Each June, MIUSA says good-bye to the international high school exchange students with disabilities who have lived, studied, and volunteered in U.S. host communities for an academic year or semester.
In 2014, it was good-bye to Hoshi, a Deaf student from Malaysia, whose Youth Exchange and Study experience took him to Idaho, and Qurrata, a wheelchair user from Indonesia, who returns home a wheelchair basketball and handcycling enthusiast after her year-long involvement with Oregon Disability Sports.
As these students prepare to travel back to their home countries, we prepare to welcome the next cohort. In August 2014, 31 students with disabilities from sixteen countries will travel to Eugene, Oregon, for the last stage of their orientation to the U.S.
Among them are a Paralympic fencer from Russia, an aspiring graphic designer from the Philippines, and Harry Potter fan from Pakistan.
They are ambitious, passionate, resourceful, and excited about the life-changing opportunity to live and study in the United States.
“In my view, America is the country of limitless possibilities, amazing discoveries, freedom, and friendly people,” writes Polina, a student from Russia who has cerebral palsy.
Their applications demonstrate a talent for foreign language learning and youthful optimism.
“I am so curious about learning new things. For example, when someone says, ‘There’s a tango course, you should go.’ I don’t say, no. I say, why not?” says Batuhan, a blind student from Izmir, Turkey. He will follow in his older brother’s footsteps by becoming a high school exchange student in Wisconsin.
Why not, indeed?
To learn about opportunities to host a high school exchange student, visit the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.