A friend of mine is currently dealing with the culture shock of her 15 year old Brazilian exchange student – poor girl longs to go back to the simplicity of her little village. I offered the following true story and resultant advice, which I share with you today as a public service.
We had an exchange student from Germany who came for one reason and one reason only — Burger King Whoppers. It was Mad Cow Disease time in EU, and there was no beef, plus Whoppers in Germany were about the price of a good used Volvo wagon (automatic, not manual).
He also had culture shock. "Is it true," he asked me, "that in America I can't have sex with a girl in my own bedroom at home, and that the law is that we must have sex in a car?"
"Yes," I assured him, "that is the law."
"But under the terms of my coming here, I cannot have a drivers license or drive a car. How am I supposed to have sex if it is a law that I cannot have sex in my own room here?"
"It is for precisely this reason," I explained, "that we have an elaborate system of city buses." I then detailed the numbering system for him: the #1 was for people of either gender who were "by themselves," #2 was for couples, and the higher numbers were for the more adventurous and diverse.
"But are there not children on the bus as well," he asked with obvious concern.
"Well, yes, but they are not allowed to participate. The driver watches in his rear view mirror to make sure that the little ones behave. Kids 13-15. however, do get school credit in sex education if they take notes and pictures and give a report to the class at the end of the quarter."
He seemed rather saddened by these most unusual cultural conditions, sighed, and then asked one more unrelated question. "I heard that in America the Footballers control the school. Is that true?" By footballers he meant "jocks" or foot ball players.
"Yes, absolutely. They have complete dominance over all aspects of your life while you are there. You must obey them at all times, do whatever they ask – no matter how degrading, humiliating, or `against nature.'
If you should have problems of pain or rectal bleeding — most common the
first week or two until you adapt — there is a school nurse available."
Needless to say, his first few days of high school were characterized by a high level of anxiety. He nervously yet emphatically declined purchasing a student discount bus pass.
He was a nice kid, and we overlooked him coming home stoned out of his mind from hanging out with the son of an old pal of mine whom I knew smoked more pot than every member of the Grateful Dead combined. When he decided, however, to smoke a joint in the house on the last day of school, and just before we were taking him on a vacation to Palm Springs for two
weeks, we had to intervene.
Under terms of his exchange, we were to report him if he did
drugs. As it was a Federal Program, he would have not only been kicked out, but forbidden to ever return to the USA. So, we violated the terms, didn't report him, but made him call his mom and tell her that he screwed up by smoking dope in the host family's house. The silly kid didn't think us old folks would know the smell! It was my then wife who busted him.."I was you age in the '60's! Of course I know dope when I smell it, especially cheap
skunk weed like the crap you're smoking."
So, perhaps you should take your little Brazilian student, get her high, and put her on the #2 bus. By the time she gets back from her ride, she will be completely Americanized and begging to go to the mall.