What do our alums have to say about MCOW?
- I think this program is one-of-a-kind and presents an opportunity that is truly unique because it’s something that directly impacts how these students see the world and think about their place in it. A huge impact on every person who participates. Seeing that is what teachers dream about!
- A truly transformative experience! A unique opportunity to dig into the day to day lifestyle of a culture different than my own; build relationships with incredibly selfless, generous, and kind people; and explore rich history of a beautiful place! My heart will forever be changed.
- I guess “beyond description” is what comes to mind first. It’s an educational goldmine – more impactful to kids than anything I’ve seen during 20+ years of teaching. Phenomenal!
- An adventure filled with community and culture!
- If you enjoy roles similar to teaching, coaching, or mentoring students in these tween years, this experience as a chaperone is nothing like you will have ever experienced! Watching students grow in their social, mental, and cultural awareness is rewarding. Such a rare opportunity to step outside all your norms of everyday life at home to experience local, authentic, and meaningful New Zealand connections.
- I was pretty sure it was going to be incredible, but it exceeded my expectations in every way and was nothing short of spectacular!
- I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my lifetime. A “wow” at the highest level. I’d go again in a heartbeat!
- I couldn’t believe how much was packed into the trip – every minute was thought out and every detail was well planned. I can’t imagine any other foreign trip could top this!
- It was so rewarding to have a small group of kids and watch how they reacted to different situations we encountered. I saw every kid learn, change, and grow during our time in New Zealand. It’s no exaggeration to say this trip is like no other. The amount of tears shed the day we left said it all. I have no doubt every kid returned to the US different than when we left.
- The friends you will make and the experiences you will have are more than enough to make all the meetings, forms, paperwork, and fundraising worth it! It was amazing and I had a fabulous time!
- Our daughter came back from NZ being interested in climate change, history, geography, and cooking for the first time in her life. We can already tell this experience had an enormous impact on her.
- Even though it’s been 19 years since my son went, I still keep in touch regularly with his host family. We have gone there to see them and they’ve come here to see us. I think I am as close to our Kiwi family as I am to my biological family. It’s really been just the greatest thing!
- My daughter and her New Zealand “sister” have texted each other almost every day for the past 3 years. They talk on facetime every week too. Though together for only a month, they are the best of friends and seem like true sisters. To our family the exchange program has been priceless.
- Our daughter participated in the student exchange trip to Invercargill, New Zealand several years ago. Although she is a military brat and she’s seen many parts of the world, we can tell this life experience has definitely broadened her world perspective. In addition, her New Zealand host family made the whole exchange experience wonderful for us back in Tacoma by keeping in touch with us weekly and sending photos of everything they did. This was a once in a lifetime experience and extended family bond that our daughter will have forever. We HIGHLY recommend this exchange program to other students and parents.
- The experience of being involved in this program has been a truly amazing one for my kids and our family. It’s something we will never forget, with the lifelong friends we made and all those we crossed paths with. It is one big exchange family with the common bond of sharing this truly life-changing experience. Even now after many years, when I hear a new story about the adventure it makes me feel proud. Your child will come home full of excitement and you’ll see how they have grown to a new level of maturity. Thank you to Meeker Middle School and James Hargest College for continuing a truly unique tradition.
USA Student Ambassadors
- It was pretty much the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. If you combined Disneyland, Hawaii, a cruise, a ski trip, the beach, i-Fly, and Great Wolf Lodge, I’d say going on this trip is even better than all that combined!! Super awesome! Super fun! Super educational!
- It was a life-changing experience for sure. I went half-way around the world and got to meet people that became just like my sister and brother and taught me tons of new things.
- You should do this. Going to New Zealand is so much fun and it’s also hard work. Just do your best to make it happen. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Do not be worried, everything is super organized.
- My advice for the NZ trip is to bring an extra hat, because the wind might blow your hat away. And you definitely need a hat on most days.
- You’re only going to be on this trip once. Enjoy it while you can. If you don’t get along with someone, just be nice to them anyway because you’ll regret arguing. Just relish every moment with these people, because you will never go on a trip like this again. You’ll miss the group camaraderie and all the experiences you had together. You will even miss the bad times. Just remember that. I wouldn’t change a thing!
- You need to do this! Here are some tips. Sleep on the flight from LAX to Auckland! Don’t spend all your money in the first week! Don’t be afraid of your host family! Try all the new foods they have! You will love going on this trip, I promise.
- Make sure to get along with everyone – the people you are traveling with, the host family you’re staying with, and even just people you meet along the way. If you don’t get along with everyone, then you’re not going to have a trip of a lifetime. Just do it!
- Always be willing to try something new. Always have an open mind. Keep in mind the sacrifice that your host family is making to host you. Sleep on the flight to Auckland. Don’t spend all your time missing home. Don’t be afraid to talk about your homesickness with your host family. Before the trip, really get to know your fellow ambassadors. Take lots of pictures during the trip. Have an awesome time!!
- See the world through someone else’s eyes. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. These are some things you should try in New Zealand: iced hot chocolate, cheese rolls, hokey pokey ice cream, Crunchies, Jaffas, Moros, fish & chips, foods that your host family will make for dinner. Have fun! Make lots of memories! And try to take into account other people’s needs, wants, and feelings. Though you may not think you are offending someone, you might be.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to see new things, learn new things, eat new things. Because you probably won’t ever get the chance to be on a trip like this again – it’s the trip of a lifetime.
- As a military kid, going on this trip wasn’t that hard for me, except I was the one leaving for awhile instead of my parents. I’d recommend sleeping on the long flights for sure, even though it might be uncomfortable. And don’t bring anything expensive that you could lose. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. But most of all, just have fun! And remember how lucky you are to be going on this trip!
- The day we saw where they filmed “Lord of the Rings” and then going to the Peter Jackson movie studio was one of my best days ever, because I love those movies. But after that it only got better. We did so many cool things like the zipline, the mayor’s office, the farms, and seeing animals that only live in New Zealand. My advice is you really gotta do this. There were a bunch of meetings at first, but its totally worth it when you get on the plane. It is as awesome as everybody tells you its going to be.
- Make sure to being good shoes and enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity!
- Have fun and don’t complain. Just remember the sacrifice it took for you to get there.
- The fundraising is so worth it!!! Some days are tiring, but it’s so worth it because you will make lifelong friends and it will be awesome.
- Embrace every opportunity to learn new things and meet new people – you’re in a completely different world so take it all in and appreciate it as much as you can.
- Be in the moment and have fun. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s actually nice being un-plugged and not having phones. You will make a lot of friends.
- I LOVED IT!!!!!!
- It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – what else can you say?!
- Having a Kiwi stay with us was amazing! We loved every minute of it and hope we can do it again.
- You will not want to miss the chance to host. It’s exciting for the whole family, but it goes quickly. Make the most of your time with your Kiwi because they are only here for a short amount of time. Have a great time and make sure to enjoy every moment. Have fun and make them feel at home!
- Make every day with your Kiwi count, because the time will go by quickly. We had a blast!
- This program is incredible and it changes so many lives. Even after the Kiwis went home to the other side of the world, I still feel like a have a best friend who is always going to be there for me.
- Everything in the Hosting Program is done so well, with incredible detail and amazing organization.
- We got to host an amazing student from New Zealand, which was great. But just as great was that we also got to know a new group of families in our community who were also host families. We loved that!
- We hosted once and enjoyed it so much we hosted again! Everything about it was fantastic and easy. Our family got to learn about a different culture from a faraway place and we feel lucky to have that chance.
- Why do this? Why not?!! How many kids do you know who can say they had somebody from a foreign country come and live in their house? My kids probably won’t have another opportunity to do something quite like this again. It was a great educational and cultural experience.
- Amazing!! I wish my family had the chance to do this when I was in middle school. How lucky we are to have this program right in our back yard – I think it’s incredible.
- Everybody I know who’s hosted a Kiwi has said the same thing: you will love it. They were right, we did! The amount of effort it took was pretty small, and the return we got back was huge.