Local resident, Ann Dick attended EF Foundation for Foreign Study's annual conference March 4 – 6, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. EF Foundation for Foreign Study is the leader in high school exchange, bringing international students to study and live in the US for an academic year. Dick, an International Exchange Coordinator for EF Foundation, joined nearly 400 colleagues from across the country at the three-day event where she was presented with a lifetime achievement award for her 30 years of service to the national non-profit organization.
In her introductory remarks Rose O'Brien, a colleague, recalled meeting Dick when she herself was considering becoming a host parent.
“What I quickly learned from Ann,” O'Brien said, “Was the art of persistence. When she first called us about hosting, I had a hard time committing, but she kept calling back for several weeks. Finally she said, 'Well, when will you decide?' This made me decide to at least make a decision.”
In her three decades with EF Foundation, Dick has placed almost 300 students in her hometown of Grove, which has a population of just 6,000. EF Foundation's students come from 25 countries around the world including China, Germany, Italy, Norway and Australia.
Dick has resided in Grove since 1961, and her husband Thomas (who was a third generation resident of Delaware County), have seen Grove become a more international place, full of precious memories created by hundreds of exchange students and their host families and friends.
She insists that the award she received is not a “retirement” award, and continues to work hard matching students with caring families here in Oklahoma.
“Now, it's not just about letting these students see how special Oklahoma is,” Dick says, “It's about making sure our own kids get to learn more about the world. They're going to need it when the go out and look for jobs.”
As an international exchange coordinator, Dick does more than connect families and students, she stays involved throughout the exchange year to ensure that all participants, including the local high schools where the students are enrolled, are having a positive experience.
“I am very grateful to the schools. They have been very nice to us. For all these years, they have been wonderful,” said Dick.
According to Dick, working with students keeps her young and allows her to help other young people the way people helped her she was adjusting to life in America as a young woman.
To learn more about hosting, you can contact Ann Dick directly at 1-800-462-7172, or visit www.effoundation.org to read letters from the enthusiastic teenagers who are part of the incoming 2011-12 class of exchange students.