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No. 53 (December 1965)
– 53 –

THE AMERICAN
FIELD SERVICE

Exchange Scholarships to Foster
International Friendship

The American Field Service is a private organisation, with no religious or political affiliations, which sponsors international scholarships for young people as a means of furthering friendship and understanding among the peoples of the world.

Students from more than 70 countries attend American secondary schools throughout the country for a year of study and first-hand experience, while American teenagers in their turn are able to study and live with families in other countries—a two-way experience of seeing, showing and understanding. Last year for example, American Field Service placed over 2,000 students in American homes, and sent abroad over 1,000 Americans.

‘Adopted’ by New Zealand Families

Every year some 30 American high school students spend a school year living as members of New Zealand families. Students are carefully chosen for their academic ability, personal qualities, social maturity and interest in people, and for their wish to further the aims of the Field Service organisation.

The students enter lower Sixth Forms in New Zealand schools in February and participate fully in school, home and community life. Departure is in August, near the end of the term.

All New Zealand families interested in the idea of ‘adopting’ an American teenager for a period of six months are visited by an American Field Service representative in order to talk over all aspects of the scheme, and in an attempt to match students and families with similar interests.

The families do not receive payment for taking students, this being contrary to A.F.S. policy, as it would change the relationship between student and family. The parents have the same authority over the student as over their own children, and therefore the same responsibility for giving him care and attention. To cover incidental expenses the A.F.S. student brings his own pocket money, approximately £4 per month.

The New Zealand American Field Service organisation would be especially pleased to hear from any Maori family considering ‘adopting’ an American teenager (boy or girl) for six months; any interested families should contact:—

The National Secretary, American Field Service, P.O. Box 3683, WELLINGTON.

Readers may be interested to know that there have been several Maoris among the New Zealanders who have visited America as field scholars. They are:

1956 Tuhingaia Aspell (nee Barclay)
1956 Mervyn Taiaroa
1957 Ngaio Wharekura (nee Te Rito)
1958 Clifford Matthews
1959 Hinekino Brown (nee Wills)
1959 Tungia Sidwell (nee Baker)
1960 Jon Berghan
1961 Keri Kaa
1962 Marama Paewai
1963 Timothy Te Heuheu

From time to time there has been some criticism of the scheme; many people feel that a year overseas at high school level is not beneficial, because some students have found it difficult to settle down and adjust to New Zealand conditions upon their return.

From my own experience I would say that travelling and meeting people is itself an education. As exchange students are a centre of attraction at school and in the community, one must be on one's guard against the danger of being carried away by so much attention from the people one meets. But if one is interested in other people, one can gain a great deal in understanding and appreciating another way of life.

This is of course in keeping with the American Field Service motto, a saying translated from Sanskrit:

‘Walk together, talk together, O ye peoples of the Earth, then and only then shall ye have peace.’

A new dining-hall is planned for the historic Wairaka marae on the Whakatane waterfront. The old one it replaces will continue to be used as a play centre and a scout and cub den.