It can be challenging for new students to acclimate to not just a new country and a new (host) family, but also an entirely new country.
Cambridge Network and its school partners have created a post-arrival orientation program that helps students bond with peers in the program, as well as learn important tips about culture shock and what to expect when it comes to adjusting to their host country.
This program not only helps welcome students, but it also helps them feel part of a group and assures that that any culture shock or confusion is normal.
Additionally, the program provides information to host families to help them support their student during this transition to “American life.”
Where and How Events Are Hosted
Support Service Coordinators (SSC) organize these events and usually arrange for the events to be hosted at the school, after the regular school hours. Since this tends to coincide with dinnertime the SSC prepares food, and encourages host families to bring food for a fun potluck experience.
The evening usually begins with a 15 minute greeting and some time to eat dinner, followed by an hour-long discussion about adjustment to American life and the challenges of culture shock.
Usually, this is followed by a short, 15-minute activity and then a 30-minute group discussion. While students are learning and talking about how to be successful as international students, host families are learning and talking about how to be successful as host families.
While activities will vary depending the group and the group’s leader, one common activity is called “Behavior Continuum Topics.” This activity encourages both host families and students to recognize their differences and similarities regarding customs and issues across a range of topics like table manners, privacy, and curfews. This helps both groups to better understand each other and manage their own expectations.
After this orientation, Cambridge Network continues to work with students, host families, and schools to ensure that each has the very best experience. For more information about Cambridge Network or our programs, please contact us here.
Host families and students in Servite High School are listening carefully at the orientation (Photo by Wendy Wang)
Happy activities to help students and host families learn the importance of communication (Photo by Cindy Nguyen)