Soon you will prepare to leave the States and return to your native country, family, friends and lifestyle. We would like you to be prepared as you go into this final part of your American exchange experience. You and your host family may find this time difficult and/or different. It’s okay! In fact, it is quite normal. For example, what may have otherwise been a very positive exchange experience may become very sad for all participants if certain steps are not taken to ensure that this final stage is approached and handled with care and caution. Years of experience, and the personal heartbreak of saying good-bye to students we love has led us to design this orientation workbook to assist you during this phase. We urge you to use it!
Your coordinator has been trained to help you and your host family through this time. Begin now! Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your emotions as you go.
Here’s to a successful completion of your ETC exchange experience!
Thank you for giving a semester or a year of your life to create global awareness and understanding between our two countries.
This can show up in many ways, with emotions you are feeling
but don’t understand. Symptoms include:
Recognizing that you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms is the first step!
Acting on that recognition is the second step. Make a commitment to each other to deal with pre-departure anxiety openly, effectively – and now.
Sit together and plan your last days as student and host family so you share the same expectations.
It is important for the immediate family, including the student, to spend the last 24-48 hours together, without outside interruptions.
Do something special – a late night dinner or breakfast together before leaving for the airport. Make it special and exclusive.
Saying “thank you” and “goodbye” are your most important things to do at this time of the year. Regardless of little difficulties that may have occurred during your program, leaving people with a pleasant memory of you is the true success of your program.
Say thank you and goodbye in person
Give a small gift, perhaps from your country
Write a personal note expressing your gratitude, and share your feelings for the individual (Each Host Family member, Teachers etc.)
You have spent many months of your life in this experience. Invest a little more to ensure you have a lifetime of wonderful memories together. It will be beneficial for you to review your program together.
Review your American experience
Share with your host family your feelings
Discuss with your host family how you will continue your relationship after your departure
When you left your natural family to embark on your American adventure, you knew you would return home at the end of the program. As you say good-bye to your host family, you do not know when you will see them again.
As you return to friends and family, you may find that you no longer “fit-in”. You look at things a little, or a lot, differently than you did before. You may even experience an identity crisis. You no longer belong with your host family and American friends and, even worse, you don’t seem to belong with your natural family and friends back home.
Try to see yourself in each of the scenarios described above. You may also wish to discuss with your host family how you will act and be reacted to.
(503) 222-9803 in Portland
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Fax: (503) 227-7224
1029 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97205