Program bridges countries, changes perceptions - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Program bridges countries, changes perceptions

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:00 am

Before the Moe family brought Danilo, a foreign exchange student from Montenegro, into their home, most of their family members had to look at a map to find the country.

Now they know and, after living with Danilo, they also know that families in Montenegro aren’t all that different from those in Ahwatukee Foothills.

The Moe family moved to Ahwatukee Foothills less than a year ago, and daughter Anna befriended a foreign exchange student named Isa in her German class at Desert Vista High School.

“Isa is from Bavaria, and she was a smart, articulate, artistic and wonderful young woman,” said Robin Moe, Anna’s mother. “She told us about the exchange program and that there was a young man named Danilo still looking for a home to stay at because the parents in the home he was originally slotted for needed to travel for work.”

After researching the International Student Exchange program and meeting Danilo, the Moe family decided to bring him into their home for the school year. Since September, the family has learned a lot about a country they knew next to nothing of before meeting Danilo.

“Montenegro is a relatively new country right by the Baltic Sea that has only had its independence for about four years,” Robin Moe said. “It has been really interesting hearing Danilo’s perspective of a country gaining its independence.”

All cultural norms aside, it has been an adjustment having a teenage boy live in a family with two teenage girls and an 8-year-old boy.

“American football and baseball are sports that Danilo has never been exposed to,” Moe said. “Helping him play those for the first time and then taking him to see professional games has been very exciting.”

For Moe, perhaps the most surprising part of having Danilo stay with her family has been discovering similarities.

“Danilo’s father is an attorney, and his mother is a professor; and I’m a teacher, and my husband is an engineer, so it’s very similar,” she said. “Even though he’s from Montenegro, he is very much like an American boy who hangs out with friends, talks on his cell phone and chats on Facebook.”

Pascale Dunton, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident who heads up the International Student Exchange in the Tempe Union High School District, is seeking new host families for Desert Vista. If enough families are found for Desert Vista, Dunton still wants families to volunteer because the exchange students could also attend local charter schools.

“I think that hosting an exchange student opens your cultural understanding, and I really do feel that if we understood other cultures better we would be seen by the rest of the world differently,” Dunton said. “So often our children have trouble even finding foreign countries on the map, and this gives them a chance to interact with foreigners on a daily basis.”

Dunton came to the U.S. as an exchange student from Switzerland in 1980 to learn English.

“I fell in love with America, got married and ended up staying here,” she said.

In 2003 when Dunton was traveling in Europe, she noticed that the world’s perception of America was changing, and she was saddened by it.

“I found myself drawn into political conversations abroad, and I had to justify my own country,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to make a difference, and I found that getting involved with foreign exchange students and helping them experience a normal family in the U.S. would help.”

Dunton hopes the children she helps come to the states will share their experiences with their friends and family at home.

“The kids are so impressed and amazed by the generosity and kindness of the American families that when they go home they tell their own families, friends and neighbors,” she said. “One child at a time is returning to their home country and spreading the good news about American people, which makes me feel good.”

For more information on the International Student Exchange, e-mail Dunton at Pascale-dunton@cox.net.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

4 Zika Cases in Florida Were Likely Spread by Local Mosquitoes, C.D.C. Says

There are now more than 1,600 confirmed Zika cases in the continental United States. Until the announcement on Friday, all of them had been a …

Published: July 30, 2016 - 3:51 am @ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/health/zika-viru…

Republican VP nominee Mike Pence to hold events in Arizona next week

PHOENIX — Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold two events in Arizona next week. Pence plans to hold town-hall style event…

Published: July 30, 2016 - 2:21 am @ http://ktar.com/story/1201470/republican-vp-nomine…

Are the 'Harry Potter' films better than the books? A passionate and magical debate

LONDON — In a desperate attempt to make the final hours before the release of the eighth Harry Potter story go a little bit quicker, we've dec…

Published: July 30, 2016 - 2:14 am @ http://mashable.com/2016/07/30/harry-potter-films-…

An Inside Look: The Herb Box

With locations throughout the valley and cohesive menus for brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks and dessert, The Herb Box is a gem. This hip rustic …

Published: July 30, 2016 - 1:20 am @ http://www.smartfem.com/entertainment/herb-box/

Activists protest no charges for cop in Arizona shooting of Native American woman

A small group of protestors in Phoenix, Arizona, met employees of the Maricopa County Prosecutor as they arrived for work on Monday, protestin…

Published: July 30, 2016 - 12:42 am @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/28/1553073/-A…

Movies in a Minute: 'Jason Bourne'

Do you realize it’s been nine years since the last “Jason Bourne” movie? As a fan of the franchise, I have to say I’m disappointed in this one…

Published: July 29, 2016 - 11:43 pm @ http://ktar.com/story/1201697/movies-in-a-minute-j…

Phoenix Planning for a New Approach to its Urban Forest

A city famous for tall palm trees wants to find some shade.William Yardley reports on an ongoing planning effort in Phoenix to cultivate a tre…

Published: July 29, 2016 - 11:12 pm @ http://www.planetizen.com/node/87654/phoenix-plann…

From Arizona to Montana, Native Voters Struggle for Democracy

The Navajo Election Administration in the Chinle Agency. (Aura Bogado) Leonard Gorman is a man of maps. He heads the Navajo Nation’s Human Rig…

Published: July 29, 2016 - 8:43 pm @ https://www.thenation.com/article/arizona-montana-…

Infographic: International Tiger Day 2016: Tiger facts you need to know

STEPS FOR DISABLING AD BLOCKERDriving in Canada Canada - a home away from home Canada, it's time to change! Living with a disability in Indo-C…

Published: July 29, 2016 - 8:18 pm @ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-w…

#WeMadeHistory

By Victoria A. Brownworth The tension built over the course of an hour. At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the ceremonial …

Published: July 29, 2016 - 7:42 pm @ http://www.curvemag.com/News/WeMadeHistory-1368/

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…