The life of students while on FLEX program is very exciting. Every year FLEX students leave their mark on their many U.S. host communities. FLEX 2012-2013 participant Edvard from Odesa shares his experience living with a host family in Lexington, South Carolina and being actively engaged in the host community.
“I bring you my deepest gratitude for this chance to experience America first hand through the FLEX program! I knew that it would be an outstanding opportunity, but never could I have imagined the depth of this life-changing adventure. … I am residing with a family of five in the lovely state of South Carolina. One special aspect of my relationship with my host family is that their oldest child has Down’s syndrome. He and I have become special friends and I have gained an education I never could have anticipated. My relationship with my host parents and host sisters has greatly enriched my domestic life.
…My American Government teacher…created a series of lessons “Politics in the Palmetto State Speaker Series.” That give us opportunity to interact with politicians from South Carolina. Some of the politicians we have been able to meet are: Ronnie Cromer – Republican member of the South Carolina Senate Amanda Loveday – Executive Director at South Carolina Democratic Party Shane Massey – Republican member of the South Carolina Senate (pictured below) Chad Connely – the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party Bakari Sellers – Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representative”
ASSE host mother Ann, FLEX student Vera, and host brother Brendan talk about the exchange experience from their own perspectives.
Ann: “Vera is the daughter I have always wanted. It has been fun being able to go dress shopping and having girl talks over morning coffee or before we go to bed. A fun girl adventure was preparing for Lamar’s Christmas Pageant; I think I was more nervous than Vera…”
Vera: “I am honestly blessed to have such a wonderful host family as the Kelleys. Mike, Ann and Brenden have made my American experience so special. I have lots of “firsts” like my first rollercoaster, first hiking experience, first beauty pageant and even a first taco.”
Brenden: “One of my most favorite things is to eat and Vera likes to try any type of food, so we get along pretty well. Any time I am hungry, I whisper to Vera to see if she is hungry; regardless of whether Vera is or isn’t, I always tell my mom that Vera is hungry, so having Veraalong has actually worked-out to my advantage.”
Many of the FLEX students become the winners of the Students of the month competition for the school achievements.
Each month the FLEX program sponsor, the U.S. Department of State, names a “Student of the Month” to highlight on-program success stories. The student of the month receives a certificate and is featured on the ECA FLEX website. FLEX 2012-2013 participant Khrystyna became a student of the month in February 2013.
Khrystyna, a World Link student from Ukraine, spends all of her spare time engaged in school and community service projects. In January alone, she completed 31 hours of service. She is actively involved with the American Red Cross where she participated in this year’s blood drive and Fire Training Project. Khrystyna also volunteers at the Happy Trails Riding Academy for children with disabilities. During the holiday season, she helped her host family’s church distribute 508 food boxes and toys to 712 children
throughout her host community. Khrystyna is so appreciated by her host community that one of the community’s leaders wrote to World Link thanking the FLEX program
for “bringing Khrystyna to the community and allowing her to be involved in efforts to aid the needy.”