Der kalifornische Albtraum eines Austauschschülers
Bei der Gastfamilie unerwünscht, von der Koordinatorin als «Dreckskerl» bezeichnet: Der 16-jährige Konstantin wurde bei einer Schüleraustausch-Organisation zum Spielball von Geldinteressen.
by Tages-Anzeiger    

English translation:

May 4, 2014

A California nightmare of an exchange student

In the homestay undesirable designated by the coordinator as a "bastard": The 16-year-old Constantine was at a student exchange organization at the mercy of money interests.

Traveling with the company EF Education First annually millions of young adults abroad. The offers from EF promised , among other things , the skin-like learning about other countries and cultures , combined with learning the language . Advertised , for example, the ten- month-long High School Year in the United States of EF as follows: " Are you ready for the big adventure ? During your EF High School Years you have to accept the new challenges unique opportunity to learn many nice people to learn a foreign language and to grow up. "

An adventure and a lot of challenges has actually experienced between September 2012 and June 2013, the then 16 -year-old exchange student Konstantin in the North American California. " It started with delays , although when booking at EF Switzerland a place with a host family was guaranteed for August ," the Mother Frances Stöcklin who lives in Zurich and paid 13,500 francs for the stay in the USA her son says. " Constantine was then only in September , three weeks after the school had already begun to travel to California . EF told us that they had previously found no family. "

The home inspection as hell

The problems continued. Constantine was away confronted in his new home from the start, with allegations : " My host mother built a control system , forbade me to go out, threatened me with consequences of alcohol consumption and took my laptop and my cell phone away ," says the exchange student in retrospect. " In addition, they treated me cold, and I never had the feeling of being welcome . Later I learned also that they accused me of having $500 stolen from her. "

The host mother and the main coordinator of EF in California, Sandra Woods, therefore were in constant contact with each other. After numerous criticisms of the address of the Swiss exchange student threatened the termination of the EF program and early return home. Stöcklin mother says of her only phone call to Woods: " She told me that in America children would not independently make decisions . The background was that he had not immediately reported that Constantine not promptly went home after school . "

" She is very driven by money »

It came to suspect that the main coordinator of EF was keen to be able to send Konstantin due to rule violations home early in order to place another student in the host family can be brushed and multiple commissions. This approach is confirmed by the ex -EF - coordinator William Alexander, who turned in his resignation to the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs , in Washington.

Alexander pointed out that Sandra Woods had fetched more exchange students into the country for profit than there were in families. Sandra Woods was a "very unethical person " who should not work with young exchange students. And : " She is very driven by money . "

In addition, Alexander confirmed that Woods against Constantine had a personal aversion. This went so far that they instigated another student to invite the Swiss students at a party serving alcohol , then call the police to display the 16 -year-olds and to send him for this offense home according to Alexander . William Alexander was finally , who found a new host family for Constantine, in which he - could bring his EF High School Year to end - time happy and quite adaptable.

" He's a punk »

Behind the scenes, the case reached a higher bureaucratic level after various interventions of the mother. Danielle Grijalva , director of the Committee for Security of foreign students in California , turned in May 2013 also at the Department of State , Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington with a complaint against Sandra Woods. This is in addition to the general remark that foreign exchange students were repeatedly exploited and mistreated ( " Abuse of foreign exchange students remains rampant " ) quotes from the SMS communication between Sandra Woods and William Alexander concerning Constantine. In it expresses Woods foul on Konstantin : " I wish we Could just send his ass home . " (" I wish we could just send home this A. .. He will make me all year round problems. . ") Or: " He's a punk . "(" He's a son of a bitch . ")

In an article in the "K- tips» Grijalva are also following on record : " The problem of EF and similar organizations that they can not find enough suitable host families. . 's Why the children are constantly back and forth "And :" If there is a problem , it always means the students are to blame - but never the host family , the supervisor on site or the intermediary organization . "

Grijalva also criticized the salary structure for EF- supervisor , who worked on a commission basis . Per exchange student there is at least $300. The more students would accommodate EF- caregivers , the more bonuses they would get . And the higher is also the bonus per student.

No financial compensation

Between the Mother Frances Stöcklin and the Zurich office of EF were on March 19, 2013 - also after the mother various interventions - a conversation in which EF Switzerland according Stöcklin have come to see that in the fall of Constantinople , the one mediated by EF students entitled care did not work. " Before, I was always treated by EF Switzerland as a mother who just will not accept that her son does not follow the rules. An actual review of many plain misinformation from the United States did not make EF . » EF Switzerland had at the said interview also accepted that their service promise was not kept and the communication of Sandra Woods was unacceptable . EF Switzerland , however, has responded in the sequence either on the mother's call for an official apology before Constantine , even offered the company a financial compensation.

EF is silent

As part of the research for this article took Mario Tschopp, program director EF High School Year Exchange , position as follows : " The case is known to us , and we have taken the displayed internal steps . Please understand, however , that we on matters which individual customers and working conditions that affect reasons of privacy protection , take a position in public. "So it remains unclear whether Sandra Woods continues in California is working as the main coordinator of EF and Swiss exchange student supervised .

( Tages-Anzeiger )

( Created: 04/05/2014 , 23:41 clock )