Beacon Tabs OSU Extension 100 Years - Page 5

International Foreign Youth Exchange holds lifelong memories for participants By Beth Scott COSHOCTON – In 1957, Alice Moore’s life changed when she became the fi rst person from Coshocton County to participate in the International Foreign Youth Exchange (IFYE) program. “I had known about the program from the beginning,” she said. “We had had an exchange student in our home from Japan.” IFYE began shortly after World War II and the fi rst exchange took place in 1948 when 17 students from the United States traveled to diff erent countries through- out the world to gain a better understanding of various cultures. Nine years after its inception, Moore traveled to Sweden and left the United States on June 16, 1957, only two days after graduating from Th e Ohio State Universi- ty. “At that time, I don’t think we had a choice on where we could go,” said Moore. “I got this thing started and it just swept through the county. I believe over the years, fi ve or six students from Coshocton County were able to go.” Moore stayed in Sweden for fi ve months, returning to the United States that November. “I learned a lot of things,” she said. “How their farmers do their work and how their mothers took care of their children and how they travel.” Not only was Moore the fi rst student from the county to participate in the program, she also was the only one to travel to her host country via boat. She returned to the States on Th e Queen Mary. Moore said her experience in Sweden was something she will never forget and that she kept in contact with some of her host families over the years. “I got to spend time with my fellow IFYEs and learn about them,” said Moore. “It was a wonderful experi- ence.” However, when Moore returned to New York in No- vember, she had contracted the Asian Flu. “When we got back to New York, the grocery manufac- turers were hosting our group at the Waldorf Astoria for breakfast,” she said. “I felt horrible, but I thought, I’ll nev- er get this experience again, so I have to go, and I did.” “One time, I was in a village for two weeks where no one spoke English. We had to communicate via sign language.” - Bob Buxton While in Sweden, Moore had the opportunity to travel for a week and went north of the Arctic Circle and stayed in an igloo. She was also able to visit Switzerland and Holland before returning to the United States. After her return, Moore gave speeches on her time in Sweden. “I stopped counting after 100,” said Moore. “I didn’t turn anyone down if they wanted me to speak.” One person that Moore inspired to participate in the IFYE program through one of her speeches was Bob Buxton. Buxton traveled to India in 1969 and he is planning to attend a 50th anniversary convention to visit with other APRIL 17, 2019 about everything from how to plant and cultivate rice to how to prepare a meal in the Indian kitchen and how marriages are performed in India. “One thing we had to do was write a newsletter every month,” said Buxton. “We sent the letter to our state 4-H extension specialist and then she would type it up and send to our families.” “Our objective was to work with their 4-K program to develop small projects to raise in the home.” - Phyllis Debnar Contributed Phyllis Debnar traveled to India as part of the Internation- al Foreign Youth Exchange Program; however she was exposed to the culture long before she traveled there. She is pictured at left with an exchange student from India who was staying with her neighbors the Martin Family. Debnar was about 5-years-old in this picture. people from around the country who have participated in the IFYE program. When Buxton went to India, there was a group of seven who went with him, two being from Ohio. He remembers buying a new Miranda camera and sending pictures and letters back home to his family. “It was a true cultural exchange program,” said Buxton. “We didn’t stay in hotels. We stayed with host families.” Buxton said that the language barrier was not a prob- lem as most Indians spoke English as a second language. “One time, I was in a village for two weeks where no one spoke English,” he said. “We had to communicate via sign language.” He remembered that village was like a wagon wheel where there was a well at the center and the village was situated around the well consisting of 30 to 40 families. He also remembers one host family who had electric- ity, which was scarce in that country, and Buxton was able to take a bath in a trough with clean running water. His host family was amazed by his shampoo he used to wash his hair. “I think it gave me a greater appreciation for what we have here,” said Buxton. “I like to tell people my experi- ences and encourage 4-H and FFA members to partici- pate to broaden their horizons.” While in India, Buxton wrote home once a week and would sometimes only receive mail every couple of weeks, depending on where he was in India. He visited three diff erent geographical areas in India and wrote Th e last week Buxton was in India, he traveled to Dar- jeeling. “Th e last week we were in India, we got to do a little R&R and we traveled to Darjeeling, which is the only place in India where you can see Mt. Everest. Th ey told us to get up early because the sunrise would be spectac- ular, and it was. On our way back to the United States, one girl in our group had a friend who was married to a guy in the Army, so we fl ew back through Europe and spent some time in Austria, England, and Germany. One night, we got to see Ginger Rogers in London. Th at was a neat experience.” Phyllis Debnar was inspired to travel through the IFYE program from her 4-H advisor, Olive Martin. She and Martin’s son, Ron, went the same year. “She was constantly motivating you to do something new, something diff erent,” said Debnar. Debnar traveled to Kenya, Africa. “Th ey had a program there similar to 4-H called 4-K,” she said. “Our objective was to work with their 4-K pro- gram to develop small projects to raise in the home.” While in Africa, Debnar lived with 15 host families and moved each week to a diff erent family. She lived with eight to 10 diff erent tribes where at least one person spoke English. Twelve of her host families lived in mud houses and she was surprised that some of her host families had more than one wife. She wrote in one of her newsletters that one of her host father’s wives was only one year older than she was. She said that one family had a tea plantation and she learned about tea production while another raised hogs and after Debnar returned to the United States, he came and stayed with her family. She also stayed with fi sher- men, dairy farmers, and wheat producers. “Th e farming was so diverse depending on what part of the country you’re in,” said Debnar. “It was just a new appreciation to experience a diff erent lifestyle and country and what the people have been through. It was just a cultural awakening and being more accepting of diversities. One of the mothers I worked with wanted me to learn to sew and make a basket. We put in an Amer- ican nickel and a Kenyan nickel and a couple of stones. Just a person extending themselves to you that you’ll probably never see again. I’m hoping that Coshocton can get kids interested in it. I think this is still a really sound program. It gives them a good background living in another country.” For more information on IFYE, visit their website at THE BEACON 5-B