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Nacel Open Door Network Voices


More DC/NYC Photos, Page 2...Program Updates, Pages 4-5...Advisor's Angle, Page 6... CultureNotes, Page 7

DC/NYC TOUR A SMASHING SUCCESS A group of Academic Year Program (AYP) students living in communities across the Midwest got to experience the sights, sounds, food, and fun of two of America's most famous cities.

and Vietnam War Memorials, and the U.S. Capitol building. "One of my favorite things was visiting so many new, incredible places, and I learned a lot about U.S. history," said Vitoria, a student from Brazil.

Departing on November 11 from Minnesota, the first stops on the trip were to pick up students along the way in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The bus drove through the night, and the next morning the group arrived at the National Mall in D.C.

Then it was off to the Big Apple! Students are always eager to visit New York City, and America's largest city never disappoints. After meeting up with tour guides, students got to take in Grand Central Station, Fifth Avenue for shopping, the Rockefeller Center, explored Central Park, and capped the day with a trip up the Empire State Building to see the endless lights of the city at night.

Touring America's capital over the course of three days, the group visited some of the U.S.'s most recognizable monuments and buildings, including the Smithsonian Museums, the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt Memorials, the Washington Monument, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Arlington Cemetery, Kennedy Center, Ford's Theater, the WWII, Korean,

The fun didn't stop on day two in NYC, which included a ride on the Staten Island Ferry for a nice view of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, and all capped off with a Broadway show "Once on This Island". The show was unique, with seats circled around a stage covered in sand. Some in the group had front row seats, with one student -1-

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February 2018

Google Maps says the bus ride from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Washington, D.C., takes over 17 hours (and 18 on the way back from New York City). But the long haul was definitely worth it for the group of 80 AYP students, host siblings, and chaperones who took part in this epic annual trip organized by NOD Coordinator Diane Japke.

Nacel Open Door Network Voices


gushing about the show exclaiming, "I even got sand in my shoe!" The students spent the last morning in NYC exploring, shopping, and eating their way through Chinatown. Then it was a five-hour drive to Johnson City, or roughly halfway between NYC and Niagara Falls, and the students got a chance to relax a bit after a whirlwind week. A visit to Niagara Falls capped off the trip, and after lunch, the bus turned west to drive back through the night. Everyone made it home safe (and very tired!) on November 19. "My favorite part of the trip was meeting new friends, new best friends, and maybe family!," said Fadlan, a student from Indonesia. "It was a very memorable experience for me, and I feel so lucky ... during the trip we had so much fun!" This trip means a lot to our AYP students for a variety of reasons, but especially since they don't get to choose where they end up spending their year here in the U.S. It's also important because it allows them to interact with other international students in AYP. "Having the opportunity to spend time with other exchange students, I'll remember for life the moments we shared and the friends I made," Vitoria said. NOD Marketing Project Specialist Tate Vaughan, who was a chaperone on the trip, said it was rewarding watching the students interact. "They all bonded right away. Not just students from the same country, but everyone. It was really cool to witness," Tate said. "They were so excited to visit these American cities and have this experience like none other. I think it was a great way for students to learn about the U.S. in a fun and engaging way that they don't get in a classroom." New places. New friends. New lifelong memories. And another successful AYP trip is in the books!


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SHARING AMERICA We receive so many wonderful photos of our students, we just have to share as many as we can! Seeing students interacting with their host families, taking part in clubs and activites at their schools, attending events organized by local reps and coordinators, and being fully embraced by communities across the U.S. is a great way to tell our story! Thanks to all members of our network who share pictures with us!


Senior Management Team Dr. Frank Tarsitano, PhD – CEO & President Mr. Jean Burdin – President, Nacel International Mr. Roy S. Nilsson – CFO

Advisory Board Mr. Jean Burdin – President, Nacel International Mr. Pierre Coudry – Interclass Brazil Ms. Toni Cowles – Retired, Lauder Institute at the Wharton School, UPENN Mr. Jaeho Eohm – International Language Forum, Korea Dr. Abraham Ho, DA – Nacel Asia Ms. Marie Jose Huc – CLC Newsletter Production Staff Shannon Christle, MAPA – Director of Marketing & Communications Shane Koob – Marketing & Communications Assistant Tate Vaughan - Marketing & Communications Specialist


February 2018

Board of Directors Dr. Frank Tarsitano, PhD – Chairman Mr. Steve Murphy – Secretary Ms. Alice Murphy – Treasurer Mr. Gerard Avundo Mr. Francois Jean Huc Ms. Hilda Jaffe

Nacel Open Door Network Voices

KEEPING UP WITH NOD PROGRAMS CONGRESS-BUNDESTAG VOCATIONAL YOUTH EXCHANGE (CBYX) CBYX participants are a busy bunch these days! Having taken part in German language education, CBYX participants are now in the midst of a wide variety of internships, everything from working in a jewelry shop, forestry, and even observing surgeries at a small hospital. Participants have had many chances to discover possible career paths to take after their year in Germany is over. The group also just wrapped up their mid-year seminar in Berlin, where they got to meet Tina Parlow. Tina was an outspoken and brave youth activist in 1988-89, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of borders between East and West Germany.

ST. PAUL PREPARATORY SCHOOL (SPP) With finals and the first semester in the books, we said goodbye to 14 wonderful students who either finished their schooling or are returning to their home country. While goodbyes are always difficult, we also got to welcome a group of new students with the start of the second semester on January 31. And we've been in full swing ever since! The JV and varsity basketball teams continue to pile up wins, the math team has been practicing and competing, our board games, dance, and other clubs remain active, and auditions for the one-act play are right around the corner! For more information about SPP, visit or email

NACEL INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SYSTEM (NISS) We are excited to open the SPP International Scholars Program on Hill-Murray's campus in fall 2018. We've recently chosen local reps for this program, with training slated for March 14-15. We have also selected Martina Di Silvio-Sabah to oversee the program at Hill-Murray, and she is currently accepting student applications for fall 2018. Martina currently works at SPP as the International Admissions Specialist. SPP is also in talks with another school about a potential "school within a school" partnership similar to the arrangement with Hill-Murray, with the goal of maintaining an international community of students while having a strong STEM subject focus. More information on this will be available to our network shortly. For more detailed information or questions about NISS, contact Gina Robertson at


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PRIVATE SCHOOL PROGRAM (PSP) Many of our PSP students travel during the Lunar New Year holiday. Please encourage students to follow their school calendars and policies regarding travel and missed school days. A Travel Proposal Form is required for all independent travel. If you have any questions regarding travel policies, please contact NOD Travel Coordinator, Danny Reardon ( PSP is excited to announce the addition of our boarding school program for 2018-19. We now work with 25 boarding schools across the U.S. If you have students interested in this branch of PSP, please contact PSP Director Vicki Pelletier ( For more information or questions about PSP, contact Vicki Pelletier at

SHORT TERM PROGRAM (STP) We welcomed a group from Argentina in early January to spend a month of their summer break in the snow and cold of Minnesota! Students lived with host families and shadowed local students at Bethlehem Academy and Loyola Catholic in Faribault and Mankato, Minnesota. We also currently have a group of 16 Chinese students touring private schools in the Twin Cities for possible enrollment in PSP this fall. We will also hold our annual Short Term Program local rep training conference March 9-11. Please contact Chrysanne for details.

The Argentinian STP group is back in Minnesota!

For more information or questions about STP, contact Chrysanne Manoles at

ACADEMIC YEAR PROGRAM (AYP) AYP is starting to place students for the upcoming August Placement Season, and we are on pace to have a fantastic year. Thanks for all the hard work so early in the season! If you know a family who wants to host a particular kind of student next year, let the office know. For more information or questions about AYP, contact Erin McGregor at


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ADVISOR'S ANGLE: #METOO CAMPAIGN & STUDENT EXCHANGE By: Janel Cook, NOD Student & Host Family Advisor Sexual harassment is uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student). The hashtag #MeToo has become a social media phenomenon lately. By using this hashtag on social media, women are sharing their stories of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. As #MeToo has gained momentum, we are witnessing that many women have experienced these incidents. It is important to remember that boys and men can also be victims of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. Cultural norms for men place them in a position that causes embarrassment in vocalizing that they too can be victims.

If an NOD student were found to be a harasser or abuser while on program, their program would be immediately terminated. Moreover, the student may be subject to school policies and USA laws. Students are recommended to take precautions for their own safety while on program such as walking in groups instead of alone and not being distracted by devices when out in public so that they are fully aware of their surroundings. While the majority of students have a positive experience on program free from sexual harassment, it is still important to be knowledgeable about the topic. Knowledge leads to prevention and early detection. We fully acknowledge that this is not an easy topic to discuss but also acknowledge that that does not make it any less important. We are all stronger when all genders of all ages enable one another to be kind and respectful of personal boundaries. Questions or comments? Email

Exchange students may be particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment or abuse for several reasons: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Initially, a lack of close and familiar relationships Place a lot of trust in adults caring for them Spotty understanding of the English language Cultural differences in body language, physical boundaries 5. Are unfamiliar with their host communities

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Sexual harassment is often difficult to identify because encounters such as simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents, can seem harmless and minor. When this type of behavior becomes frequent or severe, it can create a hostile or offensive environment. It is considered sexual harassment because it interferes with a student’s concentration, comfort level, and feeling of safety in an environment. If a student experiences sexual harassment or the like, they are strongly urged to speak with a trusted adult as soon as possible. This could be their host parent, a teacher, a coach, or their local rep or coordinator. Please note the importance of a local adult being made aware of the situation before the natural parents are notified. Students can also call the national office 1-800-622-3553 at any time. -6-





Nacel Open Door Network Voices


Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” for its friendly, peaceful, soft-spoken people. The Thai are generally non-confrontational and value harmony in relationships, and this etiquette is based largely in Buddhism, as more than 90 percent of Thais are Buddhist. Because of this peaceful nature, many Thais find it difficult to openly disagree, and open criticism is seen as a form of violence. It is important to watch for non-verbal cues to determine if your student might be upset. In Thailand, rice is the main dish of every meal, including breakfast. Your student will not be used to how much bread and potatoes Americans tend to eat. The general eating utensils in Thailand are a fork and spoon, and sticky rice is sometimes eaten with the fingers. Beverages are rarely served with meals, and it is considered proper etiquette to leave some food on one’s plate at the end of a meal, as finishing everything indicates one is still hungry. In Thailand, shoes are removed whenever entering a room as well as before entering a church or school. When making a welcome sign or wrapping a gift for your Thai student, avoid using green, black, or blue, as these are associated with funerals and mourning.

INTRODUCING... Alex Anderson, AYP Administration Specialist If you've had students in the Academic Year Program (AYP) in the past year, chances are you are familiar with Alex Anderson, our AYP Administration Specialist. If not, we are officially introducing you to her! Alex grew up in suburbs around the Twin Cities, and just moved into her first home in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota! Alex studied at the University of Minnesota, earning a B.A. in Asian Language and Literature. During college, Alex studied abroad at Hiroshima University in Japan for 11 months, which she calls the best year of her life so far! Since joining NOD on May 31, 2017, Alex has been an important addition to our AYP operations. She processes all AYP paperwork for host families, receives student applications, sends out Match Abroads and placement information, and also works with students to make sure their immunizations are up to date (so if you have any immunization questions, she's the one to ask!). "The thing I enjoy most about my position is knowing that I am helping our students realize their own dreams of learning a different language and culture abroad," Alex said. "I had the same dreams, and it was amazing to finally experience studying abroad. So, for me, it feels good to be a part of helping students achieve this." If Alex had any advice for our network to give students, it's to be prepared to go outside of your comfort zone. -7-

"When I studied abroad, I made a point to always say yes when offered to try food, even if it was foods I knew I didn't like," Alex said. "I constantly had to push myself to get out there and meet new people, and I also had to make many mistakes in order to learn. It was sometimes hard or embarrassing, but I would not have learned or experienced as much as I did without trying." Alex also wanted to let our network know that she will always confirm the receipt of any attachments, forms, or applications sent to her. We are extremely happy to have Alex as part of our team. Please feel free to reach out to her regarding any AYP paperwork or other questions you may have. Alex can be reached at

February 2018


NOD Voices - February 2018  

A quarterly newsletter for our network.

NOD Voices - February 2018  

A quarterly newsletter for our network.