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
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
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