Culture Exchange
Hand book for Exchange Student

                                       Cultural Exchange Student Guide book

Dear student:

Welcome to the exciting adventure of participating in the student exchange program. I know that you must be full of expectations for the following year with regards to your school, family community, and overall experience. Chances are your year will be a new and exciting experience for you and not at all what you expected.

Being open minded and having a positive attitude will help you to experience the best year possible. After all, this is your year1 you will have the opportunity to make it positive or negative, and in this student guidebook I will show you how.

Your host family your school and program sponsor are excited that you have finally arrived. It is my desire that you feel as prepared and as knowledgeable as possible so that when challenges occur and study this guidebook. Use it as a reference throughout the year and if you do not fully understand it be sure to talk to your host parents or area coordinator. You are ultimately responsible for following all aspects of this guide book so it is your job to be sure that you filly understand it.

On behalf of the staff and volunteers, £Éwelcome you and wish you a your of excitement and adventure.

Sincerely, 

Chief executive officer

 

WELCOME TO YOUR HOST COUNTRY

Sponsor welcomes you to your new home and we are glad that you have chosen to participate in our program. While in the United States, treating your time as an exchange student as precious gift. Your dreams have now turned to reality and you alone will have the ultimate choice as to how your year will turn out. Your year will not always be easy. Settling in will be a major adjustment for you. It will be easier for some than for other. Do not expect every moment to be perfect and do not feel that you or your family is failing if you have difficult times. You will be living together which means that together you will experience joy, excitement, boredom, frustration and pain. In the end, however it will be up to you to make your year successful. You will have to have an open and positive attitude toward everything that comes your way as you live each day in this strange and diverse country. Please read this booklet carefully as it will give you the information and help you need to have the best year possible. If you have any questions or do not fully understand what you are doing, please be sure to discuss this with your sponsor. He or she is there for you. Be sure to ask for help when you need it.

HOME SWEET HOME-A word about your Host Family

The single most important relationship you will have while in the United States is with your host family. A good relationship with your host family can mean the difference between a wonderful lifelong memory, or an unhappy year full of complaints. You may have let to or other media influence your mind about the U.S. and the kinds of families who live here. Perhaps you were expecting your family to live in a fancy home with a swimming pool and live-in maid. Instead, you probably found that your family works hard lives comfortable and expects all members of the family to help out around the house. Regardless of what kind of family you are living with, they are probable not what you expected. We can assure you the families in the U.S. are diverse and uniquely different from one another. It is impossible to generalize for you what kind of home you can expect to live. We can tell you, however, that this family was chosen former and that they were willing to accept your complete stranger, into their home for an entire school year. Your presence takes away their privacy and is an added expense to them, but they are eager to accept you and treat you as family member, not a guest. That means that you will be required to participate in family events and help out around the house. You will also be asked to follow all host family rules and have a gracious and thankful attitude at all times. Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.

Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.
Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.
Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program.

Keys to successful living with your host family:

1. Realize that is your responsibility to adjust your host family's lifestyle and way of doing things and not the way around. Your family has not been asked to change the function of their home or lifestyle for you.

2. Ask yourself what you can do for your family. Do not wait to be asked to help out. Volunteer your help and always offer assistance with positive attitude.

3. Give up your search for the perfect family. There is no such thing. Look for the positive in your family and remember that they saw enough positive in you to make the decision to invite you into their home.

4£®Do not compare you host family to another. Never compare you home or experience with another exchange student's. Your experience is uniquely yours. Always remember that no matter how perfect the other student's experience seems to be, they to have had to overcome difficult moments. Chances are, that student is happy because he or she choose to be happy and not focus on the negative. Do not compare!

5. Share yourself with your family. You can choose to be present while dinner is being prepared, or while the family is grocery shopping, or just watching TV. This may seem meaningless to you but these are the times that you truly bond with your family by just being with them. Do not seclude yourself in your bedroom or sleep in half of the day. Greet year family each morning and get involved with them. Also, you should think about something special that you can do for them from time to time. Perhaps you can cook a special meal, do something creative on a family member's birthday, spend time talking with your family and share your daily experiences. If you family invites you to go to church, the local museum, or just on a drive-join them. Even if you are tired or bored, push yourself a little extra. In the end, you will be very happy that you did.

6. Listen carefully to what your host parents tell you. It is never ok to ignore requests, responsibilities or understand what they are asking you, your host parents should not have to repeat their requests to you. If you don't fully understand what they are asking you, then ask for more information. Write yourself notes if you have to. There will be a lot to remember at first but you will catch on very quickly if you listen to them.

7. Remember "Please" and" thank you". These words are extremely important in the U.S. If you do not say these words people will consider you rude and ungrateful. You cannot us them too much and you will love the response you get when you do.

8. Take care of yourself. In the U.S. it is considered offensive if one does not shower and clean themselves regularly. You must shower once a day and more often if you are active in sports. You must always launder your clothing after it has been worn. Be sure to use deodorant at all times and brush your teeth twice a day. It may seem silly to be mentioning this to you, but different cultures have different feelings about personal hygiene. In the U.S. you are expected to be cleaned and groomed. You should also keep your bedroom clean and take care of your own laundry. Wash your bedding regularly and do not let your bedroom turn into a hazard area. It would be mistake to assume that your housework or dirty dishes will magically take care of themselves. If you leave it, than ask yourself, "Who will have to take care of this?" always take care of yourself.

9£®Never criticize your family. It's already been mentioned that your family may be different than what you were expecting. It is never ok to let your host family know that you are dissatisfied with them or that you do not approve of them. It is also never ok to discuss your host family's personal affairs with other members of your community. If you have concerns about your host family, you may only discuss them with you¡¯re the Sponsor.

Attitude

To a great extent, your attitude will determine the success or failure of your exchange year. No matter what happens or where you are, a positive attitude will be a great help. Be open-minded and look for the good in all that is around you. Always explore differences as learning opportunity. Remember that no culture is better than another, they're just different. When you are at school or home, if you constantly find fault in the American culture you will turn people away from you. If you find that it is hard to make friends, you must examine yourself to determine what kind of attitude you are displaying. If you are not sure why you're having a problem as someone that you trust to tell you how they perceive your attitude. It is a guarantee that there will be good and bad all around you. If you insist on pointing out the bad to everyone no one will want to be around you. Remember that you are an ambassador of your country and culture. If you are constantly negative, you will leave the impression behind that you are a product of your culture and therefore all people from your country must be that way. Please represent your culture in a positive way so that future exchange student from your country will not be automatically rejected due to the negative feelings you have left behind

The bottom line is, when your year is over you can never repeat it. You can only be a high school exchange student in American once in your life. Your host family can host as often as they want but your experience will end once and for all. When it is all said and done, you will feel sad and regretful if you look back and can only remember the bad. Try not to create a negative atmosphere that you later regret. Instead, make the best of every moment so that when you go back home you can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. After all, you were selected to participate in the sponsor program because we believed you were ready for it. That means that we believed that you would be mature, open-minded, positive, adventurous and flexible. Sponsor expects that at all times you will uphold a positive attitude.

Culture shock

At some time during the year you will probably find yourself feeling lost or alone in this strange country. You may arrive feeling that way, or it may set in after the initial excitement wares off. You must understand that these feelings are normal and expected. These feeling are referred to as "culture shock". People of every age and culture experience this in some way when they leave their home and comfort zone and travel to a different part of the world. Culture shock can be experienced by moving from one school to another, from on town to anther, or from one country to another. We expect you to experience this to some degree and we are here to help you get through it rather than stay stuck in it.

Signs of culture shock:

l. Feeling that everything is stupid or not right.

2. Having an unrealistic sense that everything at home is perfect. Feeling that no one     around you understands what you are going through.

3. Feeling depressed or angry. You may become irritated about petty things.

4. You may feel that you do not want to go anywhere.

5. You may eat too much or too little.

6. You may sleep more than usual or not enough, gain weight, or feel afraid to try anything new.

7. The unacceptable ways of dealing with these problems are: drinking, drugs, going home, eating too much, or isolating yourselves.

The best ways to successfully get through these feeling are:

l. Stay busy! Make a decision to do something the instant these feeling set in.

2. Concentrate on what's happening now. Avoid thinking about home and what is going on there.

3. Talk to your host family about your feelings. They have been told that you may go through this, so be willing to discuss it with them.

4. Do not spend all of your time talking with other exchange students. They will only make you feel worse.

5. Do not call home constantly or sit around writing letters about how bad things area. If you must write a letter home, wait 48hours to send it. Chances are your feeling will lift by then and you will wish you did not send home such a disparaging note.

6. Make friends! Do not expect everyone to treat you like you are special. You must make the effort to make friends.

7. Join a club or sports team. This is a sure way to make friends. If you have no friends and you do not participate in any activity outside of the classroom the n you can only blame yourself.

If you feel that your problem is different and this advice does not help you, be sure to talk to your sponsor coordinator He/She is dedicated to providing you with rewarding exchange student experiences and will do all he/she can to help you. Remember that your sponsor coordinator is largely a volunteer and is helping you because he/she wants to. If you do not feel that your sponsor coordinator is offering you the assistance that you need, please call for more assistance. We are a team at sponsor and we want to be sure that you have all the support that you need.

School

SPONSOR makes no guarantees to you with regards to what grade you will be enrolled in, whether you will be able to participate in sports, whether you will receive transferable credit, or whether you will be able to graduate from your high school. Each high school has their own policy regarding these issues. You must always respect the policy of your high school and never argue with school staff. Chances are, you will not be allowed to graduate while you are here so please accept that now.

As you know, Sponsor is an academic program (a school study program) not a travel or entertainment program. The visa that you have entered the country on, states that you must attend school full-time, the entire time that you are here. Your attitude and behavior at school must always be positive and respectful. Your sponsor in area coordinator will periodically send a progress report to your school to determine how you are doing. If the report reflects negative behavior or problem with your attendance, you may be sent home.

Your high school expects you to fluent in English. If you are having problems at school because of your lack of ability in this area, you will be responsible for getting yourself a tutor or whatever assistance is necessary to improve your skill. Any expense for this assistance must be paid for by you or your natural parents. You must never become a burden to the ESL (English as a second language) program at the school. The school is not responsible for teaching you the basic language skills that you should have already had before coming. Therefore, if your grades are falling behind and your language skill does not improve significantly over time, Sponsor I will have no choice but to send you home. This is not a punishment; it is simply or responsibility to the school. They accepted you because they believed that you had the language skills necessary to be successful at an American high school. Please remember that before coming to the U.S. We asked your language teacher and program administrator to evaluate your English ability. You were also given a language proficiency test. Based on our findings, your language seemed sufficient.

Remember that you must always abide by the rules of your high school. They will tell you that you cannot be late. You will be given homework on a daily basis. You may be told what you can and cannot wear to school. You may also be told that you must take certain classes, or that a class that you wanted to take is not available to you. The high school did not have to accept you into their student body, therefore you must always appreciate what the school has to offer you and be respectful and obedient.

Your sponsor I Area coordinator may not get involved challenging your school to allow you to graduate or have certain classes or grades. We have told your high school that Sponsor and all Sponsor I students will respect the school's decision.

Sports/clubs/activities/:  Your high school will offer a variety of clubs and sports that you may be able to participate in. Sponsor requires every exchange student to get involved in at least one extra-curricular activity. This is not meant to conflict with your studies, but we feel it is a crucial part of your adjustment. Getting involved in a sport or club allows you to become part of a select group or team. You will quickly begin to associate with other students and making friends will happen rather quickly for you. Without any involvement outside of the classroom, you will probably find that it is difficult to make friends. You also may find that you are bored and homesick if you are going home every day to study and have no contact with other teenagers. This is your opportunity to get involved. It will make a big difference for you very early on.

Making friends

It will be very tempting to want to spend your time with other exchange students. You need to try to resist this urge, as difficult as it will be, especially in the beginning. There are several reasons for this. By only associating with other exchange students, especially from your home country, you will be tempted to speak your own language. You could have stayed at home to do that. If you insist on speaking your native language, you will frustrate the people around you and isolate yourself from making American friends. It is considered rude and unfriendly to continue to do this. Each of you expressed a desire to improve your English and the real test will be if you can master the language with the exchange students from home. If you can converse with them in English you will know that you are accomplishing what you came for. Don't let other student temp you speak in your own language. You should insist on staying focused on the goal that you set for yourself before you came-to become fluent in the English language.

Spending your time with other exchange students tells the American students that you are not interested in getting to know them. They will feel intimidated to approach you, just as you feel about the. Your problem will never change if you do not open yourself up to making friends with the America classmates at your school. Also, remember that by socializing with other exchange students you begin the dangerous practice of comparing host families or problems you are having. This is detrimental to your success as an exchange student.

America student can be your friends, but it's up to you! You can have a lot of American friends, but you will have to make the first move. This sounds difficult because American teenagers will seem to keep to themselves. Remember that you are new to them. They have had their friendships together before you arrived. Imagine what it would be like if a foreign student come to your school at home. You may find that the American students say "Hi" to you and show interest in you, but that is where the friendship ends. Many teenagers keep to themselves because it makes them feel safe. It is very hard to leave their comfort zone and reach out to someone they don't know you make the first step out of your comfort zone. Talk to your host parents about whether you can invite a friend over or to a interest and invite you to their next gathering. Just remember, it all starts with you! Never give up! Your American high school experience can be a good memory for you if you keep a positive attitude. No one will want to hang around you if you are negative or bitter. With a smile you will eventually have some friends, probably a lot of them. Just keep trying

Your sponsor area coordinator

Your sponsor area coordinator has worked very hard to help find your host family. Your area coordinator has probably spent many, many preparing for you to come. He/she has prepared a host family orientation meeting, a student orientation meeting and has taken care of obtaining the acceptance into your high school. Sometimes there are many problems that must be overcome to make all of the necessary arrangements for the student arrival; other times it goes very smoothly. The bottom line is, it is a difficult and time consuming job. Your sponsor area coordinator was chosen to represent our program because we believe that he/she would uphold the standards and expectations of sponsor. Your area coordinator will be talking with you at least once a month and will meet with you in person a couple of times throughout the year. If you have a problem or concern, your sponsor area coordinator should be the first person you contact. Your area coordinator will help answer your questions and give you assistance with your problems or concerns. If an answer cannot be found, then he/she will call our office. You must always respect the decisions of your sponsor. Coordinator and understand that he/she is following the directions that were given by sponsor.

Sometimes a student will argue with his area coordinator and assume that the area coordinator does not really have any responsibility over the exchange students. This is a terrible mistake! Your sponsor area coordinator will report all problems to the sponsor responsible officer and will participate in the discipline strategy for his/her students. If your area coordinator recommends that you be disciplined or sent home, it will be your job to change his or her mind. It is recommend that you give utmost respect to your sponsor area coordinator and abide by all sponsor rules.

Notes: we know that nobody is perfect and that sometimes decisions are made based on the opinions of the sponsor area coordinator. So what should you do if you think you are being treated unfairly? First refer to this handbook. Read the sections relating to your problem to determine what sponsor's philosophy is. You will most likely find your answer and understand your area coordinator's decision a little more clearly. If you cannot find the answer to your problem and you need more assistance then your area coordinator is giving you, please call our office¡£

How to handle problems

This section is not written to help with problem if they arise. It is to help you handle problems when they arise. Do not expect perfection; it doesn't exits. You can choose to look at a challenge as a problem or an opportunity. It is your choice. If something is going wrong in your school or host family, you need to check yourself first. Are you speaking English regularly? Are you spending a lot of time with exchange students? Are you offering to help our family and keeping up with your chores? Are you calling home frequently? Are you sharing yourself with your family and classmates? After you have checked your attitude and behavior, you may find that you still have a problem that you do not know how to resolve. Here are some tips on handling problems.

Don't:

1. Complain to other exchange students- they will probably make you feel worse.

2. Complain to your natural parents. There is absolutely nothing they can do and it will only cause them to worry.

3. Tell other people in the school, neighborhood or church about your problems with your family. You can cause serious damage to their reputation and it is very unfair to handle problems this way.

4. Become hostile and angry. This is a sign that you are ignoring the problem rather than taking care of it.

5. Ignore the problem and pretend like it will go away.

Do:

1. Call your SPONSOR area coordinator and discuss what is happening.

2. Call the SPONSOR office if you do not get assistance from your area coordinator.

3.  Talk to a school teacher or counselor if you need another perspective.

4.  Avoid blaming anyone. Just share the facts and ask for help.

We understand that you have been asked to make the adjustment into the home of your host family. We expect you to be grateful and accepting of your family's difference. However, we are also aware that there are times when you may feel mistreated by your host family. We cannot help you if you do not call us and talk about it. We will respect your privacy and confidentiality and will help you to overcome your problem. You must make the first step and talk about it.

Important notice

In the highly unlikely case you might find yourself in possible physical, emotional or sexual jeopardy from anyone in your home, community or school, please call the SPONSOR main office immediately. Your call will be handled with strict confidence. If you have this type of concern, do not hesitate. Call immediately.

Supervision: you will probably feel at times like you are being treated like a little child. Most American families have more rules than you're used to at home. You are expected to obey the rules of your host family. Do not compare them to the rules you are used to having at home. They will not be the same

Modesty: most American families have a need for privacy. It is not appropriate to walk into somebody's bedroom when the door is closed. You must always knock first. It is also not appropriate to walk around the house in your underwear. You should always cover up with clothing or a robe.

Manners: if you are not sure what is acceptable and what is not, then watch and learn. You may quickly see that all members of the family put heir dishes in the sink after dinner. Do the same. If they ask to be excused from the dinner table, do the same. You will be expected to act polite and respectful at all times. This includes saying "please" and "thank you". If you do not use these words, you will be considered rude and others will not want to help you. Watch and learn and ask for help if you are unsure.

Church/religion: if you host family attends church regularly, they will probably want you to attend with them. It is important that you consider this opportunity to be involved with your host family. It is a nice gesture to join your family at church. Try to show an interest and approach their views with respect, even if you prefer not to participate.

Transportation: public transportation in many parts of the U.S. Is not very efficient and sometimes is not considered a safe way for teenager to get around. You may find that you are homebound without a way to get around. Discuss this with your host parents and ask what is appropriate for them. They will not be able to drive you everywhere you want to go, but hopefully they will help you out on occasion if you give them enough notice.

Food: many exchange students arrive in the U.S. with a great fear that they will gain weight. It is normal to gain or lose a few pounds when adjusting to a new diet. Do not worry about this and do not refuse to eat. You will not gain a lot of weight unless you eat more food than you are used to at home. The key is a stay active and you should be fine. As you are adjusting to the new dietary habits or your host family, be sure to be open to trying new foods. You may be surprised at what you like. Let your family know what your favorite menu items are.

Money£ºyou should be receiving at least $250-300 per month for spending money. You may not need this much money each month, but overall, you will find that you need to have at least this much money on hand. It is very likely that the first time you visit the doctor you will have to pay for it waiting for the insurance company to reimburse you. Your host parents should never have to loan you money for any reason. You should also never have to loan money to someone else. Your money is for all of your personal expenses: school supplies. Clothing, toiletries, entertainment and lunch purchased at school. Your host family has been asked to provide meals for you. Dinner out with your friends is your own personal expense. Dinner out with your host family is usually paid for by the family and not the students. You may discuss this with your family if you are unsure.

Telephone: you should be making all long distance calls "collect" or with a calling card. If your host family allows you to make long distance calls on their telephone bill, you must pay for these calls as soon as the bill arrives. You should never owe your host family money for unpaid phone bills. Your telephone calls to your family or friends at home should be limited to once a month. Frequent calls home will negatively affect your ability to adjust and rely on your host family and country for solutions to your problems. You should not be talking on the telephone with other exchange students frequently and above all. Be sure to respect your host family's rules about how often and for how long you may talk on the phone. Staying in your bedroom and talking on the telephone will cut you off from your family and cause a lot of frustration for everyone.

Insurance

You have been provided with an insurance policy that covers most of your medical needs. You will not have a company for medical expenses, but you may have to pay for your medical bills up front and wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company. You will be receiving your insurance brochure and claim form. The brochure will help explain exactly what is covered and what is not. Certain activities that are considered high risk by your insurance company will not be covered. It is important that you read your insurance brochure with your host family and call the insurance company if you have any questions. For example, you are not allowed to drive motorized vehicle. If you do and you become injured, your insurance company will not pay for the claim.

Sports: your insurance includes most sports that you will participate in. There are some exceptions, however. For example varsity football is considered high risk and is not covered by most insurance companies. Before you participate in a new sport, you may be offered an insurance rider (extra insurance) by your school. Always call the insurance company to determine if you need the extra insurance or not. Most of the time you will not, but is better to check in advance, rather than after an injury.

To file a claim, send in claim form with any medical bills or prescription receipts to:

                CareMed Claims

                CISI Claim department

                 River plaza, 9 West Broad Street

                Stamford, CT 06902-3788, USA

               CareMed Claims

                CISI Claim department

                 River plaza, 9 West Broad Street

                Stamford, CT 06902-3788, USA

Rules/standards of conduct

Let's take a closer look at the rules and standards to be sure that you fully understand them. The rules will not change just because you ask. You and your parents signed that you would abide by these rules. Please understand that if you decide to break them, you risk being sent home. Read each rule again carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them immediately with your SPONSOR area coordinator.

Expectations for host family participation:

1. All American host families are volunteers and receive no compensation for having you live in their home. Host families participate in the exchange program for their desire for cross-cultural enrichment. Fees paid to Sponsor are used for administrative, insurance and supervisory costs.

2.  No guarantee is made with regard to placement in a particular region of the U.S. or with a particular type of host family. Local representatives carefully screen and select host families to participate in the sponsor program. Participating exchange students are required to adjust to the policies and lifestyle of their host family as long as it is reasonable.

3. Students must never borrow money from the host family or any other source. Natural parents must furnish adequate spending money with will cover the expense of the student's school material, toiletries, entertainment, transportation, school lunches, etc. Natural parents should provide their students with $250-300 per month. Students must pay for all personal medical bills (not covered by provided insurance) and long distance telephone charges. If a student leaves a host family with outstanding debts, the student's natural family will be responsible for payment of these debts.

Natural family visits and student travel while participating in the SPONSOR program:

1. As visit by natural parents during the program year may seriously jeopardize the participant's success in year. Visits may only occur during the last month of the program year and parents must have prior consent from SPONSOR mail office. If a member of your family insists on coming to see you, notify your SPONSOR are coordinator and make sure that the visit occurs at he end of the program year.

2. Students may not have friends or siblings from home, visit at any time during program participation.

3. Sponsor strongly discourages exchange students from making or receiving frequent telephone calls or faxes to or from on natural parents or friends in home country. Frequent letter writing is encouraged and has found to be very beneficial.

SPONSOR rules regarding driver's education/driving a motorized vehicle:

1.  Students may not drive, e any car, motorcycle or other motorized vehicle. Participation in classroom driver's education and the acquisition of a driver's license is not guaranteed. Read the driver's educational rule carefully and discuss it with your host family and area coordinator. You might not be able to get a driver's license and you will not be allowed to drive while in the U.S. There are no exceptions.

2£®An exception to rule#1 may be driving while accompanied by a licensed instructor as part of a driver's education course. Permission from sponsor area coordinator must be obtained before participating in a driver's education program. The cost of any driving course must be paid by the student.

3. The student may not use the host family's car for driving or driving practice at any time¡£

4. If a driver's license is obtained by the student, it may only be during the final month of the program year and license must be surrendered to the sponsor area coordinator until the student departs the U.S. It is illegal to drive a car in the U.S. without driver's license in possession.

ALL OTHER SPONSOR RULES:

1.  The student is participating in the high school exchange program. The student must be enrolled in high school as a full time student. Three-fourth of classes must consist of academic subjects, the remaining classes may be elective chosen by the student, you must maintain at least a "C" average with neither an "F"(failing) grade nor an official complaint from your school. Your academic behavior and attitude must be exemplary.

2. Drinking alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, is illegal for persons under the age of 21 in most states. All illegal use, purchase, or possession of alcohol, drugs, or other harmful controlled substances is prohibited.

3. Students must abide by all local, state and federal laws. If a student breaks any of these laws, the program sponsorship and Visa will be revoked and the student will be sent home as per USIA regulations.

4.  Students must comply with all reasonable rules of the host family and must keep the host family informed of your whereabouts and when you will return home.

5.  Travel outside the local area, other than with host family, requires written permission from host parents and authoritarian by SPONSOR area coordinator. SPONSOR must always be advised of travel plans, including a phone before leaving the host country and must be approved by SPONSOR . You must have permission from SPONSOR to travel outside your local area, other than with your host family. Major holidays must be spent with you host family. You are participating in a home stay program not a travel program.

6. Students are not allowed to hitch-hike.

7. It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to purchase or use tobacco in the U.S. If you are over 18 and you do smoke, you must comply with smoking restriction imposed by the host family. Regardless of your age, if you stated in your application that you do not smoke, then you must not smoke during your stay.

8. You are not allowed to take a job during your stay. The only exceptions are occasional jobs, such as yard work or baby-sitting, for which a social security number is not needed. Any such jobs must not interfere with school work and are only allowed with the host family's permission.

9. You must abide by all decisions of sponsor, its area coordinators and your host family. It may be very hard for you to accept the fact that your host family, sponsor area coordinators and sponsor have the right to set the rules for you. They know what is dangerous or inappropriate for you in a strange country. Even if you think that what they are saying is silly, you must obey. Even if you feel like you're being treated like child you still have to accept the well-international rules and adjust to them with a good attitude.

SAYING GOOD-BYE

As the end of the school year approaches, you may find yourself flooded with a mix of emotions. We have a saying that you may not know "which leg to stand on" this means that you will be torn between sadness at saying ¡°good-bye¡± and excitement from being reunited with your friends and family. Be sensitive to your host family at this time. Be sure to talk about your feeling about going home and try to find a nice way to say good bye to them. Leave a nice not under you pillow before you go. You may also want to leave behind a good bye token. A small photo collage or a trinket that will remind your family of you is always nice. Some students feel extreme sadness upon leaving, while others are excited and ready to get back home. Either way, be sure to leave on positive note. Your host family has given you a gracious gift by sharing their home and hearts with you. Do not leave behind any hurt feelings. It is time to let go of the negative memories and leave with only the good times in your heart and mind. Try to leave with no regrets. Be sure to leave behind a nice note or card for your SPONSOR area coordinator as well. You would not have been able to come without your SPONSOR Area coordinator making it possible.

A FINAL WORD: You are an ambassador of your country. In some instances, you may be the only person of your nationality that your community has been exposed to. The impression that you leave with your host family, school and community will be a lasting picture of your country and culture. If you leave a good impression, everyone you've met will carry with them a sincere feeling of goodwill towards your home country. If you leave a bad

Impression, most will feel hesitant at the thought of ever hosting a student from your country again. The true idea of exchange is to bring people together to celebrate what they have in common and enjoy the differences. It is an opportunity for mutual discovery. You need to leave the door open for other exchange students.

Good luck and have a great year!

 

 

 

                                       Cultural Exchange Student Guide book

Dear student:

Welcome to the exciting adventure of participating in the student exchange program. I know that you must be full of expectations for the following year with regards to your school, family community, and overall experience. Chances are your year will be a new and exciting experience for you and not at all what you expected.

Being open minded and having a positive attitude will help you to experience the best year possible. After all, this is your year1 you will have the opportunity to make it positive or negative, and in this student guidebook I will show you how.

Your host family your school and program sponsor are excited that you have finally arrived. It is my desire that you feel as prepared and as knowledgeable as possible so that when challenges occur and study this guidebook. Use it as a reference throughout the year and if you do not fully understand it be sure to talk to your host parents or area coordinator. You are ultimately responsible for following all aspects of this guide book so it is your job to be sure that you filly understand it.

On behalf of the staff and volunteers, £Éwelcome you and wish you a your of excitement and adventure.

Sincerely, 

Chief executive officer

 

WELCOME TO YOUR HOST COUNTRY

Sponsor welcomes you to your new home and we are glad that you have chosen to participate in our program. While in the United States, treating your time as an exchange student as precious gift. Your dreams have now turned to reality and you alone will have the ultimate choice as to how your year will turn out. Your year will not always be easy. Settling in will be a major adjustment for you. It will be easier for some than for other. Do not expect every moment to be perfect and do not feel that you or your family is failing if you have difficult times. You will be living together which means that together you will experience joy, excitement, boredom, frustration and pain. In the end, however it will be up to you to make your year successful. You will have to have an open and positive attitude toward everything that comes your way as you live each day in this strange and diverse country. Please read this booklet carefully as it will give you the information and help you need to have the best year possible. If you have any questions or do not fully understand what you are doing, please be sure to discuss this with your sponsor. He or she is there for you. Be sure to ask for help when you need it.

HOME SWEET HOME-A word about your Host Family

The single most important relationship you will have while in the United States is with your host family. A good relationship with your host family can mean the difference between a wonderful lifelong memory, or an unhappy year full of complaints. You may have let to or other media influence your mind about the U.S. and the kinds of families who live here. Perhaps you were expecting your family to live in a fancy home with a swimming pool and live-in maid. Instead, you probably found that your family works hard lives comfortable and expects all members of the family to help out around the house. Regardless of what kind of family you are living with, they are probable not what you expected. We can assure you the families in the U.S. are diverse and uniquely different from one another. It is impossible to generalize for you what kind of home you can expect to live. We can tell you, however, that this family was chosen former and that they were willing to accept your complete stranger, into their home for an entire school year. Your presence takes away their privacy and is an added expense to them, but they are eager to accept you and treat you as family member, not a guest. That means that you will be required to participate in family events and help out around the house. You will also be asked to follow all host family rules and have a gracious and thankful attitude at all times. Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.

Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.
Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program for having you in their home. Please treat them with respect at all times for their generosity.
Your host family will not make money whatsoever from our program.

Keys to successful living with your host family:

1. Realize that is your responsibility to adjust your host family's lifestyle and way of doing things and not the way around. Your family has not been asked to change the function of their home or lifestyle for you.

2. Ask yourself what you can do for your family. Do not wait to be asked to help out. Volunteer your help and always offer assistance with positive attitude.

3. Give up your search for the perfect family. There is no such thing. Look for the positive in your family and remember that they saw enough positive in you to make the decision to invite you into their home.

4£®Do not compare you host family to another. Never compare you home or experience with another exchange student's. Your experience is uniquely yours. Always remember that no matter how perfect the other student's experience seems to be, they to have had to overcome difficult moments. Chances are, that student is happy because he or she choose to be happy and not focus on the negative. Do not compare!

5. Share yourself with your family. You can choose to be present while dinner is being prepared, or while the family is grocery shopping, or just watching TV. This may seem meaningless to you but these are the times that you truly bond with your family by just being with them. Do not seclude yourself in your bedroom or sleep in half of the day. Greet year family each morning and get involved with them. Also, you should think about something special that you can do for them from time to time. Perhaps you can cook a special meal, do something creative on a family member's birthday, spend time talking with your family and share your daily experiences. If you family invites you to go to church, the local museum, or just on a drive-join them. Even if you are tired or bored, push yourself a little extra. In the end, you will be very happy that you did.

6. Listen carefully to what your host parents tell you. It is never ok to ignore requests, responsibilities or understand what they are asking you, your host parents should not have to repeat their requests to you. If you don't fully understand what they are asking you, then ask for more information. Write yourself notes if you have to. There will be a lot to remember at first but you will catch on very quickly if you listen to them.

7. Remember "Please" and" thank you". These words are extremely important in the U.S. If you do not say these words people will consider you rude and ungrateful. You cannot us them too much and you will love the response you get when you do.

8. Take care of yourself. In the U.S. it is considered offensive if one does not shower and clean themselves regularly. You must shower once a day and more often if you are active in sports. You must always launder your clothing after it has been worn. Be sure to use deodorant at all times and brush your teeth twice a day. It may seem silly to be mentioning this to you, but different cultures have different feelings about personal hygiene. In the U.S. you are expected to be cleaned and groomed. You should also keep your bedroom clean and take care of your own laundry. Wash your bedding regularly and do not let your bedroom turn into a hazard area. It would be mistake to assume that your housework or dirty dishes will magically take care of themselves. If you leave it, than ask yourself, "Who will have to take care of this?" always take care of yourself.

9£®Never criticize your family. It's already been mentioned that your family may be different than what you were expecting. It is never ok to let your host family know that you are dissatisfied with them or that you do not approve of them. It is also never ok to discuss your host family's personal affairs with other members of your community. If you have concerns about your host family, you may only discuss them with you¡¯re the Sponsor.

Attitude

To a great extent, your attitude will determine the success or failure of your exchange year. No matter what happens or where you are, a positive attitude will be a great help. Be open-minded and look for the good in all that is around you. Always explore differences as learning opportunity. Remember that no culture is better than another, they're just different. When you are at school or home, if you constantly find fault in the American culture you will turn people away from you. If you find that it is hard to make friends, you must examine yourself to determine what kind of attitude you are displaying. If you are not sure why you're having a problem as someone that you trust to tell you how they perceive your attitude. It is a guarantee that there will be good and bad all around you. If you insist on pointing out the bad to everyone no one will want to be around you. Remember that you are an ambassador of your country and culture. If you are constantly negative, you will leave the impression behind that you are a product of your culture and therefore all people from your country must be that way. Please represent your culture in a positive way so that future exchange student from your country will not be automatically rejected due to the negative feelings you have left behind

The bottom line is, when your year is over you can never repeat it. You can only be a high school exchange student in American once in your life. Your host family can host as often as they want but your experience will end once and for all. When it is all said and done, you will feel sad and regretful if you look back and can only remember the bad. Try not to create a negative atmosphere that you later regret. Instead, make the best of every moment so that when you go back home you can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. After all, you were selected to participate in the sponsor program because we believed you were ready for it. That means that we believed that you would be mature, open-minded, positive, adventurous and flexible. Sponsor expects that at all times you will uphold a positive attitude.

Culture shock

At some time during the year you will probably find yourself feeling lost or alone in this strange country. You may arrive feeling that way, or it may set in after the initial excitement wares off. You must understand that these feelings are normal and expected. These feeling are referred to as "culture shock". People of every age and culture experience this in some way when they leave their home and comfort zone and travel to a different part of the world. Culture shock can be experienced by moving from one school to another, from on town to anther, or from one country to another. We expect you to experience this to some degree and we are here to help you get through it rather than stay stuck in it.

Signs of culture shock:

l. Feeling that everything is stupid or not right.

2. Having an unrealistic sense that everything at home is perfect. Feeling that no one     around you understands what you are going through.

3. Feeling depressed or angry. You may become irritated about petty things.

4. You may feel that you do not want to go anywhere.

5. You may eat too much or too little.

6. You may sleep more than usual or not enough, gain weight, or feel afraid to try anything new.

7. The unacceptable ways of dealing with these problems are: drinking, drugs, going home, eating too much, or isolating yourselves.

The best ways to successfully get through these feeling are:

l. Stay busy! Make a decision to do something the instant these feeling set in.

2. Concentrate on what's happening now. Avoid thinking about home and what is going on there.

3. Talk to your host family about your feelings. They have been told that you may go through this, so be willing to discuss it with them.

4. Do not spend all of your time talking with other exchange students. They will only make you feel worse.

5. Do not call home constantly or sit around writing letters about how bad things area. If you must write a letter home, wait 48hours to send it. Chances are your feeling will lift by then and you will wish you did not send home such a disparaging note.

6. Make friends! Do not expect everyone to treat you like you are special. You must make the effort to make friends.

7. Join a club or sports team. This is a sure way to make friends. If you have no friends and you do not participate in any activity outside of the classroom the n you can only blame yourself.

If you feel that your problem is different and this advice does not help you, be sure to talk to your sponsor coordinator He/She is dedicated to providing you with rewarding exchange student experiences and will do all he/she can to help you. Remember that your sponsor coordinator is largely a volunteer and is helping you because he/she wants to. If you do not feel that your sponsor coordinator is offering you the assistance that you need, please call for more assistance. We are a team at sponsor and we want to be sure that you have all the support that you need.

School

SPONSOR makes no guarantees to you with regards to what grade you will be enrolled in, whether you will be able to participate in sports, whether you will receive transferable credit, or whether you will be able to graduate from your high school. Each high school has their own policy regarding these issues. You must always respect the policy of your high school and never argue with school staff. Chances are, you will not be allowed to graduate while you are here so please accept that now.

As you know, Sponsor is an academic program (a school study program) not a travel or entertainment program. The visa that you have entered the country on, states that you must attend school full-time, the entire time that you are here. Your attitude and behavior at school must always be positive and respectful. Your sponsor in area coordinator will periodically send a progress report to your school to determine how you are doing. If the report reflects negative behavior or problem with your attendance, you may be sent home.

Your high school expects you to fluent in English. If you are having problems at school because of your lack of ability in this area, you will be responsible for getting yourself a tutor or whatever assistance is necessary to improve your skill. Any expense for this assistance must be paid for by you or your natural parents. You must never become a burden to the ESL (English as a second language) program at the school. The school is not responsible for teaching you the basic language skills that you should have already had before coming. Therefore, if your grades are falling behind and your language skill does not improve significantly over time, Sponsor I will have no choice but to send you home. This is not a punishment; it is simply or responsibility to the school. They accepted you because they believed that you had the language skills necessary to be successful at an American high school. Please remember that before coming to the U.S. We asked your language teacher and program administrator to evaluate your English ability. You were also given a language proficiency test. Based on our findings, your language seemed sufficient.

Remember that you must always abide by the rules of your high school. They will tell you that you cannot be late. You will be given homework on a daily basis. You may be told what you can and cannot wear to school. You may also be told that you must take certain classes, or that a class that you wanted to take is not available to you. The high school did not have to accept you into their student body, therefore you must always appreciate what the school has to offer you and be respectful and obedient.

Your sponsor I Area coordinator may not get involved challenging your school to allow you to graduate or have certain classes or grades. We have told your high school that Sponsor and all Sponsor I students will respect the school's decision.

Sports/clubs/activities/:  Your high school will offer a variety of clubs and sports that you may be able to participate in. Sponsor requires every exchange student to get involved in at least one extra-curricular activity. This is not meant to conflict with your studies, but we feel it is a crucial part of your adjustment. Getting involved in a sport or club allows you to become part of a select group or team. You will quickly begin to associate with other students and making friends will happen rather quickly for you. Without any involvement outside of the classroom, you will probably find that it is difficult to make friends. You also may find that you are bored and homesick if you are going home every day to study and have no contact with other teenagers. This is your opportunity to get involved. It will make a big difference for you very early on.

Making friends

It will be very tempting to want to spend your time with other exchange students. You need to try to resist this urge, as difficult as it will be, especially in the beginning. There are several reasons for this. By only associating with other exchange students, especially from your home country, you will be tempted to speak your own language. You could have stayed at home to do that. If you insist on speaking your native language, you will frustrate the people around you and isolate yourself from making American friends. It is considered rude and unfriendly to continue to do this. Each of you expressed a desire to improve your English and the real test will be if you can master the language with the exchange students from home. If you can converse with them in English you will know that you are accomplishing what you came for. Don't let other student temp you speak in your own language. You should insist on staying focused on the goal that you set for yourself before you came-to become fluent in the English language.

Spending your time with other exchange students tells the American students that you are not interested in getting to know them. They will feel intimidated to approach you, just as you feel about the. Your problem will never change if you do not open yourself up to making friends with the America classmates at your school. Also, remember that by socializing with other exchange students you begin the dangerous practice of comparing host families or problems you are having. This is detrimental to your success as an exchange student.

America student can be your friends, but it's up to you! You can have a lot of American friends, but you will have to make the first move. This sounds difficult because American teenagers will seem to keep to themselves. Remember that you are new to them. They have had their friendships together before you arrived. Imagine what it would be like if a foreign student come to your school at home. You may find that the American students say "Hi" to you and show interest in you, but that is where the friendship ends. Many teenagers keep to themselves because it makes them feel safe. It is very hard to leave their comfort zone and reach out to someone they don't know you make the first step out of your comfort zone. Talk to your host parents about whether you can invite a friend over or to a interest and invite you to their next gathering. Just remember, it all starts with you! Never give up! Your American high school experience can be a good memory for you if you keep a positive attitude. No one will want to hang around you if you are negative or bitter. With a smile you will eventually have some friends, probably a lot of them. Just keep trying

Your sponsor area coordinator

Your sponsor area coordinator has worked very hard to help find your host family. Your area coordinator has probably spent many, many preparing for you to come. He/she has prepared a host family orientation meeting, a student orientation meeting and has taken care of obtaining the acceptance into your high school. Sometimes there are many problems that must be overcome to make all of the necessary arrangements for the student arrival; other times it goes very smoothly. The bottom line is, it is a difficult and time consuming job. Your sponsor area coordinator was chosen to represent our program because we believe that he/she would uphold the standards and expectations of sponsor. Your area coordinator will be talking with you at least once a month and will meet with you in person a couple of times throughout the year. If you have a problem or concern, your sponsor area coordinator should be the first person you contact. Your area coordinator will help answer your questions and give you assistance with your problems or concerns. If an answer cannot be found, then he/she will call our office. You must always respect the decisions of your sponsor. Coordinator and understand that he/she is following the directions that were given by sponsor.

Sometimes a student will argue with his area coordinator and assume that the area coordinator does not really have any responsibility over the exchange students. This is a terrible mistake! Your sponsor area coordinator will report all problems to the sponsor responsible officer and will participate in the discipline strategy for his/her students. If your area coordinator recommends that you be disciplined or sent home, it will be your job to change his or her mind. It is recommend that you give utmost respect to your sponsor area coordinator and abide by all sponsor rules.

Notes: we know that nobody is perfect and that sometimes decisions are made based on the opinions of the sponsor area coordinator. So what should you do if you think you are being treated unfairly? First refer to this handbook. Read the sections relating to your problem to determine what sponsor's philosophy is. You will most likely find your answer and understand your area coordinator's decision a little more clearly. If you cannot find the answer to your problem and you need more assistance then your area coordinator is giving you, please call our office¡£

How to handle problems

This section is not written to help with problem if they arise. It is to help you handle problems when they arise. Do not expect perfection; it doesn't exits. You can choose to look at a challenge as a problem or an opportunity. It is your choice. If something is going wrong in your school or host family, you need to check yourself first. Are you speaking English regularly? Are you spending a lot of time with exchange students? Are you offering to help our family and keeping up with your chores? Are you calling home frequently? Are you sharing yourself with your family and classmates? After you have checked your attitude and behavior, you may find that you still have a problem that you do not know how to resolve. Here are some tips on handling problems.

Don't:

1. Complain to other exchange students- they will probably make you feel worse.

2. Complain to your natural parents. There is absolutely nothing they can do and it will only cause them to worry.

3. Tell other people in the school, neighborhood or church about your problems with your family. You can cause serious damage to their reputation and it is very unfair to handle problems this way.

4. Become hostile and angry. This is a sign that you are ignoring the problem rather than taking care of it.

5. Ignore the problem and pretend like it will go away.

Do:

1. Call your SPONSOR area coordinator and discuss what is happening.

2. Call the SPONSOR office if you do not get assistance from your area coordinator.

3.  Talk to a school teacher or counselor if you need another perspective.

4.  Avoid blaming anyone. Just share the facts and ask for help.

We understand that you have been asked to make the adjustment into the home of your host family. We expect you to be grateful and accepting of your family's difference. However, we are also aware that there are times when you may feel mistreated by your host family. We cannot help you if you do not call us and talk about it. We will respect your privacy and confidentiality and will help you to overcome your problem. You must make the first step and talk about it.

Important notice

In the highly unlikely case you might find yourself in possible physical, emotional or sexual jeopardy from anyone in your home, community or school, please call the SPONSOR main office immediately. Your call will be handled with strict confidence. If you have this type of concern, do not hesitate. Call immediately.

Supervision: you will probably feel at times like you are being treated like a little child. Most American families have more rules than you're used to at home. You are expected to obey the rules of your host family. Do not compare them to the rules you are used to having at home. They will not be the same

Modesty: most American families have a need for privacy. It is not appropriate to walk into somebody's bedroom when the door is closed. You must always knock first. It is also not appropriate to walk around the house in your underwear. You should always cover up with clothing or a robe.

Manners: if you are not sure what is acceptable and what is not, then watch and learn. You may quickly see that all members of the family put heir dishes in the sink after dinner. Do the same. If they ask to be excused from the dinner table, do the same. You will be expected to act polite and respectful at all times. This includes saying "please" and "thank you". If you do not use these words, you will be considered rude and others will not want to help you. Watch and learn and ask for help if you are unsure.

Church/religion: if you host family attends church regularly, they will probably want you to attend with them. It is important that you consider this opportunity to be involved with your host family. It is a nice gesture to join your family at church. Try to show an interest and approach their views with respect, even if you prefer not to participate.

Transportation: public transportation in many parts of the U.S. Is not very efficient and sometimes is not considered a safe way for teenager to get around. You may find that you are homebound without a way to get around. Discuss this with your host parents and ask what is appropriate for them. They will not be able to drive you everywhere you want to go, but hopefully they will help you out on occasion if you give them enough notice.

Food: many exchange students arrive in the U.S. with a great fear that they will gain weight. It is normal to gain or lose a few pounds when adjusting to a new diet. Do not worry about this and do not refuse to eat. You will not gain a lot of weight unless you eat more food than you are used to at home. The key is a stay active and you should be fine. As you are adjusting to the new dietary habits or your host family, be sure to be open to trying new foods. You may be surprised at what you like. Let your family know what your favorite menu items are.

Money£ºyou should be receiving at least $250-300 per month for spending money. You may not need this much money each month, but overall, you will find that you need to have at least this much money on hand. It is very likely that the first time you visit the doctor you will have to pay for it waiting for the insurance company to reimburse you. Your host parents should never have to loan you money for any reason. You should also never have to loan money to someone else. Your money is for all of your personal expenses: school supplies. Clothing, toiletries, entertainment and lunch purchased at school. Your host family has been asked to provide meals for you. Dinner out with your friends is your own personal expense. Dinner out with your host family is usually paid for by the family and not the students. You may discuss this with your family if you are unsure.

Telephone: you should be making all long distance calls "collect" or with a calling card. If your host family allows you to make long distance calls on their telephone bill, you must pay for these calls as soon as the bill arrives. You should never owe your host family money for unpaid phone bills. Your telephone calls to your family or friends at home should be limited to once a month. Frequent calls home will negatively affect your ability to adjust and rely on your host family and country for solutions to your problems. You should not be talking on the telephone with other exchange students frequently and above all. Be sure to respect your host family's rules about how often and for how long you may talk on the phone. Staying in your bedroom and talking on the telephone will cut you off from your family and cause a lot of frustration for everyone.

Insurance

You have been provided with an insurance policy that covers most of your medical needs. You will not have a company for medical expenses, but you may have to pay for your medical bills up front and wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company. You will be receiving your insurance brochure and claim form. The brochure will help explain exactly what is covered and what is not. Certain activities that are considered high risk by your insurance company will not be covered. It is important that you read your insurance brochure with your host family and call the insurance company if you have any questions. For example, you are not allowed to drive motorized vehicle. If you do and you become injured, your insurance company will not pay for the claim.

Sports: your insurance includes most sports that you will participate in. There are some exceptions, however. For example varsity football is considered high risk and is not covered by most insurance companies. Before you participate in a new sport, you may be offered an insurance rider (extra insurance) by your school. Always call the insurance company to determine if you need the extra insurance or not. Most of the time you will not, but is better to check in advance, rather than after an injury.

To file a claim, send in claim form with any medical bills or prescription receipts to:

                CareMed Claims

                CISI Claim department

                 River plaza, 9 West Broad Street

                Stamford, CT 06902-3788, USA

               CareMed Claims

                CISI Claim department

                 River plaza, 9 West Broad Street

                Stamford, CT 06902-3788, USA

Rules/standards of conduct

Let's take a closer look at the rules and standards to be sure that you fully understand them. The rules will not change just because you ask. You and your parents signed that you would abide by these rules. Please understand that if you decide to break them, you risk being sent home. Read each rule again carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them immediately with your SPONSOR area coordinator.

Expectations for host family participation:

1. All American host families are volunteers and receive no compensation for having you live in their home. Host families participate in the exchange program for their desire for cross-cultural enrichment. Fees paid to Sponsor are used for administrative, insurance and supervisory costs.

2.  No guarantee is made with regard to placement in a particular region of the U.S. or with a particular type of host family. Local representatives carefully screen and select host families to participate in the sponsor program. Participating exchange students are required to adjust to the policies and lifestyle of their host family as long as it is reasonable.

3. Students must never borrow money from the host family or any other source. Natural parents must furnish adequate spending money with will cover the expense of the student's school material, toiletries, entertainment, transportation, school lunches, etc. Natural parents should provide their students with $250-300 per month. Students must pay for all personal medical bills (not covered by provided insurance) and long distance telephone charges. If a student leaves a host family with outstanding debts, the student's natural family will be responsible for payment of these debts.

Natural family visits and student travel while participating in the SPONSOR program:

1. As visit by natural parents during the program year may seriously jeopardize the participant's success in year. Visits may only occur during the last month of the program year and parents must have prior consent from SPONSOR mail office. If a member of your family insists on coming to see you, notify your SPONSOR are coordinator and make sure that the visit occurs at he end of the program year.

2. Students may not have friends or siblings from home, visit at any time during program participation.

3. Sponsor strongly discourages exchange students from making or receiving frequent telephone calls or faxes to or from on natural parents or friends in home country. Frequent letter writing is encouraged and has found to be very beneficial.

SPONSOR rules regarding driver's education/driving a motorized vehicle:

1.  Students may not drive, e any car, motorcycle or other motorized vehicle. Participation in classroom driver's education and the acquisition of a driver's license is not guaranteed. Read the driver's educational rule carefully and discuss it with your host family and area coordinator. You might not be able to get a driver's license and you will not be allowed to drive while in the U.S. There are no exceptions.

2£®An exception to rule#1 may be driving while accompanied by a licensed instructor as part of a driver's education course. Permission from sponsor area coordinator must be obtained before participating in a driver's education program. The cost of any driving course must be paid by the student.

3. The student may not use the host family's car for driving or driving practice at any time¡£

4. If a driver's license is obtained by the student, it may only be during the final month of the program year and license must be surrendered to the sponsor area coordinator until the student departs the U.S. It is illegal to drive a car in the U.S. without driver's license in possession.

ALL OTHER SPONSOR RULES:

1.  The student is participating in the high school exchange program. The student must be enrolled in high school as a full time student. Three-fourth of classes must consist of academic subjects, the remaining classes may be elective chosen by the student, you must maintain at least a "C" average with neither an "F"(failing) grade nor an official complaint from your school. Your academic behavior and attitude must be exemplary.

2. Drinking alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, is illegal for persons under the age of 21 in most states. All illegal use, purchase, or possession of alcohol, drugs, or other harmful controlled substances is prohibited.

3. Students must abide by all local, state and federal laws. If a student breaks any of these laws, the program sponsorship and Visa will be revoked and the student will be sent home as per USIA regulations.

4.  Students must comply with all reasonable rules of the host family and must keep the host family informed of your whereabouts and when you will return home.

5.  Travel outside the local area, other than with host family, requires written permission from host parents and authoritarian by SPONSOR area coordinator. SPONSOR must always be advised of travel plans, including a phone before leaving the host country and must be approved by SPONSOR . You must have permission from SPONSOR to travel outside your local area, other than with your host family. Major holidays must be spent with you host family. You are participating in a home stay program not a travel program.

6. Students are not allowed to hitch-hike.

7. It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to purchase or use tobacco in the U.S. If you are over 18 and you do smoke, you must comply with smoking restriction imposed by the host family. Regardless of your age, if you stated in your application that you do not smoke, then you must not smoke during your stay.

8. You are not allowed to take a job during your stay. The only exceptions are occasional jobs, such as yard work or baby-sitting, for which a social security number is not needed. Any such jobs must not interfere with school work and are only allowed with the host family's permission.

9. You must abide by all decisions of sponsor, its area coordinators and your host family. It may be very hard for you to accept the fact that your host family, sponsor area coordinators and sponsor have the right to set the rules for you. They know what is dangerous or inappropriate for you in a strange country. Even if you think that what they are saying is silly, you must obey. Even if you feel like you're being treated like child you still have to accept the well-international rules and adjust to them with a good attitude.

SAYING GOOD-BYE

As the end of the school year approaches, you may find yourself flooded with a mix of emotions. We have a saying that you may not know "which leg to stand on" this means that you will be torn between sadness at saying ¡°good-bye¡± and excitement from being reunited with your friends and family. Be sensitive to your host family at this time. Be sure to talk about your feeling about going home and try to find a nice way to say good bye to them. Leave a nice not under you pillow before you go. You may also want to leave behind a good bye token. A small photo collage or a trinket that will remind your family of you is always nice. Some students feel extreme sadness upon leaving, while others are excited and ready to get back home. Either way, be sure to leave on positive note. Your host family has given you a gracious gift by sharing their home and hearts with you. Do not leave behind any hurt feelings. It is time to let go of the negative memories and leave with only the good times in your heart and mind. Try to leave with no regrets. Be sure to leave behind a nice note or card for your SPONSOR area coordinator as well. You would not have been able to come without your SPONSOR Area coordinator making it possible.

A FINAL WORD: You are an ambassador of your country. In some instances, you may be the only person of your nationality that your community has been exposed to. The impression that you leave with your host family, school and community will be a lasting picture of your country and culture. If you leave a good impression, everyone you've met will carry with them a sincere feeling of goodwill towards your home country. If you leave a bad

Impression, most will feel hesitant at the thought of ever hosting a student from your country again. The true idea of exchange is to bring people together to celebrate what they have in common and enjoy the differences. It is an opportunity for mutual discovery. You need to leave the door open for other exchange students.

Good luck and have a great year!