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Educational and Cultural Interactions, Inc.
 
Foreign Exchange Student Programs
 

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Exchange students, just like any visitors to a foreign country, must deal with cultural differences and make adjustments. A deep and long-lasting bond often results from an international student exchange, but it does not happen overnight. It is important that everyone involved in a hosting experience recognize that there will be difficult times. Initially, your student will be struggling with the tremendous challenges presented by an unfamiliar environment, a foreign culture, and a different language.  Your best approach is to be patient and provide a nurturing environment.  Within a few short weeks, a remarkable transformation will occur and you will reap many rewards from this new relationship as the year progresses.

Share with your student what is uniquely American and at the same time learn about the customs, manners, and lifestyle in your Studentís homeland.  Students have so much to learn so quickly; you need to let them know that you are supportive during their adjustment. Your Student may sometimes do things that annoy you that are perfectly acceptable in his or her own home. They need feedback, but not as criticism. You both learn during adjustment and acquire respect for another way of doing things. This is what makes the exchange interesting; this is how we all learn from having a Student.

It is not uncommon for exchange students to struggle with homesickness at the beginning of their program.  Therefore, your assistance with school registration, uniform orders, the purchase of books, and introductions to fellow students will be especially meaningful.  Try to discourage frequent telephone calls to and from the studentís home country.  This only makes the situation worse.  If your student is not coping well, seek the advice of your Coordinator.  They can share some adjustment strategies with you and, if necessary, arrange for a tactful message to be conveyed to the studentís family requesting their cooperation.

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