Tag Archives: #AmberWallen

2007: CSFES Helps Foreign Exchange Students

by NORTH COUNTRY GAZETTE on MAY 11, 2007
By Danielle Grijalva, CSFES Director

Approximately 30,000 teenage exchange students will return to their home countries next month.

The Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES) shares the following true story regarding the treatment of an exchange student by his student exchange company.

Jay’s stomach rumbled as he sat in his counselor’s office. His eyes would move down as he looked at the pencil his counselor held and then he looked up to his counselor’s mouth as he spoke on the phone to the area representative of his student exchange company.

He was exhausted and his energy was lost; this very well may be time for him to give in to returning to Thailand four months early. To return to his family who loved him didn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Mr. Ashurst would shade in the numbers on his desk calendar with his pencil and occasionally look over at Jay who was sitting in front of his desk. Occasionally Jay would see him write something down on a separate notepad, but for the most part, shading in the numbers is what occupied him most as he listened to Mrs. Wallen.

“Now may I say something, Mrs. Wallen?” Mr. Ashurst calmly spoke. “While I am not quite sure if you are interested in hearing what I have to say, I believe I’ve been patient with you and now I would like to ask the same from you. When Jay arrived, he had missed five weeks of school through no fault of his own. He has since maintained a 4.2 GPA and is active in many after school activities. Jay is well liked by anyone who comes into contact with him. Although he is quite shy, he has made friends, many of whom have taken it upon themselves to write letters on his behalf. Not one person wants him to return to Thailand early, Mrs. Wallen. My notes tell me that you have labeled this student as manipulative — please, let me finish. My notes reflect on four separate occasions you have called this young man a liar — please, I’m not done. Essentially you have told me he is nothing more than a spoiled rotten brat who is impossible to please and has been a troublemaker from the beginning.”

Jay was uncomfortable hearing Mr. Ashurst’s conversation, but also liked it at the same time. There was no more shading in the numbers on his desk calendar. Mr. Ashurst was now standing.

“Since I can tell, Mrs. Wallen, that we are not going to have a meeting of the mind about Jay, I prefer to discuss this matter with the State Department —” Mrs. Wallen had heard enough and abruptly ended the call. This was fine by Mr. Ashurst.

Mr. Ashurst reached in his desk and grabbed for his car keys. “Jay, I’m hungry. Grab your backpack, I’m taking you to lunch.”

“Yes, sir.” Jay softly responded.

During lunch, Mr. Ashurst learned from an ever so soft-spoken 16-year-old boy that it had been two days since he had anything to eat.

His last four weeks had been spent sleeping on a mattress in a basement.

The reason he didn’t tell his parents in Thailand is because he didn’t want to cause them to worry.

The reason he missed five weeks of school was because he did not have a host family waiting for him as he and his family were promised.

Against the United States Department of State regulations, he lived in the home of his area representative where he was told that he had better keep his mouth shut about the matter; that if he did complain to anyone, he would be sent home early to Thailand.

His parents in Thailand spent $16,000 for this experience.

It was in the basement of his area representative where he spent his last four weeks.

CSFES is pleased to report Jay was removed from the basement and placed in an actual home where he is thriving.

This is not an isolated incident as the exchange industry would like for you to believe.

CSFES urges all school administrators to report to the CSFES via www.csfes.org  or by calling 866-471-9203 should any students with a similar story appear at their high school.   5-11-07

2007: ASSE blames student for problem-family

Sometimes students are placed with host-families that are trouble. One of the things that happen to the students if they complain about their situation is that, if they are lucky, get re-located, or unlucky, get sent back to their home countries. The below example shows the latter:


Regarding ASSE International participant:  Marc Jaubert of FRANCE

Dear Ms. Melofchik, Ms. Dickerson, Ms. Findlay, Ms. Martin and Ms. Lawrence:

Marc Jaubert of France left Knoxville, Tennessee on August 25, 2007 and is currently living with host family:

Stuart and Heidi Jackson
128 N. Van Brant Blvd.
Kansas City, MO  64123
816-418-3318

It has been reported to CSFES by ASSE International representative Amber Wallen that Marc has been crying uncontrollably since being placed in this home and feels unsafe in the neighborhood.  Amber Wallen’s contact information:  home telephone:  865-947-2823.

Marc Jaubert’s ASSE International area representative in Missouri is:  Christina Evans, telephone:  816-617-5173.

Last week, Ms. Evans gave an ultimatum to Marc that he needs to adjust or he will be sent back home.

Please be advised that on Tuesday, September 4, ASSE International is repatriating Marc Jaubert.

At approximately 8:20 am on Monday, September 3, ASSE International Regional Director Shannon Cochran will remove Marc Jaubert from the Jackson residence and will depart Missouri to France on Tuesday, September 4.

Note the names of former exchange students who were also not able to continue to reside in this residence Marc was placed:

  • Marianne of Norway
  • Rosario of Italy

Please be informed that a student from the Czech Republic has already been selected to be placed in the above-referenced residence.

It is an obvious pattern to blame the student for the placement breakdown.  This is not what the natural parents agreed to when they sent their son/daughter to the United States.

Respectfully,

Danielle Grijalva, Director
Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students
P.O. Box 6496 / Oceanside, CA 92052
www.csfes.org / 866-471-9203

ASSE: Thai student arrived in the US without a school or a permanent host family

Dear Ms. Melofchik, Ms. Dickerson, Ms. Findlay, Ms. Martin and Ms. Lawrence:

Please be advised that ASSE International participant Ravee Suksawat remains in Tennessee without a permanent host family; and remains without a high school to attend.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilburn of Knoxville, Tennessee have hosted Ravee Suksawat for the ESL program and have grown very fond of him.

ASSE International provided Mrs. Wilburn the contact information for Ravee’s next host family for the academic year; a Larry and Janifer Bell of Penokee, Kansas.

On Sept. 1, 2007, Mrs. Wilburn telephoned Mrs. Bell to introduce herself and confirm that Ravee would be on a flight from Tennessee to Kansas departing at 5:44 am the following morning.

Mrs. Bell responded to Mrs. Wilburn that she didn’t know that she and her husband had been accepted, assigned a student to host – or anything.  This concerned Mrs. Wilburn who contacted her local ASSE coordinator Ms. Amber Wallen.  Ms. Wallen suggested that Mrs. Wilburn of Tennessee telephone CSFES.

Mrs. Wilburn decided against Ravee boarding the flight to Kansas the following morning.

I would like to provide you with the following contact information:

Mrs. Theresa Wilburn:  865-922-1858      Tennessee

Mrs. Janifer Bell:              785-421-4118      Kansas

Mrs. Wilburn spoke with Laura Johnson of ASSE International of California.  Mrs. Johnson’s focus was how long ASSE has been in business.  Mrs. Johnson’s focus was how “very reputable” ASSE is” and finally, Mrs. Johnson’s response to Mrs. Wilburn was, “I don’t know why Mrs. Bell said that.”

Kansas’ ASSE area representative, Mr. Ron Fontenot can be reached at 785-737-4951.  It is Mr. Fontenot whose name is listed at Ravee’s ASSE area representative on the ASSE Host Family Placement Form.

When I spoke with Mr. Fontenot; his response was that ASSE’s Valerie Kampfer (785) 266-2715 tells him that ‘this is the way it is supposed to be done.’

While these ASSE representatives appear to focus the blame on the neighboring ASSE representative, the fact remains that Ravee continues to live in Tennessee without a permanent host family or secured high school to attend.

Ravee has contacted his mother in Thailand.  She paid $300 for Ravee to fly to Kansas and also concerned.

Thank you for your immediate attention that this matter deserves.

Respectfully,

Danielle Grijalva, Director

Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students
P.O. Box 6496 / Oceanside, CA 92052
www.csfes.org / 866-471-9203