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Having the Time of Your Life in AMERICA !. Orientation Agenda. Let’s Get Comfortable! What to Expect this year Adaptation Process Symptoms of Culture Shock American Values Expectations and Responsibilities Host family Student School Local Coordinator Rules and AYA Policies

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Having the Time of Your Life in AMERICA !

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Having the time of your life in america

Having the Time of Your Lifein AMERICA !

Orientation agenda

Orientation Agenda

Let’s Get Comfortable! What to Expect this year

  • Adaptation Process

  • Symptoms of Culture Shock

  • American Values

  • Expectations and Responsibilities

    • Host family

    • Student

    • School

    • Local Coordinator

  • Rules and AYA Policies

  • Disciplinary Process

  • Effective Problem Solving

  • Student Safety

  • Communication Channels

  • Staying Connected

Adaptation process

Adaptation Process

Adaptation process1

Adaptation Process

  • Honeymoon High

  • Culture Shock

  • Cultural Adjustment

  • Adaptation

Culture shock

Culture Shock

Symptoms of Culture Shock:

No energy/exhausted


Feel sick

Extreme homesickness

Crying for no reason

Extreme anger

Psychological disorientation

What can you do?


Deny or fight it

Accept and talk about it

American values

American Values

  • Individualism

  • Competitive

  • Direct and informal communication

  • Patriotic

  • Timeliness

Expectations of your host family

Expectations of your Host Family

  • Most do not live in big houses and most are not rich

  • Majority of your HF’s are middle class Americans

  • Most AYA host families live in small towns and rural areas

  • Prepare to embrace small town life

  • Most families need to drive long distances to get to town/movies/shopping

  • Big fish in a little pond

American host families

American Host Families

  • Host families come in all shapes and sizes

    • Older parents with no children

    • Single parents with children

    • Larger families with young children

  • All of your host families have one thing in common:

    • Chose to host you for free

    • Volunteering to make you part of their family

    • Want to get to know you and about your country

Having the time of your life in america

Responsibilities of Host Families

  • Welcome student as a family member

  • Provide students with own bed & place to study

  • Provide all meals except school lunches

  • Provide transportation to & from school and religious services

  • Help student adjust: school, language, homesickness, culture shock

Your responsibilities

Your Responsibilities:

  • Follow ALL AYA program rules

  • Maintain C+ average or better in all classes

  • Treat your Host Family with respect

    • Respect rules for computer, curfew, homework, dating, phone, meals, chores

  • Help with chores

    • Clean up after yourself

  • Be involved with Host Family activities

    • What about church?

    • Will I travel?

  • Show appreciation

  • Take care of personal expenses

    • School lunches (non-grant students)

    • Social activities

    • Toiletries

    • Clothing

    • School supplies

    • Prom tickets

    • Yearbook

Having the time of your life in america

Rules & Expectations

  • Zero Tolerance Rules:

    • Must abide by all U.S. laws

    • No drinking/drug use

    • No driving

    • Expulsion from school

  • Family Rules

    • Abide by all family rules including household chores and curfews

  • Behavioral expectations

    • Positive attitude towards school, family and community

    • Ask if you are unsure about a rule

    • Think before you act

    • Refrain from posting negative or inappropriate comments on social media sites

Social media

Social Media

Circumstances that will result in disciplinary action:

  • Inappropriate or passive aggressive comments about the host family, the home or the placement in general

  • Culturally inappropriate posts, including derogatory political cartoons, lewd posts or images containing sexually explicit content and/or expletives

  • Photographs of students in compromising situations, where they appear to be drinking, smoking or engaged in behavior unbecoming of an exchange students

  • Provocative photographs of students wearing revealing clothing or engaged in displays of affection

  • Discovery of messages or posts revealing breach of program rules

Rules and expectations

Rules and Expectations

Disciplinary process

  • Mediation

  • Warning

  • Probation

  • Disqualification

Rules and expectations1

Rules and Expectations

Host Family Changes

  • Considered a last resort

  • Expected to make a concerted effort to adjust to your host family

  • Not moved based on simple dislike of your location, style of housing or host family

  • Unless there is a safety concern you are expected to stay with your assigned family

  • You may not change families at will or without permission from AYA National office

  • 30 day rule

Rules and expectations2

Rules and Expectations

  • Travel Policy

    • Independent Travel Form -If you want to travel without your host family, the AYA office must have written permission from your natural parents for the trip.

    • Must contact your Local Coordinator at least two weeks in advance

    • Activities or travels that include your host family, or Local Coordinator do not require special permission

    • Students may not travel without an adult

    • Friends and family may visit at the end of the program only.

American high school

American High School

  • Grade level and class schedule is assigned by school administrator

  • Graduation/Diploma is not guaranteed

  • Must take English and U.S. history

  • Transportation to school: school bus, city bus, carpool, HF, walking, friend (HF permission)

  • Lunch alone? Approach another student

  • Need help? Guidance counselor

  • Lost? Ask another student, teacher or guidance counselor

School responsibilities

School Responsibilities

  • Must attend school daily

  • Participate and complete assignments

  • Follow all school rules

  • Treat teachers with respect

  • Maintain a C+ Average

  • Serve as an ambassador for your country and help Americans learn about your culture

  • Must communicate in English

Having the time of your life in america

Local Coordinator’s Role

  • Select safe and suitable Host Families

  • Enroll students in High School

  • Supervise & support students

  • Monthly contact with Students and Host Families

  • Submit monthly reports

  • Provide emergency assistance

Effective problem solving

Effective Problem Solving

  • Identify the problem

    • Talk to HF or LC

  • Choose a good time to talk

  • Use “I” statements

  • Listen to other point-of-view

  • Explore a creative solution

Having the time of your life in america

Student Safety

Awareness & Prevention

  • Student Safety Video

  • Appropriate vs. Inappropriate behaviors & interactions

  • Who to contact should you or a friend be in an unsafe situation

    • Local Coordinator

    • AYA office or AYA Emergency Service

      • 1-800-322-4678 or

      • 1-800-926-2506

    • Any trusted adult (guidance counselor, law enforcement, parent of a friend)

    • Department of State

      • 1-866-283-9090

  • Insurance

    • Covers required treatment by a physician, confinement in an infirmary or hospital, services of a nurse

    • Does not cover dental work, eye exams, routine physicals, sports exams, psychological treatment

    • In-network physician; www.caremed-assistance.com

Having the time of your life in america

Regional Directors & Support Staff

Lisa Fealy

P: (203) 399-5069

E: Lfealy@aifs.org

Nikki Hernandez

P:(203) 399-5080

E: nhernandez@aifs.org

Pieter Hogoboom

P: (203) 399-5079

E phogoboom@aifs.org

Michael Falvey

P: (203) 399-5086

E: mfalvey@aifs.org

Margot Manasevit

P: (203) 399-5086

E: MManasevit@aifs.org

Student Support Administrator

Elizabeth Azeizat

P: (203) 399 – 5097

E: Eazeizat@aifs.org

Having the time of your life in america

Chain of Communication

Having the time of your life in america

Volunteerism & Special Opportunities

  • SAGA

  • Participate in AYA contests and activities

  • Take part in cultural activities

Stay connected

Stay Connected

  • Stay connected with AYA

    • Quarterly Surveys

    • Connections

    • LC of the Month

      • Erin Sesil: Esesil@aifs.org

  • Current email addresses

Having the time of your life in america

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