Advisor’s Angle: Starting Out Right

The end of summer is just around the corner, and before we know it, AYP and PSP students will start to arrive for their programs! It’s an exciting time for everyone!

One of the biggest ways our Host Families can make students feel welcome is to get to know them on a more personal level once the shock and awe of their arrival to the U.S. dies down.

What are they interested in? What are their talents and skills?Why did they choose to study in America? What is their Natural Family like? Building a relationship makes for a smoother program for everyone!

As you and your student adjust to each other and the schools, students might find that their expectations are different than reality. We recommend that you visit frequently with your student and talk with each other often about their experiences and what’s important to them during their program. Flexibility and communication are crucial during this time of adjustment.

Homesickness is a common concern at the start of the year. It’s a natural part of traveling abroad and something that almost everyone experiences at some point. If your student feels homesick, encourage them to monitor how much time they spend talking with friends and family back home. Too much communication can make the problem worse. Getting involved in the host community also helps students adjust more quickly. Help them come up with ideas of things to do or ways to meet new people. As a Host Family, you might consider letting the students decorate their room with posters or pictures that can make them feel more at home.

Sometimes students struggle academically early on in the year. They are adjusting to a lot of changes in their daily school life! Homework style, language and class structure can all be very different from what they’re used to. Host Families and schools should work together to find our if
there are any concerns about a student’s academic performance as he or she adjusts to his/her new school. If there are concerns, be sure to let Advising and your Coordinator or Regional Program Director know right away. We will help you provide the student with support and guidelines as needed.

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