YFU Handbooks - Page 7

Educational Support Before the Exchange Throughout the exchange experience, students and host families will receive support from YFU and the Campus Coordinator at the student’s college. Support services provided to students and host families both before and during the experience are described here. Preparing Students for the Experience: PreDeparture Orientation Before students leave for the USA, they attend orientations in their home countries, conducted by their YFU National Organization. These meetings address realistic expectations, review YFU policies and procedures, establish roles and responsibilities, and address students’ and natural parents’ questions. Topics presented include: ••You and YFU. How to be a successful YFU exchange student; living with a host family; program policies and procedures; responsibilities; travel; etc. ••Culture and Adaptation. What culture is; understanding ourselves as products of our culture; the process of adaptation and adjustment; culture in the USA. Community College Orientation Students typically arrive in the U.S. a few days prior to the start of classes at their community college. The Campus Coordinators uses this opportunity to orient the students to their college. Typical topics covered in the orientation are: ••A Campus Tour ••How to Register for Classes ••How to Open a Bank Account ••Health and Safety Issues ••Transportation Additional Support Materials In addition to the Pre-Departure Orientation, YFU international students receive the following materials to prepare for their exchange experience before arriving in the USA. ••Community College Program Handbook. This handbook. ••Community College Welcome Packet. Campus Coordinators may send Welcome Packets to their students. Materials may include: college course schedules and pre-registration forms, college catalogs and handbooks, brochures on the community, and a welcome letter from the college. Note that colleges may send print or electronic informational materials. Examples of Student Expectations Pre-Departure Orientations address expectations because students may have different or unrealistic expectations of living in the USA. Many ideas of what the United States will be like come from movies and magazines. They may also hear from previous YFU students who are excited to share the highlights of their exchange and have forgotten their initial cultural adjustment challenges. Furthermore, students may be selective in their hearing...they want to think about the glamorous side of the USA because they are going there! YFU begins to clarify students’ expectations during the PreDeparture Orientation. The process continues throughout their stay in the USA. It is important for students to talk about their expectations with their host families and Campus Coordinators. When expectations and reality differ, there are disappointments, adjustments, and sometimes problems. Honest communication helps families, students, and Campus Coordinators work out these differences. Students may have some of the following expectations: ••My host family will consist of a mother, father, and children. Stereotypical images of US families persist. Students may not understand that each family is unique. For instance, one family may include siblings and one parent. Another family may have no children at all, or they may have young children but no teenagers. The diverse population of the USA means that a host family can be of any race or ethnicity. These differences give a true picture of American life. CCP HANDBOOK - 7