The month of June brings warming temperatures and a time of final transitions for students and Host Families!
It is important to remember the transition that will be taking place as students realize their programs are ending. They may come to realize that the friends and memories they have made, the activities, accomplishments, and increased levels of English ability will all become remnants of the time they spent in the USA. This may cause them to act in unfamiliar ways.
At this time, it is not unusual for the students to begin withdrawing from their friends and Host Family members, because they know they will be leaving soon. This is their way of protecting themselves from the inevitable pain of saying goodbye when they leave. It is also common for students to act out a little more at this time, pushing boundaries and perhaps breaking rules they have been normally following.
If any of these types of behaviors are observed, it may be helpful to have a conversation with the student. Openly acknowledge that transitions can be difficult and remind them of all of the wonderful things that have happened during their program in the United States. Mention to the student that it is important to finish the program on good terms because not only are they representing their respective countries, but their Host Family members and friends want to remember them and all the fun they have had together.
Another way to ease the transition, is to make a plan with the student as to how they can stay in contact with friends and Host Family members in the U.S. after they return home. Skype, Facebook, and even good old fashioned letter writing might be a fun way to stay in touch.
If your student has already left, perhaps now is a good time to reflect on how this transition period was handled by your family? What could you do better for the next student you host? Transitions are an inevitable part of life, but they don’t have to be hard if we take some time to prepare ourselves along the way!