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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: The joys of hosting a foreign student

August 15, 2013|By Joe Puglia

I never thought of myself as a citizen of the world. I was raised by men and women from the Greatest Generation who were definitively American. That was my inheritance.

Global citizenship refers to a political philosophy in which the core social, political, economic and environment realities of the world are viewed through a global lens, rather than a national, or local, one. This perspective is not new. Socrates said, “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

Recently I shared a cup of coffee with Beverly DeLucia, a program leader with Education First, an international education company with more than 400 schools worldwide specializing in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs and cultural exchange. In 2006, under the auspices of Education First, DeLucia hosted a child from France.

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“This experience changed my life,” she said. “I never looked at the world in the same way.”

DeLucia became an advocate of international travel and cultural exchange for children and since her immersion into the philosophy of the education company, she emphatically states, “I am a citizen of the world.”

This summer families in La Cañada hosted teens from various countries throughout Europe. This year we were fortunate to host Florine Borniambuc, a 15-year-old from France. The Puglias struck the jackpot with Florine. The day-to-day amazement seen in Florine's eyes gave me the impression that although the antiquated old world of Europe is enthralling, America is unique. Florine stole our hearts, becoming a member of our family. We have indeed established a global connection with France. We are also connected with Spain through Mar, a student we previously hosted.

Education First has a workable paradigm. Children are placed in the homes of volunteer families. They stay for a month and assimilate into the daily routines of American family life. Each morning they are taken to a central pick-up point. They spend time studying English, American history and American culture. In the afternoons they explore the wonders and sights of California, visiting beaches, communities and cultural events, Disneyland, Universal Studios and other places of interest. There's even a trip to San Francisco.

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