Wednesday, July 21, 2010


It's funny how different phrases can mean different Foreign Exchange, which can either be a currency transaction, or can be a student experience.

That, however, is neither here nor there...

A couple of people yesterday raised the idea of Munchkin doing a semester or a year abroad to allow her to be closer to the boyfriend, and I probably should have addressed this yesterday, because the idea has come up between me and several of her other quasi-parents (if she has entertained the idea, she hasn't asked me about it). Unfortunately, I don't really love the idea, at least not for this purpose.

I think the idea of spending a semester or a year abroad, either in high school or college or both, is really wonderful, and if she wanted to do it, I would help her as much as I could. It is a great chance to immerse in a culture in a way that a vacation simply doesn't allow for...and as was pointed out, would sharpen her language skills a lot. Her French is already alarmingly good, and would likely be downright perfect after that much immersion.

What I don't like is the idea that she would be doing it largely to spend more time with a boyfriend. That is just a little bit too serious for her age, and would be too little supervision for me to really feel good about least not now. As she gets older, I would obviously feel differently about it. I also feel like it would be hard to go backwards from that kind of a relationship step...would either of them be happy not seeing each other much after being around each other for that much time?

It could also potentially put a host family in a somewhat awkward position as well, having to determine what is appropriate and inappropriate right off the bat. I know that if an exchange student came to live with me, I wouldn't be totally comfortable right off the bat if she asked to spend a weekend with her boyfriend and his family...

Likewise, I wouldn't be completely thrilled if he announced that he was coming here for the same reason. I would be happy, but I would have some reservations about how the whole thing would work out. It just feels too much like making a major life decision at age 15 (or, in his case, 16)...I am genuinely heartbroken that she misses him as much as she does, I am just not sure that this is the answer.

So, the long and short of it is that spending a year going to school in Paris is not gonna happen anytime soon. Eventually? I wouldn't rule it out, but I have my reservations.


laurwilk said...

I am so happy that you feel this way!

Let's be honest, Munchkin is young. She's likely going to have other boyfriends. She's likely going to kiss and date and much, much more. (She is your sister, after all. Haha.) While she may be bummed out about Frenchie now - there may very well come a day where feelings change quite significantly. (I would be a shocked if a single commenter hasn't been in love more than once. You are a good example, runaway fiance.)

So let this just play itself out. I don't think they need to be making BIG decisions like this. Studying abroad is supposed to be about YOU, not you and some boy you are in love with. And maybe after they are 18 and able to make these decisions on their own, they can decide to do that. But until then, I just don't think it's appropriate. Munchkin sure as heck isn't hurting for life/international experiences.

Or she could go to college in France? I'm sure you'd LOVE that.

Ally said...

I'm with you (not that it really matters:) I made a lot of decisions (like where to live & go to school) based on a high school relationship, and it really limited my ability to invest in friendships that could have been life long & other things. I'm glad she's got other things going on & isn't only focused on him, and guidance & boundaries from you can help keep it that way.

p.s. I sure do wish we could see pics of your girls!

Kari said...

Your reservations are what make you such an awesome Mom/sister!