This fall, so many young people from around the globe are not living out their dream of a year in the USA.  They are not finding their ways around a new high school or joining a football team.  They are not carving their first pumpkins at Halloween or dreaming about Thanksgiving Day parades and turkeys. 

For anyone who has hosted or worked with international exchange students, this is a sad result of a global pandemic this fall. 

The U.S. State Department created a new experience for this fall: a “virtual exchange program”. As a part of the program, American teenagers volunteer to chat at least once a month with their international new friend.

For one American young man I am working with, this is a special chance.  His family feels they don’t have the space in their home to physically host.  But because it is virtual program right now, he has an opportunity to share his love of sports with a like-minded teen half-way across the globe. 

My own daughter is learning about a young lady from Ukraine.  We’ve hosted numerous Spanish students in our house.  This is the first time she’s interacting with this part of the world.

They might not be here physically—but it’s brought an odd sort of silver lining, too.