Saying Goodbye To Your Exchange Student

Here we give you some tips on how you can manage saying goodbye to your exchange student

Saying goodbye to your exchange student will NEVER be an easy thing. You just have to remember all of the good times together so far and how many more there will be.

Saying goodbye to your exchange student who has lived with you for the past 6 months will never be easy. However, what you have never been prepped for is having to say goodbye early due to a global pandemic. We are forced to say our goodbyes early this year & in such an unforeseen way with our students not being able to go to prom, graduate or say goodbye to their friends they made at school.  There are a ton of resources out there to help you cope when your exchange student goes home for the year, but this year’s goodbyes are a little different. There is always good that comes with the bad. Nothing is good about your student having to leave early, but there are ways to cope with it to ensure that good comes along with it.

For those of you that have already seen your student’s leave, there have been so many heartfelt goodbyes. From parades being thrown in a neighborhood to “at-home” graduations. Your student will always remember the last few days they spent with you, and it is important to make that a special memory. 

It is hard to accept that you and your exchange student will not be able to cross off your bucket list items. It is hard coping with the fact that you had things planned to do with your student but they got cut short due to the pandemic. Even getting your student parting gifts is not an option for a lot of families. 

On the bright side, there are still a ton of Departure Re-entry Orientation (DREO) topics that are useful during this time. Writing letters to each other about your experiences, first impressions and everything you learned from each other. This can help make those last few days together happy and memorable. Making a scrapbook might not be accessible for you and your exchange student but you can adjust! Your student can sit down one night and show you all of the pictures they took here and show you their experience through their eyes.

Although this may be the toughest thing to do, it is so important that you and your student talk about their departure. You both need to be able to feel closure in their last days and know that you will always be a part of each other’s lives. Normalcy is not exactly a term anyone is using right now, but your student still needs to be able to have their “normal” goodbye with their host family. It is a vital part of their departure that you all sit down and talk about their experience and everything that came with it. 

“I feel like there are still things that you can do with your students even if they’re leaving early. It is essential to talk about fears and anxieties associated with them going home. When someone says, ‘Where were you for the pandemic?’ it is important that your student can always look back with positivity, knowing that they can talk about their exchange year. Often times it brings families closer together when they share experiences that have high emotional stakes and I have that positive outlook of knowing we encountered and overcame the obstacles that we had for the end of her experience.” – Cassie, Host Mom that said goodbye to her exchange student early

“What’s coming is better than what’s gone.” Saying goodbye to your exchange student will NEVER be an easy thing. You just have to remember all of the good times together so far and how many more there will be. It’s easy to get upset about your exchange student being gone, but instead, think about all of the bucket list items yet to come.


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