"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." -- Maya Angelou
It’s safe to say those words spoken by Maya Angelou, instilled in our hearts, a passion for cultural understanding through international exchange. Not long after joining our 'personal cultures' in a March 2013 celebration of marriage, we found ourselves with a longing to share it with others. In the fall of 2015 we anxiously welcomed Lena from Germany into our home. Not only did Lena gain the love and support of a second family, and friendships established nearly half a world away; a knowledge of cultural understanding was gained that will certainly be passed on for generations to come on both sides of the pond.
Our passion for cultural awareness through international travel wasn’t just sparked through our marriage, and unforgettable French Polynesian honeymoon, but was more deeply rooted in our individual upbringings. For Nathan it began when his family chose to host the Middleburgs from Glandorf, Germany; a sister city of Nathan’s hometown. This relationship continues to grow stronger over the years, as it evolved from mini cassette tapes, to Skype, and now modern day social media; not to mention the occasional international flight and unannounced birthday surprise.
For Mallory, it started when her grandmother would return from her travels with souvenirs in hand – most memorable was a wiggly decorative Hawaiian sea turtle. From there it evolved into a dream to study abroad herself, ultimately landing her in a Costa Rican home away from home, where she established her own second family and lifelong friendships.
We reminisce about these past experiences that brought us where we are today. Both Mallory and Lena’s experiences could not have happened without the financial support from some special people in their lives.
With that, the idea of FES (Foreign Exchange Student) Outfitters was born; pronounced ‘FEZ’. Owned and operated by Nathan and Mallory, FES Outfitters was created out of the desire to allow citizens from all walks of life, to write their own stories of study abroad education. With a successful commemorative clothing campaign, our goal is to offer a scholarship for those students that don’t have the financial means to study abroad. However, they hold the utmost passion for worldwide cultural understanding in their hearts, much like the one Maya Angelou.
From one host family to another… Help us 'Thread the World's Cultures' with each supporting purchase!
Mallory and Nathan