When my students travel to my country

Another student of mine left for a trip to the U.S. this week – that’s the third one in three months.

It evokes a strange blend of emotions in me.

There’s nostalgia, as I miss my family and wish I could visit.

There’s jealousy, as my student is going to my homeland while I, because of financial reasons and other commitments, cannot.

There’s frustration because one of my dreams is to travel to the U.S. with my husband… but a number of stars have to line up exactly right in order for that to happen, and I sometimes have a hard time believing that they will.

There’s excitement, as my student will get to test his or her English in real-life situations, and I’m always eager to hear how they did.

But most of all there’s a sort of anxiousness mixed with hopefulness. I’ve spent months investing in my students… helping them communicate better, celebrating their breakthroughs in learning English, encouraging them through their frustrations, listening to their hopes and fears, and answering their questions about things in the States.

Now that they are going to experience the real deal, I wonder how my country and my people will receive them. Will they be welcomed with open arms as a guest? Or will they be looked down on as someone with “broken English” from a third-world country? My students have had such different experiences in the U.S. – some love the efficiency and the infrastructure and describe the people as friendly… whereas others have been treated rudely by people and police.

Will my homeland be kind to my student? I am anxious and hopeful that it will.