As I was planning my retirement at the end of 2022, I wanted to continue to work, but on my own terms.  While considering my options, a friend told me about her work with Foreign Exchange Students and I knew that is what I wanted to do!   Joining Borderless Friends Forever as a Community Advisor allowed me to have a part-time position where I could set my own schedule, have lots of flexibility but also have lots of support.  In my position, I act as a liaison between my organization, my assigned international students and their host families, ensuring a positive experience for both the host families and students.

I make sure the students are safe, are doing well in school, and are acclimating to their new surroundings.  I encourage them to try new things, plan fun outings, and cheer them on at their sports matches and other activities.  I share in their excitement, listen through their disappointments, and help them with any issues they may encounter.  There’s also a rumor that I text them way too much and that I’m too overprotective.  Well, that’s how you treat people you love, right?

But while being a Community Advisor is technically a job, I get so much out of it.  The students I work with have become my extended family.  I tell everyone I am their “Aunt” because of the close relationship I develop with the students. I now have new friends worldwide and it is such a delight to wake up on Christmas morning to messages waiting for me from my former students, getting calls telling me they were accepted to the University they hoped to attend, and being tagged in Facebook posts of “meme’s” for inside jokes we share.  I enjoy seeing my current students blossom, make new friends, and take in all that America has to offer.  I’m already dreading my current students leaving at the end of the school year.  But they’ll still be “family” and I can’t wait to add more “nieces” and “nephews” next Exchange Year.