YFU Handbooks - Page 9

Although many students come from countries with an official religion or, at least, a very high membership in one denomination, it may be that the people do not actively practice their religion much. Furthermore, few students will be familiar with the social role that religion plays in America. The religious community can be an important gathering point for social activities as well as spiritual ones. ••Since America is so liberal, I will not have to follow any rules. Many YFU college students will be at a stage in their lives where they are balancing their desire to be independent and their need for a structured, nurturing home life. In some cases, American homes are stricter than the students’ own homes. Some students may not have had curfews in their homes. Many will come from cultures where social life begins at 10 o’clock at night instead of ending at that hour as it might in some U.S. communities. Other students may find host family rules more liberal. Students should discuss rules with their host family. Preparing Host Families for the Exchange: PreArrival Orientation Before international students arrive in the United States, host families attend an orientation at the community college conducted by the Campus Coordinator. This orientation helps host families set realistic expectations, understand YFU policies and procedures, and explore the issues of emerging young adults. It provides families with an opportunity to have questions answered. During the orientation, host families learn more about family systems and the impact of having a new family member. Families are also asked to consider the behaviors and attitudes that are typical of the students’ stage of life and how to distinguish them from culturally rooted behaviors and attitudes. The purpose of YFU orientations is to prepare host parents and host siblings (if there are any) to accept a new person into their family and to make them aware of the challenges it will bring. YFU aims to provide families with a network of families who share a common interest in the global community. General topics presented at the Host Family Pre-Arrival Orientation include: ••You and YFU. How to be a successful YFU host family; hosting an international exchange student; program policies and procedures; program support structure— roles and responsibilities; etc. ••Culture and Adaptation. What culture is; understanding ourselves as products of our culture; the process of adaptation and adjustment. Additional Support Materials In addition to a Pre-Arrival Orientation, YFU host families receive the following materials to help them prepare for their exchange experience before their students arrive in the USA. ••Community College Program Handbook. This handbook. ••Student Profiles. This profile provides the host family with a brief biographical sketch of their student. A description of the student’s academic and extracurricular interests and intended career path is also included. Some Bac