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Filtering by Tag: Student exchange program

Happy World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development!

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Today, YFU celebrates the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

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A Year as a YFU Exchange Student in Germany

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The YFU experience is an open invitation to you. The opportunities are there. It is up to you to make the most of it.

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Campus Ambassador Introductions: Grace

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Studying abroad allowed me to become much more independent and self driven as well as gave me a passion for travel and an understanding of the importance of international relations.

As I sit on the curb with my host sister and host aunt, I sing Disney songs quietly to myself to pass the time while waiting for the bus to come to take us home. It is five thirty in the morning and I’ve been up for almost 24 hours consecutively. I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown from exhaustion and culture shock, but in the middle of it I think “Well, this is what you signed up for as an exchange student.”

 I had the opportunity to take a trip up to the mountains of Ecuador during my school vacation. I went up to Lake Quilotoa, a volcano crater lake at more than 12,000 feet, and then hiked 12 km back to the hotel.

 The YFU Ecuador trip to the Galapagos Islands was a great bonding experience with the other exchange students and the sights were spectacular.

This is one of my favorite memories from the ten months I spent in Ecuador because it is such a clear marker of the ways in which my exchange changed me. I had been in country for maybe two weeks when my oldest host sister asked me if I wanted to go with her to a dance that night. It was a Friday so I had gotten up early to go to school and I was already a bit tired. I said yes anyways though because it was a new experience and that is definitely what I got. I had never been to any event even remotely similar and I spent the whole night sitting in a chair on the edge of the dance floor, completely overwhelmed by the intensity of the music and the sheer number of people dancing. I can’t say I enjoyed myself very much on that occasion, but in retrospect I can see it as one of the defining moments of my exchange.

 For an art exam, a couple of my friends and I did a presentation as mimes about the day of friendship.

 In Ecuador, New Year’s Eve is a bigger holiday than Christmas. At midnight they burn paper mache dolls to symbolize the end of the old year and to welcome in the new. The parties last all night with fireworks, dancing and entertainment.

Studying abroad allowed me to become much more independent and self driven as well as gave me a passion for travel and an understanding of the importance of international relations. The experiences I had in Ecuador were life changing and I want to help to provide this opportunity for many students in the future.

 Manta, Ecuador is located directly on the beach and el Colegio del Pacifico, my school, was a ten minute walk away. One day the juniors and seniors took a field trip down to one of the beaches to do athletic activities.

  The school year on the coast of Ecuador runs from February to May so during the break YFU requires students to complete volunteer hours. I did mine at a daycare center in a classroom with children ages one to three years old. It was one of the most fun parts of my exchange; every day the kids made me smile and laugh. I also know a plethora of children’s songs in Spanish.

 I lived in the commercial center of Manta, Tarqui, a street market. This picture was taken from the window of my host family’s apartment. There was always noise and traffic at every hour of the day, no matter what.

5 Tips for Host Parents

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Exchange students are arriving soon. To help new host parents prepare, we’ve drawn from the wisdom of past parents by asking for advice on Facebook and Twitter. Below are 5 tips from host parents to help make sure your student’s arrival goes smoothly.1.  Figure out what your exchange student is going to call you. You can have them call you mom or dad or by your first name. Whatever it is you’d like them to call you, be sure to tell your exchange student what that is. This is a good way of opening up communication among the family and making yourself approachable to your exchange student.

2.  Be clear about the expectations of the house. In fact write down any house rules and go through them with your exchange student. The students are in a totally new situation, and some structure will help them adjust to it.

3.  Privacy! These students will be a part of your family in no time, but everyone needs privacy, even--and sometimes especially--with their family. This can be done in very simple ways such as, giving them some time to themselves each day, and making yourself available without hovering over them. A little privacy can go a long way in building trust.

4.  Don’t plan too much for them, at least not when they first arrive. We know you’re excited and they are too. But they’ve also just arrived in an unfamiliar place after a long trip, so give them a little time to adjust. You’ll have plenty of time for activities once the jet lag has worn off.

5.  They’re new here, so be patient. Yes, they’ve studied English, but they’ll still need some time to get used to speaking it outside of their classroom. The students will also need time to get used to aspects of American life that most of us take for granted. Of course you’re there to help guide them through it, but some things just have to be experienced. They’ll be comfortable in no time, so just be patient.

Have any tips yourself? Share them on our Facebook page or Twitter account!

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