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Conversation Corps Members Sometimes Tutor The Famous

on Oct 4, 2011 12:26:00 PM By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Conversation Corps-Italy Conversation Corps
Go to Italy, live with a family and help them with their conversational English skills.  Sounds pretty straight forward.  Until you find out the family you're living with has a child that is very famous and very successful.  And...you're his English tutor.
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Top Five Things NOT To Put In Your GeoVisions Host Family Letter

on Apr 2, 2010 4:11:00 PM By | Randy LeGrant | 2 Comments | Conversation Corps Volunteering Abroad
For the weekend, we are recycling our number one most popular Blog post.  Since this post went live on August 9, 2009 it has been viewed over 4000 times. If you have joined the Conversation Corps, if you are headed abroad to be a Conversation Partner, or if your volunteer project includes a homestay, this post is for you.  It's fun, and very instructive. _______________________________________________________ So you've joined The Conversation Corps! Next item on the "Things To Do" list is write a "Host Family" letter.  Here is one recently submitted to us: Dear Potential Host Family, I love French fashion and French food.  I want to come to Paris and spend my time learning how to design French clothes and show the French fashion industry what I know about French fashion.  I'm also a really good cook so I think that will help me fit in to the culture. 1.  Your "Dear Family" letter is the most important part of your packet.  GeoVisions is out there "marketing" you to families seeking tutors.  Tell them why you have a passion to visit their country.  Explain why you have a keen interest in languages and communication.  Write something funny about conversational English and that you know it's not only difficult but most of the time doesn't make any sense...even to Americans.  Let them know something about your own family and what you've been doing the last few years with your life.  Tell them how friendly you are and that you know one of your "duties" is to respect their family's rules.  You are eager to try all kinds of things and you look forward to meeting them. 2.  When you submit your five photos you want us to show your prospective host family, keep in mind only your closest of friends are interested in your tattoos, piercings and your talent of holding 5 beer bottles with your toes while standing on your head...on the bar.  Mom and Dad are not especially interested in showing your bikini-clad body at spring break to their teen-aged sons.  They don't care what you look like asleep with the marker drawings on your body that your friends drew on you when you were passed out.  They want to see you with clothes on, with your own family, with your friends doing ordinary activities. 3.  Use humor, but don't go overboard.  Don't do this, which is an actual letter we were asked to share with a potential host family: Dear Host Family, I want to come live with you because I hate my own family and living with you could not suck more than the family I live with now.  I am embarrassed about my own family and since no one here knows you...you have to be a step up.  My father is gone and I have no idea where he is nor do I care.  My mother dates an undersea welder who's main function it is not to get blown up.  My sister dates every man in [location left out to protect the innocent]. 4. Don't demand Paris, Rome, Rio, Barcelona, Bangkok, or San Jose.  Tell your potential family you are eager to go where you are needed.  It's OK to tell them you hope it is easy to find public transportation where they live because one of the reasons you want to come to their country is to learn as much as you can about their COUNTRY.  You don't want to tell them you want a central apartment in Madrid to allow you to stay in the clubs until 4:00 a.m. making your return to awaken them early in the morning much easier and safer. 5. Let the family know you hope to travel as much as possible and that if they choose you, you would love to set up a tutoring schedule that matches their expectations to learn Conversational English and also takes into your consideration how much you want to experience their country.  Don't go thinking you are going to SIT in their home all week.  Plan the activities you want to do, read up on the area and make a list of things to do, ask GeoVisions for other hints and ideas to make your 1, 2 or 3 months rewarding...to your host family and to you. GeoVisions can help you prepare the very best Dear Family letter and packet to guarantee your placement.  Our staff has a lot of experience and are available to help you when you decide to join the Conversation Corps.
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Compassion and Volunteering Abroad

I've attached a TED video I hope you will take 10 minutes to view.  If you don't have time right now, please bookmark this post and come back to it to view the video.  TED, as you know, is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from technology, entertainment and design.  But it has now of course grown and you can view more than 450 TED talks online, free, right now at TED.com. A friend of mine sent me a link to Karen Armstrong's 10 minute talk (embedded below) on why we should revive the Golden Rule.  I started thinking about what I've been doing the past 35 years in my professional life, what GeoVisions does, and if our volunteer abroad and teach abroad programs (and those volunteers who participate) practice compassion, or do we focus mainly on ourselves? "Always treat all others as you'd like to be treated yourself."  Armstrong points out also, however, that equally important is the negative version--"Don't do to others what you would not like them to do to you."
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