USA trip or my dad’s dream?

I’ve been offered a once-in-a-lifetime student exchange — but it clashes with my dad’s dream holiday. What should I do?

Take the family holiday, says our elder. There will be other exchanges.

Dear EWC

Hi! I’m sixteen and have been accepted to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a student exchange to the USA (I’m from Australia) as soon as Covid-19 is sorted, but my dad has dreamed of a family holiday to Queensland for his entire life. They are scheduled for the same time so I can only do one. Dad has asked me what I thought, and I would prefer to go on my student exchange, but it would break his heart if I wasn’t here for the family trip. I don’t know which one I should do. Exchange is a lifelong dream of mine and this is the only chance I will ever get to experience something like that, but my dad has dreamed of this his whole life. I feel guilty and like I have betrayed my dad if I choose to go on exchange, but I feel like I am betraying myself and my dreams if I stay for the family holiday. I would love it if you could offer some advice!

Grandpa-Bill replies

Student exchanges happen every semester (I know as I hosted two exchange students, one from France and one from Spain), so if you were to pass up this opportunity, you would still have many other opportunities to do an exchange. But your dad may never have his chance for a family holiday again. You would feel guilty the rest of your life if you didn’t help him attain his lifelong dream. I would say your priority should be the family trip and you can send a letter to the organization that accepted you for the student exchange, explaining how badly you want to go but describing your dad’s dream and how you feel you need to make that your priority, and asking if they can move you to the next opportunity the next semester or next year. The committee will respect your decision and offer you the opportunity again.

Letter #: 458551
Category: Family

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