The beginning of an extraordinary life!
June 03, 2021 13:41

Ever since my application procedure started, in 1978, I knew I was on a special path. It actually started some 8 years earlier, when my brother was an exchange student in Des Moines, Iowa. From the stories he sent home, I knew that one day I would be in his shoes as an exchange student.

One fine summer day in august 1979 I landed in McCarren airport in the extreme desert heat of Las Vegas. Setting out from Copenhagen, I was destined to Woodland Hills in California, but somewhere over the Atlantic, en-route to transit in Canada, plans changed, and my new home for the year was in Vegas.

At any level, I can truly say that YFU has shaped my life from that moment. My ultimate host family, the Bowers, became my family - and friends I met in high-school my lifelong friends. Just this month, My Mom passed away, 7 years after my DADm, Dr. John. While the sorrow of their passing is overwhelming, the joy they gave me in life will be ever-present.

Back in Denmark in 1980, I discovered that my YFU family extended beyond Las Vegas. For 25+ intense years, I spent a massive amount of my free time working for and with YFU. Staff and volunteers became friends, and I’ve been involved in anything from counselling, to being an area-frep, a regional leader and member of the board. We celebrated YFU-Denmark´s 25-year jubilee (when YFY USA celebrated 35 years) and we had then-president John Richardson as a special guest at our celebration at HC Andersen's garden in Odense, Denmark, and the subsequent evening party close toy our YFU-House in Tommerup.

I’ve had numerous travels to DC - stayed at the log cabin - in dealings with YFU USA - including the rise and fall of SFU (An initiative to exchange athletes in Sports for Understanding).

The “travel bug” that many of us have, thanks to YFU, has brought me around the world; some of my best and lifelong friends are YFU related. My daughter was an exchange student 4 years ago, and we have all been back to visit our family in Las Vegas numerous times, as they have been here.

Both personally and professionally, a total stranger in business becomes an instant friend and ally, when we both discover that we are YFU Alumni’s. It´s pure magic.

YFU has in every way shaped my view and understanding of the world, my friendships, my personality and my career. What Rachel began 70 years ago should be given a post-mortem Nobel Peace Prize, as the movement she stated truly has made more than a dent in many people's universe. YFU has turned many strangers into friends for thousands of us - and I thank her - and all of you, for life truly extraordinary!

Please submit your stories here: YFU Storybook Submission Form

We look forward to receiving all of your stories and reading about the amazing memories made possible through YFU. Thank you for your participation!

Cropped img 7992   henrik meng