                           Hosted by Uttke family      A New Attitude
gained is long lasting friendships with people                                                                                         Portland, OR
                                                                                                                                                          How did I change? First, the U.S. gave me
with unlike backgrounds. Good friends are of
no cost in terms of money, but it takes time to
                                                                                                     Grownup Now                                       more determination. Having met lots of
                                                                                                                                                       extraordinary people, I have a huge desire to
develop strong bonding.                                                                                  Being in the United States helped me a lot
                                                                                                                                                       achieve my goals. One of them is to create a
              Muhammad Haidar Midtimbang                                                             with the experience of being separated from
                                                                                                                                                       volunteer club at my school. My first project
                 Hosted by the Kriebel family                                                        my parents. It has also helped me to feel
                                                                                                                                                       back home will be to help orphanages.
                                Brookston, IN                                                        grownup. There were a lot of funny
                                                                                                                                                          Secondly, I am confident, optimistic and
                                                                                                     moments, especially with my host family.
Big Dreams Realized                                                                                                                                    flexible. I have changed
                                                                                                     School is super cool, and I have a lot of
                                                                                                                                                       mostly because of the
    Since I was a baby, I dreamed to see New      FLEX students Anastasiya Okuneva (Russia)
                                                                                                     friends. I’ve also had hard times here, but
                                                                                                                                                       Americans I’ve met, like
York City with my own eyes. I did so on a         and Roman Kohut (Ukraine).                         nothing is perfect so don’t give up. You just
                                                                                                                                                       my host mom who is a very
BeloUsa trip. I felt like I was in a movie                                                           have to face those problems and defeat them.
when I was in Times Square at night. Big          Preparation to Be                                                  Kamilla Iltabaeva (Tajikistan)
                                                                                                                                                       successful communicator.
                                                                                                                                                          My high school gave me
lights, crowded streets, yellow taxis. I met                                                                          Hosted by the Crouch family
many friends from all over the world, whom
                                                  a Future Leader                                                                    Lebanon, MO
                                                                                                                                                       the feeling of the diverse
                                                                                                                                                       American “melting pot”.
I love and am going to miss very much. Then           Students of all backgrounds gathered in
                                                                                                                                                       New friends helped me see that pluralism is
we went to Washington, DC, a wonderful,           Orlando, Florida on February 2-6 for the
                                                                                                                                                       the American key to success.
charming place where you are surrounded           Better Understanding for a Better World
                                                                                                                                                          When I was in Washington, DC as a
with the history of this great country. I was     Conference. There were 70 participants from
                                                                                                                                                       participant at the FLEX Civic Education
lucky to be there during the cherry blossom       32 different countries. At first, it seemed like
                                                                                                                                                       Workshop, our motto was “Out of Many-
time and fell in love with the Capital City.      we all were so different, but after we got to
                                                                                                                                                       ONE!” I would like to apply this concept to
    This year gave me more than all my            know each other, everyone realized how
                                                                                                                                                       our world. We may come from different
previous years have given. I’ve lived a U.S.      many things we have in common!
                                                                                                                                                       backgrounds, but we want common things:
teenager’s life, become more independent,             The next day we went to the Disney Epcot
                                                                                                                                                       the desire to be happy, to live our lives and be
and met life friends. I now have the sister I     Park. It has pavilions where you can find          A World of Family                                 successful.
always wanted. PAX taught me to be the            shops and restaurants representing eleven          Utah Cluster Leader Jamie Paskins’s kids love        This exchange year gave me a priceless
change I want to see in the world! It gave me     countries. The workers in each pavilion are        hanging out with Gertrude Barfi (Ghana),
                                                                                                                                                       opportunity to see the world from another
a clear image of community, and how               natives of that country. In Epcot we learned       Dian Lestari (Indonesia), Azka Nafirul Hasna
                                                                                                     (Indonesia), Salome Khmaladze (Georgia) and
                                                                                                                                                       perspective. As a result, the “new me” is
important our actions are to it. I experienced    that sharing our culture makes our
                                                                                                     Pratima Padghan (India).                          more aware of life in different countries and
democracy in the U.S., and I want my              friendships stronger.
                                                                                                                                                       more concerned about world events.
country to reach the same level one day.              Later we tasted Coca-Cola from all over
                  Lela Okromelidze (Georgia)      the world. In different countries it tastes        Lessons Beyond 2+2                                                    Olga Magneyeva (Russia)
                                                                                                                                                                  Hosted by the Green-Storm family
                Hosted by McDonnell family        different because the company makes it taste          Teachers teach you how the human body
                                                                                                                                                                                         Portland, OR
                                 Portland, OR     similar to the food in that country.               works, what is 2+2, when a country invaded
                                                      This conference, an attempt to unite all of    another, but your exchange teaches you
                                                  us, gave us hope for a better tomorrow.            about yourself, people and how to solve
                                                  Someone said, “Exchange students can do            problems. If it were not for PAX, I wouldn’t
                                                  something politicians can’t do. We can share       know those things and these:
                                                  our country with people and help them                 - The two magic words essential to
                                                  understand us.”                                    everyday life: thank you and please.
                                                      My friend Ahmed from Egypt described              - Cereal is for breakfast, lunch and night.
                                                  our conference as great times with great              - Flip flops with socks, people in jammies
                                                  people, and added, “If you ever go to Egypt,       walking in public, burping loud (but saying
Pure Glee in Idaho                                know that you have a family there.” Othman         excuse me if you are polite)
This year, Nele Disselkamp (Germany)
                                                  from Saudi Arabia said, “I wouldn’t call you          - People not honking while driving here.
performed with the Trouveres Show Choir and       friends, I would call you family.”                 Drivers communicate via horns in Turkey.
even went on tour to Las Vegas and Los                My biggest dream is to initiate changes           - EVERYTHING being just $1 in Dollar           A Hundred Friends
Angeles. “We are a big singing family! I’ve       for the better. I think it’s possible because      Tree. We have the same kind of stores in          Check out Arisa Chaisiri’s slide show
been able to get better at what I love most,      today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow.         Turkey but almost everything costs more.          ( It
singing, and meet amazing, talented people                             Roman Kohut (Ukraine)                               Ozge Demirci (Turkey)       is clear that laughter and good times reigned
with the same interests.” She sends her thanks                      Hosted by the Blunt family                        Hosted by the Servin family      during the Thai student’s year with the
to her hosts, the Dunn family.                                                                                                                         Stockwell family in Provo, Utah.
                                                                             Lee’s Summit, MO                                         Portland, OR
                                                                                               Page 6
Congrats to PAX Goes GREEN Winner Raquel Pujadas Rach
(Spain) and Second Place Winner Ade Uktubara (Indonesia)
Spearheaded Recycling
   After realizing that her high school
created mountains of trash every day, PAX
Goes GREEN first place winner Raquel
Pujadas Rach (Spain) and a friend went to
their principal with a plan to institute a
recycling program in the school cafeteria.
With his support, they spoke to the faculty,
staff and student body to build momentum
for their plan. Then, the team taught students
how to recycle by going table to table with
moveable bins in tow, explaining how to
separate lunch refuse into paper, plastic and
organic receptacles. “Changes are hard,”
Raquel, on the right, explained. With dogged                                                                                                         Green Can Be Glamorous
determination, the pair turned around student
                                                                                                                                                     Ade Uktubara found a new use for old bottle
objections. By Earth Day, their dream was a
                                                                                                                                                     caps and plastic bags: a party dress! At a
reality. Not only had they reduced the
                                                                                                                                                     fashion show, the crowd loved it. So does
amount of trash produced at Mount Vernon
                                                                                                                                                     PAX who awarded the young designer the
High School, they inspired students to start
                                                                                                                                                     PAX Goes GREEN contest second place
recycling at home. PAX is proud to award
                                                                                                                                                     prize, a $75 gift card. The Clay family hosts
Raquel with a $100 gift card. The Straus
                                                                                                                                                     the Indonesian YES student in Lynden,
family hosts her in Mount Vernon,

   Should we wait for Superman to rescue         joined a group from Western Washington            friends in Virginia and her homeland,             more with their poster campaign and
the environment? This year’s PAX students        University to help preserve Sucia Island in       Indonesia.                                        presentations. They urged people not to be
say “no”. Like the PAX Goes Green contest        Washington State. “We did volunteer                                                                 passive environmentalists, but to be “Earth
winners above, these young people stepped        projects such as planting Garry oak trees,        Composting is Easy                                Warriors”.
up to the plate to influence their communities   pulling out ivy, painting the restrooms and       What’s to be done with fallen leaves, weeds,
to be trustees of the Earth we share.            cleaning the trails. I realized how important     grass clippings, kitchen waste and horse
                                                 it is to take care of nature.”                    manure? In Oregon, Irvan Fathurohman
Changing Attitudes                                                                                 (Indonesia) made a step-by-step video of
This winter Artur Pak (Kazakhstan) put                                                             how organic materials like these can be
together a persuasive video full of climate                                                        turned into dirt with a composting unit.
change facts for his Wisconsin classmates.
Then he challenged them, “What are you                                                             Go on a Carbon Fast
doing today to live better tomorrow?” The                                                          Meanwhile in Missouri, Roman Kohut
video outlines solutions that have been                                                            (Ukraine) prompted his fellow students to go
                                                                                                                                                     Earth Day activists: Danijel Buzov (Bosnia and
already developed such as electric plants                                                          on a “carbon fast” with a list a changes they     Herzegovina), Luqman Ramli (Malaysia),
powered by the Earth’s heat and technology                                                         can make in their every day lives. One            Turki Alghamdi (Saudi Arabia), Evelina
that harnesses the energy of ocean waves.                                                          example is walking to get to places. Alina        Ibrayimova (Ukraine) and Narawadee Rose
However, the FLEX student says, “to live                                                           Zestrea (Moldova) thought of this lifestyle       Omanee (Thailand).
better tomorrow, people must be motivated                                                          change, too. When she realized she could
                                                 It’s in the Bag in South Dakota                   reduce her daily carbon output with this          Making the Most of Earth Day
to implement these solutions now.”
                                                 To do her share to take care of the planet,       simple act, Alina started walking home from       On April 22 the alarm clocks went off at 4
                                                 Lela Merabishvili (Georgia) crocheted a           her California school instead of getting rides.   a.m. for Coordinator Natalie Saltmarsh’s
                                                 reusable tote bag out of plastic bags. “People    The FLEX student went on to organize her          students in Gainesville, Florida. By 5 o’clock
                                                 I knew brought me plastic bags so that the        fellow biology class students and teacher to      the students were baking bread and cooking
                                                 bag would be more colorful and diverse,” she      do a beach clean up one weekend.                  eggs for day laborers. After they served a
                                                 said. The FLEX student learned to crochet                                                           sunrise breakfast, the cluster went for a
                                                 the bags from a YouTube video.                                                                      nature walk before starting their other big
                                                                                                                                                     project for the day: moving truckloads of
                                                 Art with Conscience                                                                                 organic soil for the installation of a garden at
                                                 Aiperi Iusupova (Kyrgyzstan) became                                                                 the Reichert House Youth Academy.
                                                 interested in creating art after her Virginia
                                                 hosts, the Moriarty family, encouraged her to                                                       Dig This Tradition
South Korean Seongjae Hong, host father John                                                                                                         Since its inception over forty years ago,
Candalino and friends.                           do something with some sticks they had
                                                 collected together. After she made a table, the                                                     Earth Day participants have planted
Giving Nature a Hand                             FLEX student moved on to using manmade                                                              seedlings to mark the day. This year Roman
During spring break in Hawaii, Seongjae          materials as a way of recycling. Her                                                                Kohut (Ukraine) planted Colorado spruce
Hong spent a day digging out invasive weeds      creations include a lamp made out of wine         FLEX student Nurzat Rakhmanberdieva               and red bud trees on his host family’s
that were threatening an organic farm. The       bottles and a frame using wine corks.             (Kyrgyzstan) with elementary students.            property in Missouri. Pratima Padghan
South Korean teen said, “Our volunteer                                                                                                               (India) chose sunflowers for her Salt Lake
                                                 From Junk to Jewelry                              Be an Earth Warrior                               City, Utah garden. Perhaps they will do the
efforts on behalf of Maui’s fragile natural
                                                 Like Aiperi, Indah Mahendra likes to rescue       On St. Patrick’s Day in Central Wisconsin,        same next year, but in their homelands!
environment made a difference for a place
                                                 items from going into the trash. She              Pussakon Phuthongdee (Thailand), Nurzat                      _____________________
we love!”
                                                 enameled soda can tabs and then wove them         Rakhmanberdieva (Kyrgyzstan) and Sofia
Ade Uktubara also used her muscles for                                                                                                               PAX congratulates all of the students who went
                                                 together into gorgeous bracelets for her          Furlan (Italy) made the color green mean
Mother Earth. The Indonesian YES student                                                                                                             green this year. Keep up the great work!

                                                 Science Scholar                                                                                     Dancing with the Stars
                                                    Congratulations to Jon Ostolaza from                                                                 At home I enjoyed dancing, but I couldn’t
                                                 Spain who has been awarded an Energy                                                                find anything similar in Searcy, so I decided
                                                 Solutions Scholarship. This scholarship is                                                          to start a dancing
                                                 given to students who display an interest in                                                        class. As my own
                                                 and aptitude for math and science. In order to                                                      little community
                                                 apply, Jon had to submit his current and past                                                       service project, I
                                                 grades, obtain letters of recommendation                                                            taught teachers and
PAX Students Recognized                          from two teachers and write an essay. The                                                           students basic steps
Members of the Williamsport School Board         scholarship provides $2000 toward tuition at                                                        three times a week.
commend Alejna Ademi (Macedonia), Katrine        the university of his choice. Six schools,                                                          The most important
Hansen (Denmark), Maulida Herradiyanti           including the University of Utah and              Riding High in Nevada                             part was that we had a lot of fun and I got the
(Indonsesia), Muhammetgeldi Kurtgeldiyev         Brigham Young University agreed to provide        Bohan Wang (China), Seongjae Hong (South          opportunity to do something I really love -
(Turkmenistan), Shahen Mailyan (Armenia)         matching funds. Jon plans to attain a degree      Korea), Annabell Waldmann (Germany),              dance.
and Artyom Solodovnikov (Kazakhstan).                                                              Coordinator Margaret Hoppe and Yuri                      Ajla Omerbasic (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
                                                 in chemical engineering. His host family,
Pennsylvania Coordinator Ann Swift also                                                            Ichinose (Japan) saddled up with host family
                                                 Paul and Janet Doxey of Saint George, Utah                                                                              Hosted by Reaper family
reports that Shahen was selected as the March                                                      members for a trail ride. For some, it was the
student of the month.                            are extremely proud of his accomplishment.        first time on a horse.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Searcy, AR

                                                                                             Page 7
      SHARE                                                                                                   GAIN THE
      YOUR                                                                                                    With over 20 years of
                                                                                                              experience, PAX works

                                                                                                              exclusively with high school
                                                                                                              exchange. PAX students speak
                                                                                                              English, and have personal
                                                                                                              spending money and insurance.

                    To learn about hosting, call PAX at 800-555-6211 or visit

                                                Found Balance and Love
                                                   This exchange year is the best year I've             My little brother Harrison is a boy who
                                                had in my eighteen years of life.                   loves to kiss others to show his love. At first
                                                   As the only child in my family in China,         I couldn’t get used to him, but now I’ve           What’s Cooking?
                                                the most important thing for me to do was to        become "addicted" to his kisses. My big            In Ohio, host sister Adele Hardwick, Paula
                                                study hard. However, in America, I learned          brother Ben taught me to take everything           Fagundes (Brazil) and Morlin Steffens
                                                how to find the balance between studying            easy and enjoy life’s adventures. My little        (Germany) prepared a feast to raise money for
                                                                                                                                                       the Ethiopia Kids Culture Camp.
                                                and playing. In other words, I learned how to       sister Ken is the cutest little child with the
                                                be a human instead of a studying machine.           sweetest smiles. I learned how to be a good
                                                   My American parents are so amazingly             elder sister and a good future mother from
                                                perfect for me that I feel I am their child who     her. When she hugs me, I can feel a strong
Host mom Arabella Awad and FLEX student         has been lost in other places for several           love from her.
Rima Beridze (Georgia).                         years. I enjoyed being a kid to them and                I found true happiness in America. I had
                                                learned that I don't need to be perfect as long     great experiences as a carpenter, gardener,
Reveling in Family Life                         as I try my best.                                   "shepherdess", cook and so on. I learned how
   I have an amazing host family! I have four      I learned even more from my elder sister         to show love and warmth. I learned to laugh
beautiful host sisters: Amira (20), Ariana      Jess. She is a girl who looks on the positive       and keep a positive attitude. The most
(18), Alayna (7) and Amaya (1) and our little   side of life, who loves to give to others, listen   important thing I gained is an American
dog Roxy. Our culture is really mixed. My       and makes me warm all the time.                     family who loves me and whom I love.
host mom, Arabella, is from Peru and my         Additionally, I learned from her how to find                                     Suqi Liu (China)
host dad, Samir, is from Brazil.                healthy food in America!                                              Hosted by the Fuller family      Our Indonesian Son
   Arabella is an awesome person. She is                                                                                            Highland, UT          Muhammad Rizki came to live with us
like my natural mom. We talk about                                                                                                                     this last August and is going to Kennewick
everything, and thanks to her, I never felt     Brought Us Smiles                                                                                      High School. He has enjoyed football, drama
homesick, ever. She cooks the most delicious       Natthapat has taken every opportunity he                                                            class and has brought home straight “A’s” in
and healthy foods. Samir, too. He is the        has had to experience American life this year.                                                         his classes. After writing an essay for PAX,
funniest person I’ve ever met. With them I’m    He has traveled with us to places like Death                                                           he won a trip to Disney World. His mother in
never bored, especially with Amaya and          Valley, enjoyed extended family gatherings,                                                            Indonesia must be so proud of her son. I
Alayna around. I play hide and seek with        has been involved with sports and                                                                      know I am proud of his accomplishments
them all the time. I love them.                                   extracurricular activities at                                                        here in America.
   Each day I look forward to hanging out                         school, and has experienced                                                             Rizki is trying to earn a hundred hours of
with my host family and spending some time                        many firsts. His usual                                                               community service. He is eager to learn all
together, watching TV, talking about our day                      response is, "I want to do                                                           that America has to offer and takes pictures
or having dinner. They are the best.                              that!" Seeing a young man                                                            of everything, so that he will not forget even
                      Rima Beridze (Georgia)                      experience his first snow,                                                           ONE of his experiences!
                  Hosted by the Awad family                       his first Christmas, his first                                                          Rizki loves to make rice and I enjoy it
                                 Powell, OH                       camping, and much more
                                                                                                    Young Ambssadors                                   every time. Our family has never eaten so
                                                has been a gift to us. He manages to embrace        YES students Eunice Martinho Amisse                much rice in all our lives as we have since
                                                                                                    (Mozambique) and Salamatu Mohammed                 last August. We now call it “Rizki Rice”. If I
                                                every moment in life and has brought us all
                                                                                                    (Ghana) are all smiles after an event where        ever open a restaurant, I will put it on my
                                                many smiles. In this picture, Natthapat is          they represented their homelands. The Bowles
                                                giving a speech about Thailand to the Morro                                                            menu!
                                                                                                    family hosts Eunice in Shaftsbury, Vermont,
                                                Bay Women's Club. We love having                                                                          Snow was a new experience for Rizki and
                                                                                                    and the Allison family hosts Salamatu in
                                                Natthapat as part of our family and are             Salem, New York.                                   he enjoyed a week of it in Montana. It was a
                                                looking forward to a life long friendship with                                                         thrill to experience his first sight of snow, as
                                                him!                                                                                                   we take it for granted.
                                                                   The Jones family, hosts for
                                                                                                    Maine was Magical                                     We cannot accommodate a lot of Rizki’s
                                                     Natthapat Wongcharoenyong (Thailand)               The thing I will miss is the friendliness of   efforts to experience all he wants to do while
                                                                               Morro Bay, CA        small town people and the diverse ethnic           he’s here, but his PAX leader, Renee Kerr,
                                                                                                    groups of America. My teachers and friends         has helped out tremendously and we
                                                A Lily Among Poppies                                were willing to help me. The people who
                                                                                                    have been most influential are my host
                                                                                                                                                       appreciate her.
                                                                                                                                                          This has been quite an experience for all,
                                                    Never having hosted a foreign exchange          family members. I think they are my real           and it’s not over yet! We still have a lot of
                                                student before, we were full of anticipation.       second family. Furthermore, I have four best       things to do and a lot of memories to be made
                                                From her native Japan, Kaho arrived                 friends. We’ve had a great time at parties,        before the day my “Indonesian son” returns
Not in Our Wildest Dreams...                    beautiful, quiet, helpful and kind. We, on the      Christmas, Halloween and school.                   to his own country.
   We had high hopes that hosting a student     other hand, were fast moving, dramatic,                           Mananchaya Punsiri (Thailand)                      Rhonda Martin, host mother for
would be a wonderful experience, but we         expressive and just plain loud! She was like                           Hosted by the Dow family                        Muhammad Rizki (Indonesia)
never imagined in our wildest dreams that it    a white lily in a bed of bright red poppies.                                       Sangerville, ME                                    Kennewick, WA
would be life changing. If there is such a      However, it was love at first sight. We felt so
thing as a "perfect" match, Seongjae Hong is    lucky! We worked at being more like her, and
it. This journey together has been so           she could not help becoming more like us,
amazing. We couldn't be happier. Thanks to      Italians. We eat pasta at least once a week,
the PAX family, our coordinator Margaret
Hoppe, and Seongjae’s parents, for this rare
                                                and she can eat with the best of us.
                                                    She is bright and academically talented.
                                                                                                                                                                               for Joy
opportunity. In the photo, we are wearing       She is a good friend and wonderful sister to                                                                                   Coordinator Chris
custom-made traditional hanbok, a gift from                                                                                                                                    Duncan’s Wisconsin
                                                my children. She enjoys horseback riding,
                                                                                                                                                                               students were
Seongjae's parents.                             animals and all sports.                                                                                                        soaring during a
    John and Lori Candalino, host parents for       My being the coach of a FIRST robotics                                                                                     trip to Washington,
               Seongjae Hong (South Korea)      team was a big draw for Kaho. She quickly                                                                                      DC: Amy Filonenko
                              Las Vegas, NV     signed up to become a “Livonia Warrior”.                                                                                       (Russia), Julia
                                                This past season, Kaho enjoyed building and                                                                                    Moshkovska
 Cute as a Button                               programming the robot, the competitions, as                                                                                    (Ukraine), Julia
                       Host mother Suzette      well as being part of marketing and public                                                                                     Fuchs (Germany),
                       Lopez of Sandpoint,      relations. She helped take our robot, Armed                                                                                    Merle Tucholka
                       Idaho writes, “Our                                                                                                                                      (Germany), Bella
                                                and Dangerous, to the Michigan state
                       bond with Gyulee                                                                                                                                        Fernandez Lopez
                                                competition.                                                                                                                   (Spain), Sofia
                       Kim will always leave
                       a lasting impression
                                                    Kaho's contributions as a team member,                                                                                     Furlan (Italy),
                       on our family.” She      family member and a student have been                                                                                          Daniel Antonio
                       says little ones Zella   exemplary. We are so very proud of her!                                                                                        Rodriguez (Mexico)
                       and Jens particularly                  Isolina Carlini, host mother for                                                                                 and Tanapat Laoh
 love playing with the buttons on the South                              Kaho Hasabe (Japan)                                                                                   (Thailand).
 Korean student’s cell phone and ipod.                                            Livonia, MI

                                                                                              Page 8

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