International Experience, a cultural exhange program that hosts students from around the globe, has recently gained approval in Gwinnett County.
Patch caught up with Jenny Schumm, the local Gwinnett County coordinator of International Experience, to see what it's all about.
Patch: What is the International Experience program and the purpose of it?
Schumm: iE-USA is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting intercultural education and understanding through cultural, academic and recreational programs on an individual and community level. Students come to the U.S. from various countries to experience our culture and, along the way, make lifelong friends. Our mission is to foster intercultural education and understanding. We are a small nonprofit organization that endeavors to offer personalized service to students, families, and schools.
Patch: When did it become involved in Gwinnett County?
Schumm: iE-USA began working with Gwinnett County Schools as of the 2012 – 2013 school year with the addition of our new Local Coordinator, located in Gwinnett County. The Gwinnett County Local Coordinator is Jenny Schumm at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Patch: Do you have in current exchange students? Where is the student from, what school are they now attending?
Schumm: iE-USA currently has one student in Gwinnett County. He is a sophomore from Guangdong, China and he is currently attending Parkview High School.
Patch: Why do you think that cultural exchange is a worthy endeavor?
Schumm: People sharing their family home with a high school exchange student can give the student a positive view of America that will make a profound difference in who he is and how he relates to Americans. Host families, in turn, get a glimpse into the student’s life and customs thus creating a lifetime experience for their entire family. Learning other cultures bridges the gap between people and countries and facilitates a better understanding of our world as a whole, not just the immediate world outside our home.
Patch: Do you do exchanges from the U.S. to other countries, as well? Is so, how can local students get involved?
Schumm: Yes, we have an outbound exchange program. Host families get a discount when sending their child abroad if they host an exchange student in their home. Any student wishing to study abroad can contact Jenny Schumm, the Gwinnett Local Coordinator, for details about the application process.