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Having the Time of Your Life in AMERICA !. Orientation Agenda. Let’s Get Comfortable! What to Expect this year Program Info Student Safety Student Support & Disciplinary Policies Expectations & Adjustment Roles & Responsibilities Alumni Network & Multiplier Effect

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orientation agenda
Orientation Agenda

Let’s Get Comfortable! What to Expect this year

  • Program Info
  • Student Safety
  • Student Support & Disciplinary Policies
  • Expectations & Adjustment
  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Alumni Network & Multiplier Effect
  • Calendar of Activities & Wrap up
program information
Program Information
  • AYA Program Goals
  • YES/FLEX Program Goals

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

Rules & Expectations

  • Zero Tolerance Rules:
    • Must abide by all U.S. laws
    • No drinking/drug use
    • No driving
    • Expulsion from school
  • Travel Policy
  • 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
disciplinary policies
Disciplinary Policies

Disciplinary process

  • Mediation
  • Warning
  • Probation
  • Disqualification
rules and expectations
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
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
support issues fears
Support Issues & Fears
  • Feeling Homesick
  • Food
  • Making Friends
  • Dogs/Pets in the home
  • Religious Practices
  • Expectations Worksheet
    • Student Handbook
    • What expectations do you have about how your program experience will be?
    • How could these expectations not be met?
adaptation process
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

expectations of your host family
Expectations of your Host Family
  • Majority of your HF’s are middle class Americans who do not live in mansions
  • Most AYA host families live in small towns and rural areas
  • Most families need to drive long distances to get to town/movies/shopping
  • Share interests, customs and information with HF
  • Expect disagreements
  • Don’t expect HF to entertain or schedule trips for you
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
american teenagers
American Teenagers

Social Life

  • Revolves around school activities and events
  • Weekend activities include hanging out with friends at the movies, mall or a friend’s house with adult supervision
  • Aside from friends and school, American teenagers typically spend their free time with their family

Household Responsibilities

  • Chores
    • American teenagers participate in household chores such as doing the dishes, taking out the trash, sweeping, and in most cases teens are expected to clean their own rooms and do their own laundry
  • Curfew
    • It is customary for American teens to have a set time that they are expected to be home after an event or activity
    • Examples include having a curfew of 9pm on the weekdays and 10pm on the weekends


  • Although you are expected to abide by the same household rules as other members of your host family, you are also responsible for following ALL AYA Program Rules
expectations for communication
Expectations for Communication
  • Avoid frequent or excessive communication with fellow exchange students
  • Limit time talking to friends and family from home
expectations for high school
Expectations for High School
  • Peer pressure
  • English & U.S. History courses
  • New hobbies and activities
  • Homework & participation
  • Grade assignment, diploma, participation in sports or graduation ceremonies is not guaranteed
  • Lunch time
  • Ask for help
american culture
American Culture
  • General attitude
    • Independent
    • Outspoken
    • patriotic
  • Customs and Courtesies
    • Greetings
    • Personal space & eye contact
    • Timeliness
  • Personal appearance/Hygiene
    • Generally free to wear whatever
    • Short pants and recreational clothing worn in public
    • Cleanliness
    • Shower regularly
    • Deodorant/Antiperspirant
  • Religion
    • 95% American profess religious belief
    • Various Christian churches across country
    • Personal matter
    • Understanding of different religious backgrounds
adaptation tips
Adaptation Tips
  • Say “please” and “thank you”
  • Homework
  • Ask for help
  • Language
  • Be aware
  • Suspend judgment
  • Relax
  • Become involved
  • Rights V. Privileges
    • Student Handbook
    • What is a right?
    • What is a privilege?

Responsibilities of Host Families

  • Welcome student as a family member
  • Provide students with own bed & place to study
  • Provide all meals
  • 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?
  • Show appreciation
  • Community service
  • Attend enhancement activities
  • Manage monthly stipend
  • Fulfill YES/FLEX program goals and act in a positive manner
  • Character, good judgment, ambition

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
aya staff
AYA Staff
  • Grant Regional Director
    • Mark Cavanagh ext. 5081
    • Mcavanagh@aifs.org
  • Grant Manager
    • Lisa DeBeradinis ext. 5070
    • Ldeberadinis@aifs.org
key program components
Key Program Components
  • Volunteerism/Community Service
    • 50 hours required
  • Enhancement Activities
    • Exposed to American society, volunteerism, leadership and diversity
    • Reflection Form
student finances
Student Finances
  • Monthly stipend
    • $125 each month
    • Social activities and personal items
    • Not allowed: Travel, clothing, school lunch, sent home
  • Incidentals allowance
    • Assist with program related expenses
    • Must have receipts for reimbursement
student opportunities
Student Opportunities
  • International Education Week (IEW)
  • Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW)
  • Civic Education Workshop (CEW)
  • Social Media and English Teaching Workshops
  • Global Youth Service Day
multiplier effect alumni network
Multiplier Effect & Alumni Network
  • Promote program
  • Create mutual understand and long last connections
  • Media outreach, visits to government offices, IEW presentations
  • Alumni Network
stay connected
Stay Connected
  • Participate in AYA contests & Activities
  • Stay connected with AYA
    • Quarterly Surveys
    • Connections
    • LC of the Month
      • Erin Sesil: Esesil@aifs.org
  • Current email addresses
  • Calendar of Events
  • Q & A