Cultural adjustment has often been described as a rollercoaster. Students may be happy and excited about their exchange program one day but nervous and homesick the next. Sharing their feelings with a Local Representative or other trusted adult may give students a way to process their experience.
As students begin to get settled in their Host Families, schools, and communities, the cultural differences can feel overwhelming sometimes. Students may feel homesick often during this period of adjustment. Some people may experience homesickness as feelings of sadness and anxiety; other people may feel irritable or hopeless. If students feel any of these symptoms of homesickness, they may benefit from trying several coping strategies.
Staying active and building relationships is a good way to work through homesickness. Encourage students to sign up for an after-school activity or to invite a classmate to hang out with them during the weekend. Students can ask their Local Representatives, teachers, or Host Families for ideas about upcoming school or community activities. Spending time with the Host Family can help students focus on their experience in America instead of thinking about what is happening in their home country.
A positive attitude affects how a person views his or her new experiences. Deliberately finding a positive aspect of each day can help cultivate a balanced perspective.
Encourage students to think about their Host Family, school, and community: what is something that they like in each of those areas? Whether it is a new hobby, an interesting subject, favorite meal, or a new friend, exploring that interest can enrich each student’s adjustment.
We look forward to working with each student as they adjust to their new experiences. The Advising Team welcomes any questions and wishes everyone the best possible year.