Posted by Hillary Schauss

A Message about RYE...from a mom and a counselor

The idea of sending your child off to another country may seem terrifying to some, or a rite or passage to another, but in a way it is a matter of trust most of all.


You are sending your child off to live with other families halfway around the world, or you are inviting a child into your home to live with you and to take care of. You trust that everything will work out ok. You trust that your child will behave appropriately, and you trust that they will have a wonderful experience. For the most part, this happens, but there are almost always times when all does not go as planned. For starters, the outbound RYE student always thinks that they have at least a basic knowledge of the language, when in fact, they usually have only a rudimentary start to it, and so when they arrive in their new country they are quite literally overwhelmed with just the basics of living, and socializing is almost traumatic. So, they sleep. They try to be good ambassadors, but after a day to listening in a foreign language, they are basically shot. This tends to go on for about 2 months, while they slowly build their vocabulary and speaking skills enough to finally be able to communicate their needs and sometimes their wants. It can be a very lonely couple of months but our exchange students weather it quite extraordinarily. They tend to find solace with other exchange students who speak at about the same speed and at the same level of vocabulary, and who are experiencing many of the same things, so they bond. They know, they are not supposed to be just friends with other exchange students, but it’s hard not to. They are the ones who understand you the most.

Our club has two outbound students, Shay who is in Spain, and Noelle who is in Italy, and an inbound student, Denisa (Deny) from Czech Republic, and Anika our most recent returning outbound.

Deny has enjoyed coming to our meetings and many of you know her. She even sang at the Christmas party! We were all so impressed. She attends Reno High School, and until recently, before injuring her knee skiing, was planning on being on the ski team. Her current host family is going to take her to Disneyland in February, and I know that her third host family is looking forward to exploring Nevada with her. Deny is in a unique situation where all three of her host families have outbound students, currently on exchange. She is currently living with Noelle Hamilton’s family and will move to Shay Lieberman’s family next.

If you get the chance to host an Inbound RYE student, or send your kid on exchange, do it! It is one of the most amazing experiences and you will be rewarded for years to come.