When was the last time you did something for the first time?
For our international visitors, the opportunities for "first time" experiences are endless. When it comes to youth leadership exchanges--that exposure to new experiences is compounded.
Traveling to the United States gives our international visitors the opportunity to not only network with community professionals, but also learn about American culture through an immersive home-stay experience.
Our homestay program allows Oregonians to re-live that "first time" excitement alongside international visitors from around the world. What you might see as a routine trip to pick apples soon turns into a magical experience when seen through the eyes of a person who is learning how to make apple pie for the first time.
From carving jack-o-lanterns to learning how to swim--check out some of our incredible "first time" hosts who stepped up to the plate in 2018 and opened their homes to host international youth from Pan-Africa, Iraq, Bolivia, and Peru!
Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program
"Neither of the boys had ever been swimming. They were both very eager to try, so we went to the swimming pool at the MAC where the pool is only four feet deep.
I struggled to figure out how to teach them: they had absolutely no understanding or ability. So I supported them by the stomach and gave them first kick boards and then flippers (fins) for their feet so that they were able to actually swim --without my assistance-- for a distance! Their enthusiasm and joy at learning this life skill was really striking.
We then went upstairs and played tennis, which was also new to them. They had a super time (words can't describe), and were able to understand the talents of their tennis stars (Federer, Nadal, Djokovitch) in a new light. There were many, many other unforgettable moments."
-Aubrey, International Visitor Host, 2018
Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program
“We had so many unforgettable moments with Bebo. One was when she learned to hula hoop! It took her a few tries and then she was off. It was one of many new things she was eager to try and we all had fun hula hooping together. Another was when we made s'mores in the backyard. She loved them!”
-Michelle, International Visitor Host, 2018
Youth Ambassadors with Bolivia and Peru
"We picked the last of our homegrown apples and the girls made their first apple pie, followed by their first jack-o-lantern carving experience with pumpkins they had selected earlier at a nearby farm and corn maze."
-Anonymous International Visitor Host, 2018