YFU Handbooks - Page 15

Hints and Suggestions for the Student The following suggestions are based on more than five decades of YFU exchange experiences: ••Share yourself with your family. Spend time with each member of your family. If the host parents are home when you return from classes, talk to them about your day and theirs. If there are children in the host family, make a special effort to spend time with them. It is easy for them to become jealous because of the attention you receive. Try to teach them about your own customs while asking and learning from them about theirs. Respect their private time and their own friends. ••Show appreciation. Very few things are more important in your home than thanking your family for what they do for you. It is not customary in the USA to give expensive gifts or big parties to say thank you. Small things that will make your family feel good include a smile, willingly helping with chores, or cooking a special dish. Notice how often other host family members show appreciation and how they do it. It may be done very differently in your own country, but appreciation is always important. ••Establish a working relationship with your Campus Coordinator. As a young adult, you are expected to be self-directed and responsible. During your exchange experience, however, you will need the guidance of people who know the campus and community, or people who are sensitive to the challenges of a crosscultural experience. Your YFU Campus Coordinator is appointed by the college and trained by YFU to support you and serve as a resource. Establish a relationship with your Campus Coordinator early on in your exchange experience. Your YFU Campus Coordinator places you with your host family, provides ongoing support to you and your host family, advises you on your academic and technical training options at your college, and facilitates your integration into campus and community life. Depending on your particular needs, the Campus Coordinator also can refer you to other faculty, staff, and counselors on campus for additional assistance. ••Meet people and make friends. When you come to the USA, you will be separated from old friends but will have an opportunity to make new friends. The roles of friends vary from one culture to another. You may find that friends in the USA are not so permanent. Many US families move from one place to another every few years. Thus, Americans tend to be friendly and outgoing. Since you are the new person in town, it is your responsibility to introduce yourself to people and to get involved in campus activities. A variety of extracurricular activities are offered at each college. Some colleges may offer drama and music clubs; other colleges may offer strong athletic programs or student government. In some cases, the college may be the center of community social and cultural events. YFU makes every effort to match students with an appropriate college on the basis of academic objectives and stated extracurricular interests. Although requests are sometimes made for specific colleges, CCP cannot guarantee placement at a particular college. Extracurricular activities often offer more opportunities for friendships than the classroom situations. To feel more a part of the college community, participate actively in campus life in order to enhance the total US living experience. As community-based institutions, YFU partner colleges have strong links with organizations in the communities they serve. One can find a variety of civic organizations, clubs, churches, schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and businesses interested in the students’ perspective and willingness to contribute. Students are invited to approach their Campus Coordinator and other college educators to request help in identifying volunteer opportunities. ••Do not be afraid to make mistakes when speaking English. English has many words, slang expressions, and idioms that are not universally understood. Studying English c [