“It’s always been a question of money. Always. My parents went to school with the children of Italian and Irish immigrants back in the fifties and thought it was wonderful that their food and their music was so different. They thought it would be awesome to send their own kids abroad to get the feel of Europe and the taste of the Mediterranean, to see Rome and the works of Michelangelo. But there were five of us and there was never enough money, not for an exchange program nor for a holiday.”
Elsa is Canadian and the topic of going abroad to learn has been with her almost all her life. When she wanted to send her son to France many years later her plans again came to a halt when she realized what the price tag was.
Elsa’s story is the story of millions.
This summer we asked all members of our community how they feel about this.
And the answers we got made us file a petition on Change.org.
92% of our members joined us because they wanted to make student exchange affordable (and to have more options and a distinct choice etc.) for their children. And because they so much wanted to go abroad when they were teens and it just wasn’t possible. Or – just as hard and painful – their parents made it possible and they ended up homesick and unhappy but felt they had to pull it through because of the many sacrifices their families had gone through.
Many student exchange agencies do a great job and have done so for decades. Some have room for improvement. In any case: we feel they should not have the de facto monopoly which have in quite a few countries.
There must be room for the individual to take the initiative.
Rules and regulations differ greatly from nation to nation and the freedom granted to schools to take autonomous decisions can be anything from no-room-to-move all the way to we-do-as-we-think-fit. So we make an appeal to all education authorities world wide. And we appeal to everyone who believes that student exchange should not first and foremost be a business but a movement, not exlusive to the affluent but open to the curious and global minded kids who after all are our GLOBAL NATIVES.
No generation before has been so touched and influenced by globalisation. No generation before has had such wonderful means of connecting globally online. They should be able to make something of it and become true global citizens. We need to ensure they have the opportunities.
Please sign and spread the word. Thank you !!!