MCIV BLOG

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

EDITORIAL: CULTURAL DIVERSITY IS NOT SO FAR FROM HOME

Editorial originally published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
February 16, 2012

Local foreign exchange student programs are looking for volunteers and host families for the next school year. That news is just one reminder of all the opportunities the people of the Bozeman area have to interact with visitors from around the world.

AFS Intercultural Programs and International Cultural Exchange Services are seeking housing for students for the 2012-13 school year as well as volunteers for the programs. Host families must have a spare room for the student and provide meals and transportation. In exchange, they get a chance to interact with a student from another part of the world.

And this week students at Bozeman High School had a chance to meet some 21 visiting teachers from Kazakhstan, El Salvador, Egypt, Pakistan and Poland through the U.S. State Department’s Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program.

Add to that the fact that Montana Center for International Visitors is based here in Bozeman. The MCIV offers memberships at a very reasonable rate. And members get opportunities to rub shoulders with visiting officials from all over the world. The MCIV also offers opportunities for member families to host visitors in their homes for short visits.

Let’s face it: Montana is not exactly a fountain of diversity. And there are many parts of the state that see little to no firsthand exposure to international cultures. This is a tremendous loss – especially for young people who spend their entire upbringing with little chance to appreciate the fact that people from other lands are just people – and well worth taking the time to get to know.

We are very fortunate to have many of those kinds of opportunities here.

Those interested in hosting a foreign exchange student or volunteering with one of the foreign exchange student programs may contact Nancy Jochem at 587-0530 (email: njochem@live.com) or Sierra Wolff at 570-2218.

Or learn more about the MCIV at montanaciv.org.

These are extraordinary opportunities to enrich our lives and our children’s lives. Don’t take them for granted. Get involved.

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