Thank you for replying!
I am sorry, it sounds as if you were rather offended by what I was trying to explain. I do not share my brother's views and agree that he is reaching - in fact I have tried to explain about collecting credits and standards and so on, but it will be easier if I can back up what I have been trying to explain with your experiences working with families from abroad - I have worked in the US and Canada but have never gone to high school there. And his experiences are coloured by the fact (and this is true - I have experienced it myself) that all exchange students he's ever known, upon coming back from the US (apart from saying how much they loved it!) brag about how easy the academics were and a number have claimed to have graduated. In fact, I have always wondered about that part of their experience and I know that the former exchange student in my year at least did not graduate from high school, just got a GED.
I also think that him mentioning that he feels their schools are just better than all American schools would be VERY rude.
And I am sure he wasn't going to put it like that in his letter. Nor does he think so (he loves the US, actually) - it's just that he is, apart from being a concerned parent, the kind of corporate type who is made VERY uneasy by the fact that he has no control whatsoever over what school his daughter will be offered! Have some compassion! I think all they can do as a last resort if they feel the school is not right at all is back out of the contract at high cost. it's just the way these programs work, that which host family might be a good fit is determined first and the school the child will go to will be then be determined by what's accessible where the host family is living. In all likelihood, as host families tend live in smaller communities, it will just be the local high school and that will be fine - THB, I am sure my DN could care less about the standards of the school and about graduating, she just wants to travel and meet new friends!
In my role as corporate housewife, I get to talk to families moving to the US for work and it drives me round the bend to listen to flat out statements about education here or our health care system. If you think where you are is better, then stay there. If you want to come here, then do so with an open mind because you want to be here. It's not polite to put down the country to the people who are trying to help you make the transition. It just comes off as snobby.
I have experienced this whenever I have lived abroad myself and agree with you that it is extremely rude, in fact it is one of the things that used to drive me round the bend about my fellow expatriates and immigrants. However, I have also made the experience that it is universal and find it just as rude about expatriates and immigrants moving to where I live now. I think it is hard to be open-minded about the unknown, no matter how voluntary your move is - I am stil practicing myself (note that my brother has *not* lived abroad himself but wants the experience now for his kids).
Depending on what part of the country she is coming to, mentioning if she has studied or would like to study Spanish would be interesting. I think a sentence stating some reason why she wants to come to America would be good -- why not another the UK, Ireland, or Canada if all she wants is to study English. Does she watch American TV, follow American sports? Anything?
She's studied French and Latin, no Spanish. I have wondered about mentioning that myself, it's a good point.
Why she wants to come to America - that's an interesting one. it hadn't even occured to me it needed a justification - doesn't everyone who's young? I remember that people tended to be flabbergasted that my husband (then boyfriend) did not want to come to the US to live with me, and it was even more unimaginable that I was ready to move back to live with him, given that I already had a job in the US and everything? Apart from the fact that the job was temporary, I explained that while I loved living in the US, there was lots of stuff I loved about Europe too and that I did not mind going back. They didn't get it. Seriously.
DN is writing a letter about her motivation too and I think she hasn't even included anything about that either. It probably feels weird to her to mention that she loves American music, and films, and youth culture etc. because it describes exactly 100% of her fellow teenagers...I shall mention it to her that she might want to talk a little about that. I am sure she feels it is a given.