YFU Handbooks - Page 12

The worst part of re-entry is being completely unprepared for it. A person returning to their own culture does not expect adjustment problems because the country, its customs, and its language are known to them. And, in not expecting difficulties, one is not prepared to resolve them. It is for this reason that YFU requires the Campus Coordinators to conduct a Re-Entry Orientation before students return home. Not only do the orientations help students anticipate some of the adjustment problems they may face, orientations encourage students to think positively about new skills and attitudes that they have gained through the exchange experience that will make their adjustment easier. Re-Entry Program Objectives for Students: 1. To see how they have grown and changed; to alert them to possible changes even if they aren’t aware of them; 2. To plan how to say goodbye to their host family and friends; to think creatively about how to stay in touch; 3. To anticipate difficulties in re-entry and to explore positive ways to handle them; and 4. To look at getting settled at home while staying involved with the interests gained through the cross-cultural experience. Re-Entry Issues for Students and Host Families Families and students may find it difficult to think of parting after so much time together. If the student has become like a real son or daughter to the family and feels very much at home in the USA, leaving may be particularly painful. 12 - CCP HANDBOOK Some families have said that “letting go” was the most difficult of all their YFU experiences. Students will probably have mixed emotions about leaving. One emotion is the sadness of leaving family, American friends, other international friends, and the USA. The other is the excitement of seeing family and friends back home again and wondering about fitting back in. When a student lives in the USA with an American family, s/he changes a great deal. The natural parents may not be prepared for the student’s growth, confidence, and “worldly” view when their son or daughter returns home. The student may not realize how much s/he has changed because the change is gradual. Natural parents will suddenly see a “different” son or daughter and this may not be easy for them to accept. Many parents will see their YFU returnees as “Americanized” when they come home. While the student is in the USA, natural families and friends back home will have grown and changed, too. There will have been changes in the physical surroundings as well. The student, however, may be struck by the “sameness” of everything upon returning home, because personal changes and experiences are so dramatic in contrast. Host families should talk with their students about the growth in their abilities and changes in their attitudes and perspectives since arriving in U