In the spirit of Thanksgiving, remember to thank your host families for all the care they have shown you and for their generosity in welcoming you into their home as a member of the family. Do something nice for them: write them a card, make a dessert, or rake up those fallen leaves... a little gesture goes a long way! Better yet, perhaps there's a traditional way of expressing thanks from your home country that you could share!

After reviewing the myriad entries we received, we are excited to announce the winners of the 2016 Pumpkin Carving Contest! Congratulations to first place winner Abbas from Kyrgyzstan! Congratulations also to Anna from Switzerland and Polina from Kyrgyzstan, who tied for second place. Finally, thanks to everyone for sharing your Halloween photos! You can check out all the entries on our Facebook page!
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1st Place - Abbas from Kyrgyzstan
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Abbas' Pumpkins glowing at night
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Tied for 2nd Place - Anna from Switzerland
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Anna's pumpkin glowing at night
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Tied for 2nd Place - Polina from Kyrgyzstan
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Polina's pumpkin glowing at night
Last week, we emailed all students, parents, and host families with the updated NWSE student handbook, which includes amended social media and smart phone rules. Please read the amended rules on page 6 of the handbook. Additional updates about what students should do if they miss a flight are located on page 9. You can find updates about cultural differences and dating on pages 5-6. Please read these amended rules and guidelines closely, as the NWSE handbook is meant to be a useful tool for host families and exchange students alike.

If you have any questions about these updates, please do not hesitate to contact NWSE at nwse@nwse.com or (206) 527-0917.
Ayano Hamao is the Senior Program Assistant at the NWSE Main Office in Seattle. She was born and raised in Japan and has a B.A. in Environmental Science. She worked as an office coordinator in Japan for some time and came to Seattle to study. Upon finishing her program, she joined NWSE. She is very passionate about education because she believes education can broaden people's world views. She also believes studying in a foreign country gives students unique experiences that stay with them for the rest of their lives. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching Japanese and mathematics at a local Japanese international school. She is delighted to be part of the student exchange program's success.
Bridget Potter is the Program Assistant at the NWSE Main Office. She works with the Program Coordinators in their daily program operations and manages the NWSE Facebook page as well as other social media pages. Bridget grew up on Whidbey Island, just north of Seattle. She attended the University of Washington in Seattle, obtaining a B.A. in Theater Arts and Spanish Language and Literature. Her experience with student exchange is two-fold: in high school her family hosted a student from Belgium for one year, and she was also an exchange student herself during university in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One of her favorite things about working for NWSE is getting to see all the student photos and stories during the year; they remind her of her exciting time abroad and all the rewarding experiences that come from student exchange!
Question: I would like to go on a trip with my host family. What do I need to do to get permission?

Answer: Travel Request Forms must be submitted to NWSE well in advance of any planned trips. Do not book any flights or hotels until after your request is approved. There are some circumstances under which NWSE cannot approve such requests. Students or host families may contact their Area Coordinator (AC) to obtain a Travel Request Form. It requires signatures from the natural parents, the student, the host family, and the AC. If the trip will cause the student to miss time at school, a school official must also sign the form.

If a student travels with their host family within the U.S., they must inform their AC and the NWSE Main Office of the dates, nature, and destinations of their trip (including flight itinerary if traveling by air) and provide phone numbers where they can be reached during that time.

For international travel, including to Canada and Mexico, students must also send their original DS-2019 Form to the NWSE Main Office well in advance of the proposed trip so that an NWSE official can validate it for travel and return it to you in time for your departure. This validation signature is required by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement upon reentry to the U.S. We recommend sending your DS-2019 Form at least two weeks in advance of the proposed trip. Students traveling without a travel validation signature may not be able to re-enter the U.S.

Students are responsible for contacting the appropriate embassy or consulate to inquire about whether any additional travel documents or requirements in the destination country are necessary, such as a special tourist or visitor visas or other travel documents.

Question: What if I want request to go on a trip, but my host family will not accompany me?

Answer: Trips without the host family can be permitted only if there is proper adult supervision (for example, by a school teacher, coach, or church representative). NWSE reserves the right to deny a travel request for any reason. Unsupervised travel is strictly prohibited.
Veterans Day is a national holiday in which Americans honor United States military veterans. It is celebrated every November 11. This holiday should not be confused with Memorial Day, which is celebrated in May and honors those who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Veterans Day is a federal holiday (government employees and many private workers are given the day off). Many Americans celebrate by going to parades and other local events to honor veterans.

Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of every November. This year, it will be on November 24. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday with roots in 1621 as a celebration between early New England colonists (the Pilgrims) and a local Native American tribe called the Wampanoags. The story goes that after a harsh winter in 1620, the Pilgrims turned to the Wampanoags to teach them how to fish, hunt, and plant seeds. By the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims had a harvest large enough to feed the whole community, and the Pilgrims and Wampanoags feasted together for three days. Thanksgiving was officially declared a national holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Today, American families celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering together and enjoying a feast of New England dishes such as roasted turkey, yams, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving from your NWSE Team!
We always welcome your program questions and suggestions by emailing nwse@nwse.com or calling our office at 206 527 0917. If included in our newsletter, all submitted questions and suggestions will be published anonymously.

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NorthWest Student Exchange
4530 Union Bay Pl NE, Suite 214
Seattle, WA  USA

Phone : (206) 527-0917
Email : nwse@nwse.com
Website : www.nwse.com

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NorthWest Student Exchange
4530 Union Bay Pl NE
Suite 214
Seattle, Washington 98105

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