On March 8, 2022 the U.S. Department of State issued Case Number 0000167491 to a complaint received from the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES). The complaint outlined the dire circumstances 16-year-old D.A. of Kazakhstan endured while living in Shelton, WA.
[Full name of D.A., a female student from Kazakhstan, is withheld for privacy concerns]
CSFES has received the five-page Terms and Conditions that D.A. and her parents agreed to on 12-02-2020. Nowhere in the Term and Conditions does it state that D.A. and her parents agreed for her to live with a mentally abusive, alcoholic host mother in a toxic environment. Nowhere in the the Terms and Conditions did D.A. and her parents agree for D.A.’s host mother to use D.A.’s debit/credit card to purchase alcohol, hay for the host mother’s horses and gas. Nowhere in the Terms and Conditions does it state that D.A. and her parents agreed for D.A. to eat Raman noodles and macaroni and cheese for dinner for two months, as well as living with dog feces strewn about the residence as evidenced in photos provided by D.A. which have also been forwarded to the State Department. And, finally, nowhere in the Terms and Conditions does it state that D.A.’s pleas for help to her placement agency, Student American International (SAI), headquartered in Myrtle Beach, SC in securing a proper host family would fall on deaf ears.
D.A. returned home to Kazakhstan in February, 2022. She couldn’t take it anymore. D.A. should still be in the United States until June, 2022 attending high school at Shelton High School in Shelton, WA.
Director of CSFES, Danielle Grijalva said, “The fair and appropriate action that must be taken is for SAI to refund D.A.’s parents the equivalent of $9,900 that was spent on program fees, which includes approximately $100 in purchases by the host mother on D.A.’s debit/credit card.”
As of today, the U.S. Department of State has yet to apprise CSFES of its findings. /// nCa, 26 March 2022 (in cooperation with CSFES, California)
Note for editors:
CSFES is a California-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation (EIN 43-2100110) advocating the safety, protection and well-being of exchange students around the world and was instrumental in the strengthening of the U.S. Department of State regulations for the protection of these young people.
CSFES raises public awareness and provides education related to the safety of exchange students to prospective and current, exchange students natural parents and school
administrators, with a specific focus on educating exchange organizations and government agencies to ensure the protection of exchange students around the world.
Presently we are an all-volunteer organization advocating for the safety of foreign exchange students.
CSFES supports cultural exchange and is committed to the idea that every foreign student deserves a safe and memorable exchange experience. We believe without reservation that while these sons and daughters are studying abroad, they should expect and fully deserve, to be treated as if they are our own.
More at website of CSFES – http://www.csfes.org/