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Brenda Padilla Ericksen

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Brenda is the founder of GAP Academy, where J-1 and F-1 students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to thrive in the USA. She provides cultural diversity and intercultural competence training for US exchange programs, sending organizations worldwide and personnel at multinational companies. Brenda has a Spanish Degree from Western Washington University and has been immersed in cultural diversity for over 30 years as a teacher, journalist and corporate trainer. She is from Seattle, Washington and has lived and worked in Spain for 30 years where she has raised four daughters. She is a former international student (Spain & Norway), host mother (Thailand, France, Austria & USA), and the mother of daughters who exchanged to France, Canada, USA, South Korea & Nepal.
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Recent Posts

What can Polish students teach us about our American culture? Plenty! What surprises them? What are their own particular culture...


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Tags: Cultural Exchange, Exchange Student, Host an exchange student,

What do Brazilians notice when they come to live and study in the United States?


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Tags: Cultural Exchange

What does the USA look like through German eyes?


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Your exchange student has arrived – finally! And it’s so much fun to host until…Wham! Culture shock hits. And your sweet student...


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Exchange students bring magic glasses with them to the USA. Let’s look through their lenses for fresh perspectives on ordinary...


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Tags: Culture Shock

Is it difficult to host an exchange student on a gluten-free diet


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Tags: Host Families, Host an exchange student, Gluten-Free

Hosting an exchange student transforms Christmas into an international event. What could be more fun than sharing your Christmas...


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Tags: Exchange Student, Holidays, Host an exchange student,

A few years ago, the Browns' first exchange student literally stormed out of their home, leaving them heartbroken. Fortunately,...


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Tags: Host Families, Cultural Exchange

Do you want your host family to adore you? Then this post is for you!


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Tags: Cultural Exchange, American values, Gratitude in the USA

The first time we hosted an exchange student, the coordinator gave us a list of topics to discuss with our new student.


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Tags: Host Families

It’s hard to believe that Katie Schlagel is only 18 years old. International youth exchange has made her particularly wise about...


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Tags: Host Families, Exchange Student, Study Abroad

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