JA Principles Overcome Favorable Exchange Rate

The vital money-management lessons taught in Junior Achievement programs know no boundaries. A recent situation shared by Linda Strosnider, area program coordinator from Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, proves that to be true.

Fisnik (Nik) Daci is from Oslo, Norway. Although Nik was born in Norway, he is quite proud of his Albanian heritage. His parents escaped Albania's political conflict years ago and moved to Switzerland, before settling in Norway. Nik has spent his senior year of high school as a foreign exchange student in Washington, Ind. at Washington Catholic High School (WCHS). While at WCHS, Nik, an avid soccer fan, played on the school's soccer team. He fit in very well with the students and is well-known for his respect for adults. His classmates have accepted the outgoing classmate with open arms.

According to Strosnider, Nik's host family became concerned, however, as he generally spent between $200 and $300 each time the family visited the mall. The student found the prices to be so inexpensive when compared to his home country, that he could hardly control himself. All of that changed, though, after he completed JA Personal Finance.

Strosnider taught Nik's class a couple of the sessions. She said, "One of my teaching points was recognizing the difference between a want and a need. I explained that I taught my own children that the 'needs' require first consideration when thinking about financial budgeting. The 'wants' may be considered after all other financial obligations have been taken care of--if there is any money left over. However, once in while it is OK to splurge, perhaps to celebrate a special occasion.

"Shortly after the conclusion of the JA Personal Finance program, Nik and his host family made one last trip to the mall for Christmas shopping. This time Nik stated he was "not going to buy anything today." He said he really didn't need anything and was going to start saving his money for the things he would need in the future. His host family was relieved by his new financial discipline.

"Nik will return home in early June. Hopefully he will take his newfound financial knowledge with him and apply it to his adult life," said Strosnider.

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