No way I can forget these kids. They studied in Barcelona in 2002 through API, and I’m sure each of them has a story of how going abroad changed their lives in some ways. They could tell you about meeting Spaniards, improving their Spanish dramatically, finding the love of their lives and naming their first daughter after their Spanish host mom’s , falling in love with Europe and them marrying a German guy and live in Hamburg since then, or deciding, after 9 months spent in Barcelona, that the World was still an unsafe place and needing to buy a gun when arriving home… I remember all of them as I remember most of the hundreds of students I have met over 16 years. Remembering them reminds me why I love Intercultural Education.
Not all moments were as joyful as this one at the beach. Some students have gone through very tough moments while abroad, and we have tried to support them. Doctors, hospitals, counselors, even jails! Supporting them is sometimes as hard as it sounds, and we, educators, need to know how to better help them and keep the balance, be a friend and a program director is not an easy task.
But you see them learning not only about the culture or language, but about themselves and the World around them , and you learn with them. Isn’t it a wonderful adventure?