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2009 Jul 16: State Department punishes exchange student company as criminal probe widens

The Times Tribune | BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) | Published: July 16, 2009

The organization at the center of neglect allegations concerning foreign exchange students in Scranton is poorly run and violated at least a dozen regulations, the U.S. Department of State has concluded.

In light of the alleged neglect of up to a dozen students placed in the region, the Department of State is penalizing the California-based Aspect Foundation. The department will limit the amount of student visas Aspect can receive in 2009-10 by 15 percent, leading to a potential $540,000 loss of revenue.

The penalties and additional changes in State Department policies will have national implications across the foreign exchange student industry, as more checks are created to ensure student safety.

Meanwhile, a Lackawanna County grand jury is continuing to consider whether criminal charges are warranted, and its investigation has expanded beyond just the actions of Edna Burgette, the local coordinator who placed students in Scranton homes.

Aspect Foundation is also a focus of the grand jury, which started hearing the case in May. The district attorney’s office has been obtaining documents and other records that may lead to charges against the organization, District Attorney Andy Jarbola said.

«That’s the time-consuming process,» Mr. Jarbola said.

Twelve area foreign exchange students, who paid Aspect to place them with area families, have reported arriving in Scranton and not having a host family secured, then living in filthy homes, some of which were later condemned. Students say they were shuffled from home to home, including living in one with a man who had been convicted of drug-related offenses. At least one required medical attention for lack of adequate food and drink.

One student had been so deprived of food he cried when offered pizza by county detectives, Mr. Jarbola said Wednesday.

Regulations violated

Along with the criminal probe by the county district attorney’s office, the U.S. Office of Inspector General has launched an investigation.

Depending on the outcome of the case, penalties imposed by the Department of State may become more severe, including Aspect being forbidden from bringing foreign students to the U.S.

Aspect «is a financially troubled corporation operating with a largely untrained and unsupervised field staff,» according to the Department of State. «Underlying this weak organizational structure appears to be a corporate culture that does not grasp the complexity of the current international high school exchange environment.»

In a letter sent to Aspect, the department outlined 12 regulations violated by Aspect, including «failing to ensure that a number of host families were ‘capable of providing a comfortable and nurturing home environment’ » and failing to check references or perform background checks. Aspect also was cited for bringing notoriety and disrepute to the department, as outlined by quotes from The Times-Tribune stories that were included in the letter.

In addition to the 15 percent reduction in visas for the 2009-10 school year – the largest penalty allowed without due process – Aspect has been mandated to implement a corrective action plan, which the Department of State is reviewing. The foundation’s 12-page plan calls for an «Exchange Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities» and mandatory monthly check-ins with students.

An 800-number hot line also has been established by the department so exchange students may call the department directly to report concerns, rather than go through their local coordinators or agencies.

The Office of Inspector General is conducting an internal inspection of department protocol, and an external management audit that would allow the department greater control has been proposed.

«We need a look at our own internal processes, why we did not have oversight in place that could have caught this,» Miller Crouch, acting assistant secretary of state for the department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said Wednesday.

‘Willing to work’

The Aspect Foundation, which has accepted the 15 percent sanction to give the organization «the opportunity to make staffing changes and to ensure our program’s integrity,» is willing to work with the department to correct any problems, Karen Walsh, a spokeswoman for Aspect, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.

Aspect, which company officials say has an «excellent track record» of 25 years, «fully acknowledges that what happened in Scranton was deplorable and in complete violation of our own strict standards and those of the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program.»

Aspect’s executive director, Vivian Fearen, was unavailable for an interview, Ms. Walsh said.

Numerous attempts to speak with Mrs. Burgette, who was fired after Aspect learned of the allegations, have been unsuccessful. A cell phone number for Mrs. Burgette has been disconnected.

Mr. Jarbola declined to say when the grand jury would conclude its investigation and possibly recommend charges.

Although the students have returned to their home countries, they are willing to come back to testify at a trial or may provide testimony via the Internet or by video, he said.

«Here these students believed they were coming to the greatest country in the world,» Mr. Jarbola added. «For them to be treated that way, it’s certainly criminal.»

Contact the writer: Timeline

  • May: Allegations surface that foreign exchange students were neglected by local host families. County grand jury convenes.
  • June: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey vows to work with the U.S. Department of State to correct flaws in foreign exchange industry.
  • Now: Grand jury probe expands to Aspect Foundation; Department of State penalizes Aspect.


2009 Jul 19: Exchange student neglect happened a decade ago, host parent says

The Times Tribune | BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) | Published: July 19, 2009

Nine years ago, Margaret Marshall says Edna Burgette called to ask her to host a foreign exchange student for «a few days.»

Mrs. Marshall had never met Mrs. Burgette, the local coordinator for a student placement agency, who said she heard from someone that Mrs. Marshall had hosted a student before.

After Mrs. Marshall said she was not interested, Mrs. Burgette told her she was desperate, the student’s host family was painting his room, and she would only have to provide a home for «a few days.»

Mrs. Marshall says she reluctantly agreed.

After «a few days» of hosting Hans, a boy from Denmark, Mrs. Burgette was unreachable.

When Mrs. Marshall finally confronted Mrs. Burgette at her workplace several weeks later, she says Mrs. Burgette put Hans in another home – an apartment that reeked of cat urine and had a cat tending to kittens under the couch.

Mrs. Marshall has described this scenario to officials in the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office and the U.S. State Department and wants both agencies to expand their investigations beyond the alleged neglect of up to 12 students Mrs. Burgette placed in homes this school year.

The situation described by Mrs. Marshall adds to evidence that the alleged neglect of foreign exchange students in Scranton has gone on for years before the recent discovery by law enforcement officials and the federal agency entrusted to oversee exchange programs.

Mrs. Marshall also wants to know why student placement agency and Mrs. Burgette’s employer, the Aspect Foundation, never did anything about the problems.

«I feel that Aspect holds more responsibility than even Mrs. Burgette because they were clearly informed of the situation in Scranton but allowed her to continue for another nine years,» Mrs. Marshall wrote in a complaint to the State Department and district attorney.

A home for Hans

One day after Hans moved from Mrs. Marshall’s home into the second-floor apartment with several children and multiple cats, Mrs. Marshall got a call for help.

Hans, who had paid Aspect for a yearlong taste of American life, begged her to take him back.

«The placement was horrendous,» she said. «It was unfit for any human habitation.»

Mrs. Marshall and her husband welcomed Hans back into their home – one Mrs. Burgette, who was responsible for checking in with the students, knew nothing about, Mrs. Marshall said.

«She never did a background check,» Mrs. Marshall added. «She never stepped foot in my home, She didn’t meet my husband, She never knew anything about it.»

Both Mrs. Marshall and Hans’ parents contacted Aspect and provided detailed descriptions of the experience, and Aspect never responded, she said.

Aspect issued a one-sentence statement on Mrs. Marshall’s complaint: «In light of the ongoing investigation, Aspect Foundation is unable to comment on these allegations.»

Numerous attempts to speak with Mrs. Burgette, who was fired after Aspect learned of the allegations, have been unsuccessful. Mrs. Burgette was paid $400 per student she placed and received bonuses like trips and other stipends from the foundation.

Charges possible

A Lackawanna County grand jury has heard testimony from up to 12 students. Some, like Hans, reported arriving in Scranton and not having a host family secured. Students say they were shuffled from home to home, including living in one with a man who had been convicted of drug-related offenses and another home which was later condemned. At least one required medical attention for lack of adequate food and drink. The students paid more than $10,000 to Aspect for the American experience.

The Department of State is penalizing the California-based Aspect Foundation. The department will limit the number of student visas Aspect can receive in 2009-10 by 15 percent, leading to a potential $540,000 loss of revenue.

The U.S. Office of Inspector General has launched an investigation, and the State Department is scrutinizing the «overall conduct» of Aspect through the years, according to a spokeswoman.

The county grand jury is continuing to consider whether criminal charges are warranted, and the investigation has expanded beyond the actions of Mrs. Burgette to the Aspect Foundation.

District Attorney Andy Jarbola said he received the complaint from Mrs. Marshall on Friday, but refused to elaborate on his office’s response.

«We’ll act accordingly,» he said. Prior complaints

Mrs. Marshall has not been alone in reporting prior problems with Aspect.

Ten years ago, Kathie DelGuercio and her husband met foreign exchange students outside 810 Myrtle St. in Scranton. A girl from Germany invited them in and showed Mrs. DelGuercio where she slept – in a 6-foot-by-6-foot room, on a cushion from a lounge chair.

The same residence at 810 Myrtle St. was condemned in May, after a student from Nigeria, who was placed there by Mrs. Burgette, was found living with floors covered in dog feces.

When Mrs. DelGuercio saw the living conditions of the German girl a decade ago, she took her in and reported the problems to Aspect, she said in May after the most recent allegations surfaced. Mrs. DelGuercio said Aspect never responded to her complaints.

Mrs. Marshall wants more former host parents who took students from Mrs. Burgette to come forward.

«It seems to me that Aspect and Mrs. Burgette cared only about collecting significant fees from these students and after the money was in their pockets, their responsibility ended,» Mrs. Marshall said.

Contact the writer:


2009 Jul 23: Exchange students say complaints were ignored by program officials

The Times Tribune | By Erin L. Nissley (Staff Writer) | Published: July 23, 2009

When Mussa Hassan, an 18-year-old from Tanzania, told Edna Burgette that he had gone without food for days and had begun seeing blood in his urine, she allegedly told him he would be OK if he just kept drinking water.

When Anna Bardoz, a 17-year-old from Norway, complained to Ms. Burgette about the pet waste covering the floors of a small apartment where she was staying, Ms. Burgette allegedly told her she deserved to be there because of the bad things she had done.

And Carlos Villarreal, an 18-year-old from Colombia, was afraid to complain that he could not wash his clothes for more than two months because he heard what Ms. Burgette had said about other foreign exchange students who complained.

«Edna would say that the students who were complaining were being so ungrateful and ridiculous,» Mr. Villarreal told a county grand jury investigating allegations of neglect of at least 12 foreign exchange students Ms. Burgette placed locally for San Francisco-based Aspect Foundation. Ms. Burgette has been charged by county prosecutors with five counts of endangering the welfare of children.

Although the five students came to Scranton from all over the world, their experiences here had a lot of similarities. All reported having inadequate food and drink, living in filthy conditions and having their complaints ignored by the one person who was supposed to help them.

As a coordinator for Aspect, it was Ms. Burgette’s job to recruit and interview families willing to host a foreign exchange student for half or a whole school year, the grand jury learned. Coordinators are paid $400 to place a student with a family and $20 per month to check in on each student monthly to «make sure everything is going well,» prosecutors said.

If students have complaints, it is the coordinator’s job to resolve them, according to testimony from Aspect Foundation employee Judy Long.

Coordinators are supposed to screen host families before placing students with them. The screening includes a face-to-face interview, criminal background checks for anyone over 18 in the home and verification of at least two personal and one professional reference, Ms. Long told the grand jury.

Prosecutors said Ms. Burgette did not follow procedures in finding host families and did not check in with students as she was supposed to. Four of the five students ended up living with members of Ms. Burgette’s family, and several students told the grand jury that ex-convicts and drug dealers lived in the houses and apartments with them.

Attempts by The Times-Tribune to reach Ms. Burgette over the past few weeks have been unsuccessful. Her attorney, Christopher J. Osborne, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Contact the writer:


2009 Oct 23: Changes recommended for foreign-exchange programs after Scranton scandal

The Times Tribune | BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) | Published: October 23, 2009
Edna Burgette 1Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2009:07:22 16:15:52
Edna Burgette

Click here to read the report (pdf)

Insufficient oversight and resources plague the department responsible for overseeing foreign-exchange student programs nationwide, a report released Thursday found.

The probe by the U.S. Office of Inspector General was initiated after up to 12 students alleged they were neglected after being placed in Scranton-area homes during the 2008-09 school year. The case exposed the national lack of oversight and significant lapses in background checks for hosts of the 30,000 international students who come to the U.S. each year.

In the Scranton case, local coordinator Edna Burgette allegedly placed students in homes without completing background checks and shuffled some students from home to home.

The students told investigators they lived in filthy homes, some of which were later condemned. Several said they were living with an ex-convict, and at least one student required medical attention for lack of adequate nutrition. All said Ms. Burgette, now the former area coordinator for San Francisco-based Aspect Foundation, ignored their complaints, even though she was paid by Aspect to place the students and check up on them.

Last summer, Ms. Burgette was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of children. She was fired when Aspect learned of the allegations.

The Department of State has penalized Aspect. The department is limiting the number of student visas Aspect can receive in 2009-10 by 15 percent, leading to a potential $540,000 loss of revenue.

The inspector’s report, while it did not mention the Scranton case, made several recommendations that could have made a difference in Northeast Pennsylvania.

According to the report, individuals within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, responsible for overseeing exchanges, have not been directly monitoring students and instead were relying on the private educational associations, such as Aspect, to oversee students.

«There is an inherent danger in ascribing major responsibilities without clear guidance and support,» the report stated.

Aspect relied on Ms. Burgette to report problems and to make sure students were safe, and she did neither, Aspect officials have previously stated.

The report recommends the department be given adequate resources to conduct periodic unannounced site visits, and to establish a database to record student complaints and incidents so it is easier track problems.

The report also calls for national criminal history background checks to be given to potential host families.

Background checks vary significantly across the country, from not being done at all or relying on references from family and neighbors, to comprehensive checks, said Danielle Grijalva, director of the California-based Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students.

«You’ve got to do it right the first time,» she said.

While Ms. Grijalva had some reservations about the report, she said if taken seriously it could make a difference in the overall quality and safety of foreign-exchange programs.

«The problems will only repeat themselves if we do not get serious and make changes,» she said.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who has called for an overhaul in exchange program oversight, said incidents in Scranton «were allowed to happen, in part, because of a lack of clear regulations that allowed sponsor organizations to interpret the rules in a manner that ultimately endangered these students.»

The «real measure of progress will be what specific steps are taken to prevent this problem from happening again.»

Contact the writer:

Related stories

State Department statement

2009: Foreign-exchange coordinator arrested

The Times Tribune | By Joe McDonald, (staff writer) | Published: July 24, 2009

A Scranton woman who allegedly placed foreign-exchange students in area homes so deplorable that prosecutors called it a crime was arrested Thursday after turning herself in to authorities.

Edna Mary Burgette, 69, of 810 Myrtle St., was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of children after she showed up at the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office. Detectives had been searching for her since Wednesday but were unable to find her, District Attorney Andy Jarbola said.

«We knew where she was staying,» Mr. Jarbola said. «She wasn’t on the run.»

Ms. Burgette was released on $25,000 unsecured bail at her arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Sean P. McGraw in Carbondale. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Her arrest does not mean investigators have ended their inquiry into the foreign-exchange student scandal centered in Scranton, Mr. Jarbola said.

«The investigation is continuing,» he said. «It’s continuing before the grand jury.»

The grand jury is scheduled to reconvene next week, he said. Last week, Mr. Jarbola said his office was securing records and other information from Aspect Foundation, the agency by which Ms. Burgette was employed.

The charges against Ms. Burgette revolve around five foreign-exchange students who were placed in area homes between August and May by Ms. Burgette, the former area coordinator for San Francisco-based Aspect Foundation. She was fired after the organization learned of the allegations.

The students told investigators they lived in filthy homes, some of which were later condemned. Several said they were living with ex-convicts and drug dealers. At least one student required medical attention for lack of adequate food and drink. All said Ms. Burgette ignored their complaints, even though she was paid by Aspect to place and check up on the students.

According to court papers, a girl from Norway said she was placed in a home filled with dog feces and cat urine on Dickson Avenue, and a boy from Colombia said he was exposed to similar unsanitary conditions at 935 Madison Ave., where he lived with people who had been released from prison and liked to smoke marijuana.

A student from Nigeria who stayed at Jermyn Apartments and at 935 Madison Ave. also said her living conditions included animal feces and life with ex-convicts, as well as very little food.

Two other students, one from Tanzania who lived at a home on Quincy Avenue, the other from Vietnam who also lived on Quincy Avenue, said they were not given enough food.

Contact the writer:


Problemer: Kriminelt nabolag, slått ned, ingen hjelp

Bedre enn i England

Atle Torgersen (19) fra Vegårshei landet sist høst på den videregående skolen i Tvedestrand. Her trives han veldig godt, etter et år med dårlige erfaringer som utvekslingsstudent i England.


Publisert 26.03.2012 kl 23:18 Oppdatert 26.03.2012 kl 23:32

  • Jeg skulle ønske at jeg hadde gått alle tre årene her i Tvedestrand, sier Atle som er russ denne våren.

Han forteller at han nå har gått på tre forskjellige videregående skoler. Det først året tilbragte han på Drottningborg i Grimstad, før han tok et år som utvekslingselev ved Bedford college i England.

Drottningborg var han fornøyd med, men oppholdet i England ble en lite hyggelig opplevelse.

Han synes den engelske skolen var ok, men er svært kritisk til opplegget som det norske skoleutvekslingsselskapet hadde laget.

Uheldig med vertsfamilie

Atle legger ikke skjul på at han var misfornøyd med vertsfamilien.

I følge Atle var det ikke noe hyggelig hjem. Han måte dele rom med en elev fra Tyskland, og den kvinnelige huseieren hadde rot over hele huset. De fikk heller ikke noe god mat.

Atle legger ansvaret på utvekslingsselskapet som han mener gjorde for dårlig jobb med å finne passende vertsfamilie.

  • Jeg betalte 65.000 kroner for oppholdet i England. I tillegg var det noen veldig dyre turer som de arrangerte. Med tanke på hvor mye jeg betalte for skoleåret i England, synes jeg at jeg fikk lite igjen, sier han.

Ble slått ned

Atle forteller også om en uheldig episode med en annen ungdomsgjeng, som førte til at ble han slått ned i gata der han bodde, og fikk en smell i hodet. Skoleutvekslingsselskapet ble gjort kjent med dette overfallet.

  • Men jeg fikk ingen oppfølging i det hele tatt, sier Atle som synes det var skuffende.

Den unge vegårsheiingen lengtet hjem, og i vinterferien reiste han til Vegårshei. Selskapet forbød imidlertid sine utveklingsstudenter å reise hjem under hele oppholdet i England, ifølge Atle.

Kastet ut av programmet

  • Det ble til slutt så mye uenigheter mellom oss at det endte med at jeg ble kastet ut av selskapets program etter sju måneder i England.
  • Du er vel ikke spesielt kranglete?

  • Nei, de som kjenner meg, kan ikke helt skjønne hvordan dette kunne skje, sier Atle med smil.

Han legger til at han sammen med foreldrene sine engasjerte en advokat etterpå, og etter mye korrespondanse fikk han tilbakebetalt 17.000 kroner av skoleutvekslingsselskapet.

Lærte godt engelsk

  • Noe positivt fikk du vel igjen for oppholdet i England?
  • Ja, jeg fikk lært engelsk skikkelig. Jeg ble veldig god i engelsk.

  • Atle trekker også fram at han ble godt kjent med flere lærere på skolen, og han fikk heldigvis bo hos en av dem, da han ble kastet ut av selskapets program.

    • Hun var veldig hyggelig. Det var som natt og dag. Jeg fikk eget rom og bo i et rent hus.


    Atle mener at han slett ikke har vanskeligheter med å tilpasse seg. Han forteller forøvrig at han var på språkreise på Malta allerede den sommeren han var ferdig med ungdomsskolen. Der likte han seg kjempegodt, og var veldig fornøyd med STS som arrangerte språkskolen på Malta.

    Nå har han det utmerket på Tvedestrand og Åmli vgs. Han forteller at han ble tatt godt i mot av medelever og lærere da han begynte sist høst. Atle synes skolen har et godt miljø og bra lærere.

    Mange muligheter

    • Du er snart ferdig på skolen i Tvedestrand, og skal begynne på et nytt kapittel i livet?
  • Ja, egentlig har jeg mest lyst til å bli pilot, men jeg har ikke de rette fagene. Jeg har søkt på mange skoler, og jeg vet ikke helt hva det blir. Kan tenke meg å studere økonomi eller jus. Tror det blir jusstudier.

  • Vent med å reise

    Når det gjelder erfaringene som utvekslingsselev i England, konkluderer Atle med at det kanskje kan være lurt å vente til etter videregående skole med å oppfylle sine utenlandsdrømmer.

    • Når du er 18-19 år og myndig, er du mer moden, og har mer du skulle ha sagt hvis det oppstår problemer, fastslår Atle Torgersen.

    Vanlige problemer: Storrøykere, dyreavføring inne, dårlig helse

    Spørsmål fra siden

    Hei. Jeg er for øyeblikket på utveksling. Har blitt plassert i en vertsfamilie som jeg ble fortalt bestod av vertsmor og hennes sønn (et par år eldre enn meg). I virkeligheten er det egentlig bare vertsmor, for sønnen foretrekker å bo hos faren. Uansett, så trives jeg virkelig ikke. Det er ikke noe STORT problem med henne, men det er så mange SMÅTING som plager meg. Hun røyker, og jeg blir kvalm av røykelukt. Hun røyker ikke inne, men rett utenfor døra med døra åpen, så lukta kommer inn uansett. Og når venninnen hennes er på besøk så røyker de inne i stua, de lukker døren og tror det hjelper, men røyken kommer jo frem uansett. Noen ganger har jeg også våknet om natten av at det stinker røyk inne på rommet mitt, da ligger vertsmor i sengen i rommet over gangen og røyker. Da jeg gikk og banket på og spurte henne om det en gang, nektet hun for at hun røyket, men ærlig talt, det stinket i hele huset.

    Ellers så jobber hun 12-timers dager (noen ganger netter), så de dagene hun er på jobb (tre-fire dager i uka) ser jeg henne ikke i det hele tatt. Når hun ikke er på jobb ligger hun bare i senga inne på rommet sitt, med døren lukket, og ser på TV. TVen hennes står på hele natten. Hun lager nesten aldri mat, har ingen rutiner for middag eller andre måltider, så jeg har måttet venne meg til å lage middag for meg selv. Jeg er flink til å lage mat, det er ikke det, men det hadde jo vært ålreit å dele et måltid med noen i ny og ne da. Vertsmor spiser bare toast med smør på eller ferdiglagde mikrobølgekjøttpaier til odde tider. Det hender hun spør om jeg vil ha noe når hun først lager seg litt toast, men jeg er vant med rutiner på måltider, og klarer ikke det opplegget hun kjører. Hun kjøper meg masse grønnsaker og fisk og kylling og yoghurt, det hun vet jeg liker, så jeg får mat altså, trenger ikke kjøpe det selv, men likevel.

    Også er det det at hun er såpass dårlig stelt helsemessig … hun blir så fort sliten, orker nesten ingenting før hun må legge seg nedpå og slappe av noen timer liksom. Jeg liker å være aktiv, jeg er ei jente med mye energi, og er vant med en aktiv og helsemessig godt stelt familie. Vertsmor har det ikke bra, tror jeg, hender jeg våkner om natten og hører henne ligge og stønne og ynke seg. Det er ikke koselig.

    Også er det hunden. Den tisser på gulvet inne hele tiden, jeg må alltid se meg nøye for før jeg setter ned foten når jeg beveger meg utenfor rommet mitt. Han blir nesten aldri gått tur med, for vertsmor orker ikke, og jeg har ikke tid i hverdagen, selv om jeg pleier å ta han med ut en tur i helgene. Vertsmor slipper han bare ut i hagen for å gjøre fra seg. Så jeg går aldri ut i hagen heller, der ligger det for mye ekkelt i gresset. Og når været er dårlig vil han ikke gå ut, og vertsmor tvinger han ikke hvis han ikke vil, da får han heller gå inne. Det hender hun legger ut en avis han kan gå på, så hun skal slippe å vaske gulvet. Noen ganger sitter også hunden oppe hele natten og klynker, så jeg ikke får sove, og vertsmor gjør ikke noe med det.

    Jeg føler det litt som om jeg bor på hybel, og trodde egentlig at det skulle være mer som om jeg var en del av en familie. Men hvilken familie? Det er jo bare vertsmor. Overreagerer jeg, er dette normalt? Skal det være sånn? Føler bare jeg trenger noen utenfra til å vurdere situasjonen, om dette virkelig ikke er som det skal være, eller om det bare er det at jeg er langt hjemmefra og dårlig til å tilpasse meg. Kanskje standarden her bare ikke er så høy? Trodde liksom de prøvde å finne familier som passet med studenten, men jeg og vertsmor er jo to så forskjellige personer at en skulle ikke tro vi var fra samme univers!

    Men så er det det at jeg elsker skolen min, og huset er nærme treningssenteret og alt mulig, det passer meg veldig bra, og jeg er redd for at om jeg bytter vertsfamilie at jeg også må bytte skole og ikke får tilgang på treningssenter lenger, og hva om jeg kommer til en enda verre familie? Jeg tør liksom ikke si ifra til folk før jeg er hundre prosent sikker på at jeg ikke bare overreagerer. Men nå har det jo gått over en måned, snart to, og det har ikke blitt bedre her. Jeg har det kjempebra på skolen, men kjenner at jeg ikke har lyst til å dra hjem etterpå, for det er bare så deprimerende her, vertsmor er slik en håpløs dame, og jeg vet ikke hvor mye lenger jeg kan smile og være glad før jeg sprekker og sier ettellerannet til henne.

    Veldig mye jeg skrev nå, beklager det, men jeg føler at jeg ikke kan snakke med noen, for tør ikke si noe til områderepresentanten før jeg er sikker på at jeg ikke overreagerer, er redd vertsmor skal få greie på det må en eller annen måte og så går alt i stykker. Har lest mye på nettet og vet at det er mange utvekslingselever som har hatt det mye verre enn meg, og som har mye bedre grunner enn meg til å bytte familie. Kanskje jeg bare er litt dårlig til å tilpasse meg? Men så har vi jo betalt mye penger for dette da, burde kanskje ha en viss standard på vertsfamiliene sine … Jeg vet ikke jeg. Håper på raskt svar, takk skal dere ha for denne siden!

    Krav til vertsfamilie