Mobbing Against German Exchange Students in the USA17 Mar 2003
Seeing as my wife and I met as exchange students in high school, I had to check out the Spiegel Online article on mobbing against German exchange students. They interviewed several German students in rural America who have met hostility to Germany's and their own personal anti-war beliefs. Back in 1980 Mama was branded as a 'Pinko Commie' by her high school classmates, and I think she still has the T-shirt they gave her to prove it. And she was reminded about Nazis as well.
As an exchange student, your mission is not to teach about your home country, but to listen and learn, about your guest country, and, more importantly, about yourself. The political situation and the media frenzy around it make the situation more tense than we had to deal with 20 years ago, but there are assholes to deal with in any situation. Especially when Europe and the US seem to be drifting apart, the experiences of exchange students are more important than ever. Finding a spouse at the same time is a side benefit reserved for a select few.