By Patty Chung, SHARE! National Office
Growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to be an exchange student but if I had, I’m not sure I would have chosen to travel by myself to a strange land where they spoke a different language and live with people I knew little about. And yet each year nearly 500 international high schoolers take this huge leap and choose to experience a new culture, new friends, a new family and school with our SHARE! program. I would imagine that it takes great courage to venture into unknown territories at such a young age and the impact it reaps must be immeasurable.
The root word for “courage” comes from the French word coeur, the heart. This implies that courage comes from our inmost being. So for an international student to overcome the fear, discomfort or embarrassment of being in a foreign environment, their desire to experience and explore outside their comfort circle must be huge. Their willingness to be vulnerable might be an indication of an inner strength and desire to connect with an expanded sense of humanity.
I applaud our exchange students for their boldness to share their beautiful selves with us and for expanding our hearts and horizons for humanity.
For more on The Power of Vulnerability, go to Brené Brown’s Ted Talk https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o