FLEX/YES HOST FAMILY ORIENTATION Academic Year in America AGENDA Welcome About AYA & Grant Programs Host Family Commitment Student Disciplinary Process
Things You Should Know Student Safety End-of-Stay Prep Welcoming Your Student WELCOME Welcome to the AYA family! We are very pleased that you have chosen to host an exchange student this year with Academic Year in America(AYA), a program of the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS)
Foundation. ABOUT ACADEMIC YEAR IN AMERICA HISTORY OF AYA Academic Year in America (AYA) is a cultural high school exchange visitor program. It has been in operation since 1981 and is conducted under the auspices of the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1967 with the assistance of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
It has been designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) as an Exchange Visitor Program authorized to issue the Form DS-2019, which enables qualified participants to apply for a J-1 exchange visitor visa from the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. HISTORY OF GRANT PROGRAMS YES PROGRAM FLEX PROGRAM Established by Congress after events of 9/11 Senator Bill Bradley created
program in 1993 Public diplomacy initiative to encourage understanding between Americans and people in countries with significant Muslim populations Provides scholarships to students from countries of Eurasia to experience life in a democratic society AYAS MISSION & VISION Mission We bring the world together. Vision AYAs mission is to encourage and inspire
young people to become considerate, forward-thinking citizens of the world by creating dynamic educational opportunities to share beliefs, ideologies, and values across cultures. We are committed to providing these experiences with an unrivaled commitment to the safety of our students. YES & FLEX GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Promote mutual understanding, respect, international security and peace Acquire understanding of American values, qualities of leadership and civil society Develop an appreciation for American culture
Show willingness and commitment to serve as agents for change in home communities Interact with Americans and generate enduring ties Share what they have learned and make a difference in home countries OVERSEAS COMPONENT AYA works closely with American Councils (Administrative Organization) on the placement and supervision of YES and FLEX students. American Councils is a liaison between AYA, Department of State and the various Recruiting Organizations throughout the world.
American Councils and the Recruiting Organizations work together on student recruitment, selection, pre-departure and arrival orientations and Alumni programming STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES YES and FLEX programs put special emphasis on recruitment of students with disabilities with the expectation that students can take what they experience here to be an advocate for accessibility and rights of people with disabilities in their home countries. Prior to arrival to their host family, students with disabilities attend a three day workshop run by Mobility International USA. During the workshop students practice approaches to disability-related situations, have mentoring sessions and join various activities to practice leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills. YES ABROAD
Merit-based scholarships for U.S. secondary students to study in select countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey Living with a host family and attending a local school, YES Abroad students promote mutual understanding between the United States and the host country by forming lasting relationships with the local community Visit www.yes-abroad-org to learn more! NATIONAL OFFICE- ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
KEY PLAYERS- THROUGHOUT THE U.S Students Ages 15-18, from all over the world. Come for a semester or full academic year. Very carefully screened and interviewed. Agree to adhere to program rules.
Medically insured, have their own spending money. *Grant students receive incidental allowance and monthly stipend All have the desire to be a student in America! Host Families High Schools People of all ages, economic strata, and ethnic backgrounds.
Accredited public, private, or charter high schools Provide student/s with a safe/suitable home environment. U.S. high schools embrace AYA students as members of their student bodies. Volunteers who are generously facilitating in a true cultural exchange without monetary compensation. Students enroll in full course loads and
can participate in most activities such as band, sports, etc. Provide the love and understanding a young person needs to enjoy a successful academic year in America. School administrators determine a grade placement and sports eligibility. Encourage exchange of ideas and cultures through involvement with the student. LOCAL COORDINATOR (LC)
Community representatives of the AYA program. Volunteers who share a belief in the value of cross-cultural exchange. What Coordinators are responsible for: Screening, interviewing, and selecting safe and suitable host families. Enrolling students in local public or private high schools. Providing host families with a pre-arrival orientation. LOCAL COORDINATOR (CTD.)
Supervising and counseling families and students during the year. Facilitating strategies for adjustment issues and conflict-resolution throughout the year. Contacting students and host families monthly/providing monthly student reports to AYA. Making sure students are safe throughout the program. Informing the National Office of any concerns. Answering questions and providing emergency assistance. Relocating students locally to other homes if necessary. SECOND VISITORS
In addition to your Local Coordinator checking in on you and your student each month, your home is required to be inspected again. The DOS requires that someone other than the Coordinator who helped initially vet your home and family go into your home and ensure that it is still a safe and suitable place for the student to be. This is required to be completed within the first 30-45 days of the students arrival. The individual contacting your family to set this visit up will either be another Coordinator in the area, or another AYA representative. HOST FAMILY COMMITMENT HOST FAMILY COMMITMENT INTRODUCTION
AYAs goal is to ensure that our students and host families all enjoy a safe and mutually rewarding experience within a culture of mutual understanding and respect for others. We ask that all participants and volunteers adhere to a code of conduct that ensures that all individuals involved feel safe, respected, and enriched by the experience. By hosting a student, host families agree to support our shared goals and abide by AYAs rules and guidelines. HOSTING REQUIREMENTS A safe and sanitary home environment that includes:
A bedroom for the student (may be shared with no more than one other sibling of the same sex and age range). A proper bed (futons, air mattresses and pull-out sofas are prohibited by federal regulations). A quiet place to study. Three quality meals a day. HOSTING REQUIREMENTS (CTD.) Reasonable access to phone/internet so that the student may contact his/her natural parents, Local Coordinator and other support outlets.
Transportation to and from school (bus, parent, carpool, etc.), and transportation to a students religious services (if applicable). HOST FAMILY COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENTS HF Communication with The LC HF Communication with AYA LC Communication with Student LCs are required to check-in with your family, separately, at least once per month.
Host families are required to report any breaches of AYA program rules or student conduct to their Local Coordinator or the AYA National Office. Students are required to meet/speak with their LC on a monthly basis. LCs are also required to visit you in your home, at least once per semester. Host families are encouraged to report any and all issues concerning adjustment, culture shock or general adaptation. No question or problem is
too big or small. The LC must meet with your student in person, every other month at a minimum (students in a single person placement will be visited in person every month). Host families are responsible for reporting any material changes (such as changes in address, finances, employment and arrests) within the family to their LC Report any safety concerns immediately to the LC and/or the AYA National Office
immediately Host families may not impede access to meetings with the LC , and must help the student make time in his or her schedule to ensure that the student is available to meet with the LC for monthly check-ins. SAFETY REQUIREMENTS Report any safety concerns immediately to Local Coordinator and/or the AYA National Office immediately. This includes any actual or alleged allegations of abuse or exploitation, self-harming behavior or major
accidents or illnesses. The AYA emergency answering service is available 24/7 for assistance and support. (800.926.2506) SAFETY REQUIREMENTS (CTD.) Provide appropriate supervision to your student at all times. AYA students are not permitted to spend weekends or vacations at home alone or without adult supervision. If you are planning on being away from the home for more than a day, please contact your Local Coordinator to coordinate alternate housing arrangements for your student.
SAFETY REQUIREMENTS (CTD.) In any home where firearms or any other weapons are present (bow and arrow, knives, hand guns, etc.), families are required to store such weapons properly under lock and keys in a secure location that will not be accessible to a student at anytime. AYA students are strictly prohibited from using or even handling any type of firearm, even if being supervised by an instructor or trained host parent. PROHIBITIONS Students should not be expected to baby-sit or assume a disproportionate amount of household responsibility on a regular basis.
Chores given to students should be reasonable, age-appropriate and equitable among household members. Students are not permitted to work. Students may earn pocket money by doing small jobs for no more than 10 hours a week (i.e. paid baby-sitting, yard work, etc.) PROHIBITIONS (CTD.) Students may not drink alcohol under any circumstances, even with permission from an adult or host parent. Students may not drive or operate a motor vehicle under any circumstance, except during the course of an accredited drivers education course with a certified driving instructor. *Grant students may not drive a
motor vehicle under any circumstance. AYA students are also strictly prohibited from operating or being a passenger on ATVs, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles. Students may not be passengers in a private plane or helicopter. PROHIBITIONS (CTD.) Students may not be charged for food, gas, household utilities, or any expense related to food or housing. Students should pay for their own entertainment and personal items, including their own cell phone plan.
Host families may not lend money to or borrow money from a student for any reason. PROHIBITIONS (CTD.) Pursuant to federal regulations, student must be in possession of their own passports and DS-2019 forms at all times. No person, including a host family member or Local Coordinators, may withhold a students personal identification or travel documents for any reason, including for safe-keeping. STUDENT DISCIPLINARY PROCESS
THE AYA PROCESS Communication Open communication is crucial. AYA cannot stress enough the importance of reporting any issues big or small to your Local Coordinator To effectively counsel a student and identify a successful action plan or disciplinary process, AYA must be aware of the situation from the beginning. It is often difficult for visiting students to tell their host family that something is bothering them (and vice versa). Do not try to solve issues on your own. Your student is part of AYA- it is important that your LC and AYA know whats going on in terms of adjustment or possible behavioral or adaptation concerns. AYA PROGRAM RULES
There are many rules our students have to follow, but the main Zero Tolerance Rules are: Students must abide, at all times, by all state and federal laws. Students are strictly prohibited from purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol. Students are prohibited from the sale, possession or use of illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia under any circumstances. This applies to prescription drugs used or obtained without a prescriptions; for recreational use; or abused with a prescription. Expulsion from school, for any reason Breaking any of these rules will result in an immediate request for disqualification from the program.*For Grant students, only the DOS has
the authority to disqualify a student. DISCIPLINARY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES The AYA Disciplinary Process is in place in order to objectively assess each situation. Major disciplinary decisions, including formal disciplinary action, are made at the discretion of the AYA Disciplinary Committee based on information provided by the LC, the host family, the student, and the high school (when applicable). Face-to-Face Meeting First step in resolving issues/ critical step in the disciplinary process. Formal/informal meeting where all parties have a chance to discuss issues/ concerns/have more open communication in a safe setting. LC neutrally runs the session, helping you work through issues or discuss difficult topics.
Proven to be very successful (85% success rate) in opening a dialogue between host families and students as well as clarifying cultural and/or language miscommunications. Generally done prior to any consideration for a host family change or disciplinary action. TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL FACE-TO-FACE MEETING Be open to it! Listen carefully and do not assume. Positive body language Your student is more out of their comfort zone than you are. Consider the language barrier
Ask clarifying questions Expect to make some adjustments as well Give yourself and the student time to process the situation. Advisory Letter Issued by the AYA Student Support Specialist after breach of conduct or program guidelines. (Usually issued after Face-to-Face Meeting & the student has been formally advised of the program or host family guidelines that have been compromised.) In cases where the breach of guidelines is indisputable, an advisory letter may be issued without prior mediation. A copy of the advisory letter is sent to the student, Local Coordinator, overseas partner, host family, and natural parents. Intent of the letter is to advise everyone of the program violation/unacceptable behavior, that there can be no further infractions, that AYA is aware of the behavior, steps that need to be taken to avoid further disciplinary action, and define a time frame for reviewing student performance. Probation Issued by the AYA Student Support Specialist after major breach of conduct or program guidelines (ex: Conduct unbecoming to an exchange student that may jeopardize the reputation of the student, host family, or the AYA program.) or not abiding by terms of Advisory letter. Prior to being placed on probation, the student will be contacted by Student Support Specialist to
discuss the disciplinary concerns. All other applicable parties will be contacted as well. Student Support Specialist will discuss case with AYA Disciplinary Committee, which will determine if probation is warranted. A copy of the probation letter is sent to the student, Local Coordinator, overseas partner, host family, and natural parents. Usually considered a students final opportunity to abide by all program rules and expectations prior to disqualification. The goal of probation is to correct issues and provide a reasonable time frame to improve. Every effort is made to help student learn, improve and avoid disqualification. Disqualification This occurs when an offense is deemed serious enough to merit termination (breaking Zero Tolerance rules, repeated pattern of breaking rules that have been outlined in probation conditions, etc.) Last resort and is usually only considered after other corrective measures have failed or if the infraction has violated a zero tolerance policy or a federal or state law. Only the Department of State can make decision to disqualify a grant student. After careful review of the case history, the AYA disciplinary committee will request disqualification. Once the disciplinary committee has made their final decision, a request will be submitted to DOS which includes the students written statement that acknowledges the request has been made. DOS will meet to review the request once documentation is received and natural parents have been notified. If the DOS concurs with AYAs request written notice will be issued to all parties concerned, and
arrangements for the students return flight home are then made. Once a student has been disqualified, his or her visa will be cancelled. MEDICAL DISQUALIFICATION In the unfortunate situation that a student falls ill or requires medical treatment beyond the scope of what an AYA host family can provide, a student may be terminated from the program. Reasons for medical disqualification include, but are not limited to: Discovery of preexisting medical conditions not disclosed on a students application, particularly nervous disorders or conditions that require close monitoring by a physician Injuries requiring surgery and/or ongoing physical therapy
Serious medical conditions that require extensive medical care and follow-up care Eating disorders Emotional or psychological concerns MEDICAL DISQUALIFICATION (CTD.) It is never an easy decision to end a students program. AYA must carefully consider current and future risk to the student, the ability of a host family and Local Coordinator to reasonably care for that student for the remainder of the year, as well as insurance coverage and limitations. Most importantly, AYA considers the best interest of the student which (the disappointment of leaving the program early notwithstanding), is usually to return to their home country where they can receive medical treatment and follow up care with the support and supervision of their natural parents. Ultimately, however, a students long-term medical care and needs are best
determined by their natural parents. Once the decision has been made, we ask that host families support their student by supporting our decision. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW THE UPS AND DOWNS Homesickness Very common! These feelings can be exacerbated by the holidays/events. Assure your student that feelings of missing home,
family, and friends are natural and that they will pass. Their feelings of homesickness may come and go throughout the year. Plan fun activities/ encourage him/her to participate in school activities as well. Work on increasing the communication with your student. Let your LC know whats going on. CULTURE SHOCK Some students may feel excited to start something new and happy when they first arrive, but after a few weeks of living in the U.S. and attending an American high school, they may start to feel anxious, shy, lonely, or hesitant to get involved. Remind him/her about how important it is to be open-minded about this experience, to be friendly with others, and willing to try new things.
Again, communicate! Talk to your student about how they are feeling. Let your LC know whats going on. CULTURE: SEEN VS. UNSEEN CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS You may encounter behaviors or customs that are very different, which is a great learning opportunity! By understanding your students culture, it will help minimize misunderstandings or miscommunication. YES Students Prayers: Your Muslim student may pray 5 times a day. Should he/she wish to pray, he/she should be allowed to go to a quiet, clean place and not be disturbed during prayer (about 10 minutes or so) Cleansing prior to prayer is essential. If you find your bathroom floor wet, talk to your student about drying the floor. Placing a fresh bucket of water in the bathroom could be a friendly gesture.
Ramadan: During the holiday, Muslims will fast from sunrise to sundown. Dogs/Pets: Students may have a fear of dogs which is not a common pet. It may take your student a while to feel comfortable around your pets. Gender Relationships: Students may not be comfortable or used to having close friendships with members of the opposite sex. If you find your student is having trouble interacting with a member of the opposite sex, take the opportunity to discuss gender relationships. CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS CONTD. Many values, beliefs and behaviors of FLEX students have been shaped by the political, economic and family structure of Eurasia. You may observe the following behaviors of your FLEX student: Persistence when told no
Not smiling Dependence on your or their natural family Difficulty taking personal responsibility You can help your students adjust by giving them clear guidelines about what you expect from them, focus on leadership activities, and enable them to understand the American culture through open discussion FOOD As a HF, you must provide an adequate, balanced diet to your student (3 meals per day). If a student wishes to purchase hot lunch at school, he or she is responsible for
paying for it. If you go out to eat as a family, you are expected to pay for the student, as you would any other member of your family. If the student is out socially with friends, the student is responsible for purchasing meals during that time. They may take some time to adjust to your familys diet and American food altogether. Find out in the first few days if there are foods that your student cannot eat due to specific dietary restrictions, allergies, or religious reasons. FOOD Host families are sometimes amazed by the quantity of food exchange students consume.
Its important to remember that growing teens of any culture require a lot of nourishment and sustenance to maintain their energy levels. Eating habits can change or fluctuate as a result of culture shock or homesickness. If you suspect this is the case, talk about it with your student. Some students may be concerned that they are going to gain weight in the U.S., which may influence some of their dietary choices. Its important to remind your student that maintaining a balance of a healthy diet and exercise is the best way to stay healthy. If you feel that your students eating habits are affecting his/her overall health, it is important that you contact your Local Coordinator right away so that he or she can work
with you and the National Office to ensure that your student remains healthy on the program. HIGH SCHOOL AYA does not guarantee grade assignment, a receipt of a diploma or participation in graduation ceremonies, or participation in sports to any of its students. Each student must achieve at least a C+ average in every class (we allow the first quarter for settling in) and demonstrate a positive attitude in school. Spend a few hours with your student visiting school before it opens, if possible.
It will take them some time to adjust- be patient! SPORTS & ACTIVITIES AYA encourages all students to become an active member of the student body, either through sports, clubs, or extracurricular activities. For students who cannot play sports, AYA encourages them to find other local athletic intramural teams or join other clubs and activities. It is important that host families encourage students to become involved, as it will help them grow, socialize, and
round out their experience in the U.S. GUIDELINES FOR DANGEROUS & RISKY ACTIVITIES Participants are not permitted to engage in any activities not covered by program or supplemental medical insurance. Activities may include but are not limited to: driving any motorized vehicle (such as a car, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, etc.), riding as a passenger in off-road vehicles or in a noncommercial aircraft, hang gliding, bungee jumping, jumping on a trampoline, parachute jumping, parasailing, scuba diving, mountain biking, mountaineering, rock climbing, skate boarding, extreme sports, and handling or using a firearm or other weapon. Participants are encouraged to refer to their policy to find out what activities are excluded from coverage
If any of the abovementioned activities is covered by insurance and is permitted by AYA then permission must be obtained from the natural parents before allowing students to participate TRANSPORTATION It is important that you set expectations about transportation and how rides will be provided as soon as your student arrives. Make sure that you let your student know how far in advance you need to be notified of the need for a ride. It may help to create a weekly or monthly family schedule so that there are no surprises!
It is not your responsibility to provide rides to all of your students social activities; talk with your Local Coordinator if you need assistance with planning alternative arrangements. TRANSPORTATION Many students are used to getting around their home towns on public transportation or a bicycle without having to rely on anyone else. Getting used to asking for rides and permission to go places can be a difficult adjustment. Keep this in mind when your student starts
making friends and scheduling activities, and help him/her create a schedule with transportation well in advance. TRANSPORTATION Keep this in mind when your student starts making friends and scheduling activities, and help him/her create a schedule with transportation well in advance. Students are not permitted to use Uber, Lyft, or any other ride-sharing apps/services without a host parent in the vehicle with them. SOCIAL MEDIA/ PHONES/ COMPUTERS HF Guidelines If your student is linked to your social media account, be aware of the content you or your adult friends are posting.
Posts that are suggestive, sexual, satirical or express extreme political, social or religious views have the potential to be misunderstood and could make a student uncomfortable. Teens might try to talk through issue with their HFs via text because they want to avoid conflict, and HFs should not get into this! SOCIAL MEDIA/ PHONES/ COMPUTERS While it is within your right to post whatever content you choose on your social media outlets, we encourage you to limit your students access to certain content to avoid any uncomfortable situations. Likewise, refrain from engaging with your student and/or his or her friends on social
media in any capacity. It is tempting to quickly respond, however, a quick typo or unknown colloquialism could create an awkward misunderstanding. Tone and intention are difficult to interpret in any sort of text, and we encourage direct communication whenever possible to minimize cultural or semantic misunderstandings. This includes communications via text and email. Remember, that without context certain messages, posts or exchanges could be misconstrued in a manner that was not your intention. SOCIAL MEDIA/ PHONES/ COMPUTERS Student Guidelines
Email, texting, and social networking sites are very common means of communication for teenagers (and adults!) these days. This type of communication is a universal part of teen culture and work with your student on how to achieve a happy balance of internet use and family time. Communications abroad should be limited to a reasonable amount. A student gains most by interacting with his/her host family and local friends. Experience has shown that limited contact with the students home country will minimize homesickness and maximize his/her exchange experience. You should set rules about how much time is allotted, what sites are acceptable to view, when or if the student is allowed to download online content, and any other specific
computer guidelines you wish your student to follow. SOCIAL MEDIA/ PHONES/ COMPUTERS Student Guidelines (ctd.) Rules about social media usage and contact should be created based on the individual students adjustment as long as you and the student are happy and adjustment is going well, there are no hard and fast rules about technology. Flexibility is important in this area. Call your Local Coordinator, or AYA Student Support Specialist if you need guidance or suggestions on how to proceed with setting guidelines for communication. Remember, all students must have reasonable access at all times to phone and/or internet to get in touch with their natural parents, their Local Coordinator, or the AYA office.
SOCIAL LIFE/ DATING/ SEX AYA encourages students to make new friends, attend community and school events, and act responsibly and according to host family rules/U.S laws at all times when socializing. Students are expected to communicate their whereabouts and ask permission before going out with friends. SOCIAL LIFE/ DATING/ SEX Dates Students are expected to follow all host family rules regarding dating.
AYA highly discourages our students from entering into a relationship or having a boyfriend or girlfriend while on-program. Remind student that dating is not the primary purpose of this exchange and has the potential to derail an otherwise positive student experience. Engaging in sexual activity is highly discouraged and sexual intercourse is prohibited while students are on the AYA program. E-CIGARETTES AND JUULES Essentially, JUUL devices heat up a cartridge containing oils (containing nicotine) to create vapor, which quickly dissolves into the air. The device is small enough to fit in a closed fist and has a sleek, tech-inspired design that resembles a USB flash drive.
They have grown significantly in popularity amongst American high school students. Some teens in the U.S also use pods in their e-cigarette that contain THC (the chemical responsible for marijuanas psychological effects). These electronic cigarettes devices are prohibited while on the program. E-CIGARETTES AND JUULES LOSS OF INDEPENDENCE Your student may be confused or frustrated by some of your household rules related to curfew, dating, or socializing with friends.
Many teens from other countries come from cultures where adolescents have far more independence than American teens. In many European or Latin American countries, teens are allowed to go to clubs, drink alcohol, and stay out without restrictions. When first given new rules, some exchange students might equate curfew or other restrictions with a lack of trust, which can be more difficult to accept than the actual rules themselves. It is important to explain that you do trust them, and remind them that they are in a new country and your rules are intended to keep them safe! RELIGIOUS BELIEFS/ PRACTICES
As church is often an important part of family life in the U.S., students are encouraged to partake in church activities with their host family, but they must not be required to attend. You should discuss this with your student upon arrival to find out if s/he wishes to attend your church and how often. Students should not be asked to share the same beliefs or ideologies as their host family. Students who wish to attend religious services different from your own must be provided with transportation to and from services, if reasonable and necessary.
VOLUNTEERING & CULTURAL PRESENTATIONS Grant students are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours (full-year students) and 25 hours (semester students) of community service. They can complete the hours anywhere theyd like, as long as it is strictly volunteer work. *HF chores, participation is school clubs, student council, sports teams and school plays do not count. Students are also required to participate in International Education Week ENHANCEMENT ACTIVITIES
Grant students are required to participate in several enhancement activities throughout the year. These activities should be planned by your Local Coordinator. Enhancement Activities should promote mutual understanding by allowing students to: gain an understanding of American culture and diversity, teach Americans about their home countries, generate enduring ties with Americans, explore elements of U.S. civil society and volunteerism, develop leadership skills, and prepare them to become active alumni when they return home Students must complete a Reflection Form upon completion of the activity to share what they learned SIGHTSEEING WITH YOUR STUDENT
AYA encourages host families to introduce students to local attractions and take them to community events, but does not expect you to plan organized trips or travel adventures for them. Final approval for all independent travel is granted by AYA. There are different rules and requirements for the different types of student travel, so lets take a look. TRAVELING WITHIN THE U.S With the HF or LC, within the U.S With friends, within the U.S
With school, within the U.S Who do you need to tell? AYA & LC AYA & LC AYA & LC Documents required? Written Approval (email) from AYA Travel Request Form Travel Request Form Document deadline?
5 days prior to travel 4 weeks prior to travel 4 weeks prior to travel Adult Supervision required? YES, someone 25 and older YES, someone 25 and over YES, someone 25 and over BGC of anyone 18+ traveling with student
Preferred BGC of anyone 18+ traveling with student No No Additional requirements? Can student miss school? No TRAVELING ABROAD (PLEASE NOTE: IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT AND HOST FAMILY TO VERIFY THE DOCUMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS NEEDED TO TRAVEL TO THE DESIRED DESTINATION.) With the HF or LC, outside the U.S
With friends, outside the U.S With school Who do you need to tell? AYA & LC AYA & LC AYA & LC Documents required? Independent Travel Form/Original DS-2019 mailed (trackable) to AYA. AYA will send DS-2019 with travel itinerary to American
Councils who must endorse it Independent Travel Form/ Original DS-2019 mailed (trackable) to AYA. AYA will send to American Councils. Independent Travel Form/ Original DS-2019 mailed (trackable) to AYA. AYA will send to American Councils. 6 weeks prior to travel 6 weeks prior to travel 6 weeks prior to travel YES, someone 25 and older
YES, someone 25 and over YES, someone 25 and over Additional requirements? Itinerary with mode of transportation and route Itinerary with mode of transportation and route. BGC of anyone 18+ traveling with student Itinerary with mode of transportation and route. BGC of anyone 18+ traveling with student Can student miss
school? No No No Document deadline? Adult Supervision required? VISITS FROM FRIENDS & FAMILY Natural family and friends are not permitted to visit the student until near to the end of the program year. Visits from home can be very disruptive to a students year in America and can lead to difficulties with adjusting, which can
result in extreme homesickness. Near to the end of the program is defined as on or after December 1st for one semester students, and on or after April 15th for full year students. VISITS FROM FRIENDS & FAMILY AYA advises students and natural families to discuss any potential visits with your family well in advance of booking travel to ensure that you are comfortable with the visit, and that the timing does not conflict with any scheduled plans your family may already have. Visitors are advised to secure accommodations at a nearby hotel, unless explicitly invited by the host family to do otherwise.
WORKSHOPS & EVENTS International Education Week Civic Education Week Better Understanding for a Better World Youth English Teaching Workshop Global Youth Service Day What?
Requirement for students to give cultural presentations in their community Provides opportunity to attend seminars and lectures about federal system of government Developed to bring high school students of diverse faiths and backgrounds together Intensive week long training program to cultivate skills specific to teaching English Event that encourages
youth worldwide to assist their local communities When? Where? Mid November February & March March & April Hometown Washington D.C. Various locations in the U.S. April Washington D.C. April Hometown How? Speak to LC, school
and community officials about where and when to give presentations Students apply online More information about how to get involved: WWW.GYSD.ORG Students compete in optional essay contest AYA selects students based on IEW reports
MONEY & BUDGETING Grant students receive a monthly stipend check in the amount of $125.00. Stipend is to be used for social activities and personal items. Incidentals allowance in the amount of $300.00 is available to assist with program related expenses such as school fees, supplies, seasonal clothing, sports fees, physicals and immunizations requirements. HF or student will pay upfront for these items and get reimbursed by the LC or AYA office. Before the student arrives, check with your local banks to determine which bank can receive international wire transfers of money from overseas banks, and the standard procedure for clearing checks or money orders. (Not all banks are equipped to provide these services, and procedures vary from bank to bank.)
Also confirm bank regulations for minors opening a checking account in their name only. MONEY & BUDGETING Soon after your student arrives, assist him/her in opening an account, making sure that your student understands the danger of carrying large sums of cash. The students money should never be placed in the host familys account. Help your student stay safe by reminding him/her that him/her must be the only one with access to his/her cash and/or checking account during his/her stay in America. Likewise, if you find that your student is running low on funds or not budgeting
properly, you should avoid lending your student money. Instead, contact your Local Coordinator, who will work with the National Office to ensure that the student is budgeting their funds properly in order to cover his/her personal expenses. MONEY & BUDGETING Help your student create a financial plan for the year and a monthly budget; your Local Coordinator can assist with this as well. Clearly discuss with your student what you expect him/her to be responsible for regarding trips and weekly entertainment. You should not pay for anything in the beginning of the year that you do
not intend to continue to pay for throughout the year, as this may confuse expectations and create unnecessary tension later in the year. INSURANCE Students have medical and accident insurance through AYA provided by CISI. Students and host families will receive an insurance card and a brochure detailing the policy coverage when they arrive in the U.S. Unless it is necessary, try to have your student go to urgent care instead of the ER. The copay will be much higher, and sometimes, its not necessary. If the student does need to go to a physician, ensure they go online and
search for in-network physicians. INSURANCE Students should reach out to their LC any time a they seek care so they can help make sure the claims are submitted correctly. Students should be prepared to pay in full up front for any visit and then submit a claim for reimbursement. HFs are not responsible for medical expenses. In cases where a student is unable to afford the full medical expense, emergency funds may be used to assist with the fees STUDENT SAFETY KEEPING STUDENTS SAFE
Our main goal is to ensure AYA students are safe at all times. We have created a safety video that all students and host families view during their respective orientations. To watch the video again on your own time, you may log on to your host family portal. STUDENT SAFETY VIDEO Click here to play the video (internet connection needed). MENTAL HEALTH
Your student may experience feelings of sadness, loneliness or anxiety during the program year. This is common! Learning and adapting to a new culture and language far away from the comforts of home, is a stressful experience that requires patience, maturity and adequate coping skills. Navigating through these feelings can be difficult and we encourage students, host families and local coordinators to speak candidly about any sad or negative feelings they are experiencing so that they can effectively process them and move on. MENTAL HEALTH It is important to know your student, develop a rapport and bring any concerns to the attention of your Local Coordinator, and/or AYA support
staff so that you and your student receive maximum support As with any adjustment issue, open communication is the cornerstone of overcoming obstacles. If you notice or suspect that your student is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety that are persistent/ beyond the scope of typical cultural or teenage challenges, it is important for you to report your concerns to your Local Coordinator or to an AYA student support staff member immediately. MENTAL HEALTH If a student is demonstrating symptoms of depression, anxiety or other potential mental/nervous disorder, AYA work with your family, your Local Coordinator and the student to ensure that the student receives the appropriate support and care that he or she needs to feel better and be
healthy. Support plans for suspected mental health concerns are established with the AYA support team and the input of appropriate health care professionals and resources. AYA values the safety, health and wellbeing of our students, above all, and will make recommendations accordingly. In some cases, AYA may recommend that a student return home early to receive care and support under the supervision of his or her natural family. EMERGENCY PROCEDURES If you experience an emergency of any kind outside of business hours (9 a.m. 5 p.m. EST), AYA has a 24-hour toll free emergency answering service available to assist you 7 days a week, year round.
The number is 800.926.2506. If your student has been the victim of any kind of assault, or is involved in an accident or incident where his or her safety is in jeopardy, we encourage you and/or your student to contact 911 to receive immediate assistance. Department of State toll free number is 866.283.9090 STUDENT SURVEYS Students will receive a survey each month via SurveyMonkey from Associate Director of Student Support, Virginia George and an Endof-Year survey from Department of State.
It is VERY important that students provide their feedback on their program experience through the monthly surveys and End-of-Year survey. END-OF-STAY PREP GOING HOME FLEX RETURN TRAVEL Each country group will have set return dates to choose from. Dates are selected on first come first serve basis. Once dates are assigned they cannot be changed. Depart between mid May mid June. End of year activities are not taken into consideration. YES RETURN TRAVEL
Each country group will have a set return travel date. Students attend End-of-Stay orientation in Washington D.C. Students depart throughout the month of June. End of year activities are not taken into consideration. 2-YEAR Home Residency Requirement: Grant students are expected to return home to utilize skills obtained abroad. They must reside in their home country for 2 cumulative years before they are eligible for a immigrant or work visa ALUMNI PROGRAM FLEX and YES programs have well established Alumni Programs that serve to support students upon their return home
Students are able to continue their experience through activities that highlight ideas and concepts they learned in America Students are encouraged to register on www.alumni.state.gov to learn more about the Alumni Program and stay connected Host families can check out the alumni website for great stories and information! WELCOMING YOUR STUDENT TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL START Do treat your student like one of your own family members.
Do remember that your students mental picture of America probably comes from American TV shows and Hollywood movies. Do remember that everything you say may be in a language your student never uses or hears outside of a classroom. Do plan a relaxed, casual day together to get them acquainted with their home and neighborhood. Do remember that you have your own expectations of your student or the hosting experience that may not be met .
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL START Dont assume your student understands because you are receiving smiles and nods in response. Smiling and nodding in agreement are non-verbal ways of pleasing you, but they do not automatically imply that you have been understood. Dont expect your student to think that everything you have, all that you are most proud of, is wonderful. Dont treat your student like a guest. Special arrangements at the beginning of his/her stay can confuse expectations.
STUDENT ARRIVAL All AYA students receive a pre-departure orientation in their home country from the Recruiting Organization abroad. It advises students about culture shock, their responsibilities, and forming realistic expectations as exchange student ambassadors from their home countries. Arrival orientation is conducted at a local orientation conducted by your supervising Local Coordinator within two weeks of the students arrival to the host community. Information covered in arrival orientations includes AYA rules, problem solving, lines of communication, the role of the Local Coordinator, the American family, and the American high school. The Student Handbook also explains all of these topics. STUDENT ARRIVAL
FLEX INBOUND TRAVEL Each country group will have set arrival dates to choose from. Dates are selected on first come first serve basis. Once dates are assigned they cannot be changed. Overnight in Washington D.C. unless student is placed in D.C. area. YES INBOUND TRAVEL Each country group will have a set arrival date. Dates are assigned and are not flexible. Attend an arrival orientation in Washington D.C. throughout the month of August. THE DAY THEY ARRIVE Your students travel, both the international flight and the domestic flight, is arranged by American Councils and/or AFS. Every effort is made to notify families of arrival times well in advance of the date. Plans cannot be finalized until a students placement is confirmed.
Students are generally flown to the nearest major airport. This is because the expense, confusion, and delay of getting students and all of their luggage onto small connecting flights to a closer airport is often too difficult. Your Local Coordinator will be at the airport if possible. However, host families are responsible for meeting their students at the airport. THE DAY THEY ARRIVE Students are given clear instructions on how to rebook a flight and are told to call American Councils or AFS emergency travel number to let them know that their itinerary has changed (in the event of a delay or cancellation).
An AYA staff member will be notified by American Councils if any travel is delayed or changed. AYA will contact you and/or your Local Coordinator as soon as we know that the flight has been delayed and update you as new flight information becomes available. GREETING YOUR STUDENT AT THE AIRPORT Both your family and your student will be excited and maybe nervous. Your student may feel overwhelmed. Here are some suggestions on how to make the first day go smoothly:
Prepare a large welcome sign with the students name on it. Take flowers, balloons, or a small American flag for your student Greet your student with a smile. Take cues from him or her on whether to shake hands, hug, or simply say welcome Take photos of the special day to reflect on later Retrieve the students luggage Take the time to sit for a moment to discuss what everyone wants to be called Discuss how your student is feeling and what he or she may need, such as a restroom, water, or a snack Tell your student that you understand how tired s/he must feel and that you encourage him/her to take it easy the first couple of days and to rest up for any family activities you may have planned. IN REVIEW: PROGRAM DIFFERENCES Category FLEX/YES Programs Core Program Orientations
Addition to arrival, students participate in Mid-Year & Re-entry orientations Not required to attend Mid-Year or ReEntry orientation Program Fees Merit-based scholarship Pay a program fee Visa Sponsor DOS sponsors J-1 visa AYA sponsors J-1 visa Arrival and Departure Travel Arranged by American Councils & AFS
Arranged by Overseas Partners International Travel American Councils must approve and endorse DS-2019 AYA must approve and endorse DS-2019 Communication Channels AYA American Councils Overseas Partner Natural Parents AYA Overseas Partner Natural Parents Site Visits AYA must conduct in home visits In home visits are not required
Community Service Requirement 50 hours of community service 10 hours of community service Funding Incidental and stipend given to help cover costs Students come with personal spending money Enhancement Activities Required to participate in activities that fulfill program goals Not required REMINDERS
Ensure you complete the Expectations Worksheet found in your Host Family Guide with your student within the first week or two. Give a copy to your Coordinator. Remind your student/s to let their natural parents know they have arrived safely to your home. Its easy to forget! IMPORTANT INFORMATION To review, here is a copy of the U.S Department of State Regulations for the Exchange Visitor Program.
You can read the letter from the U.S Department of State to all Host Families here. Both of these documents, along with the Student Safety Video, can also be found in your Host Family Portal in the Resources section. WRAP UP Calendar of Events Games & Activities Host Family Orientation Confirmation Sheet
Dont forget to prove your attendance! Sign the group orientation sheet or go to https://www.academicyear.org/orientation/family to complete the online form THANK YOU! You are about to begin a wonderful adventure in international exchange. As you come to know and love your new son or daughter, your family will share a very special intercultural experience that they will treasure always. We hope the year ahead will be filled with fun and learning for your entire family. Thank you for supporting our students and our program!