F-1 High School Host Family Orientation

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1 F-1 High School Host Family Orientation Student Orientation: PowerPoint presentation notes Slide 1: Cover page Slide 2: Intro to Quest International Quest International as a non-profit organization committed to advancing intercultural educational student exchange. Slide 3: National Office National Office located in San Francisco, CA Satellite Office located in Cape Cop, MA Hours of Operation 8:00am-5:30pm (PST) Office & Emergency Phone Number (415) There is a full-time student counselor available for support Slide 4: Local Coordinator Self-Introduction and description of your role: Conducts orientations with Host Family & student Supports and advocates for students and host families throughout the course of the exchange experience. Conducts monthly check-ins in order to complete Monthly Reports and will rely on participation from both the student and the host family. Acts as a mediator between host family and student if necessary. Slide 5: F-1 Student Visa The family is asked to keep the student s valuable documents in a safe place within the home. The students visa is located in their passport Family is to keep a hard copy of the I-20 in a safe place. Slide 6: Host Family Responsibilities Your official role as a Host Family is to provide a caring and supportive environment for your exchange student along with food and shelter. Your student will learn a lot about American culture from experiences with the Host Family Host Family must be able to pick their student up at the airport (the same applies for returning them upon their departure). Student must be provided food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food items for making lunch are to be available to the student. Host families do not have to make the lunch, this can be the student s own responsibility. Student s bedroom may be shared with another child of the same gender and in the same age range. A separate bed must be provided for the student, cots are unacceptable. Students must have a quiet place where they can study as well.

2 Host Family may not expect or ask exchange student to work for them in exchange for hosting the student. Host Family must accept that hosting an international student can mean certain lifestyle changes. Students will need supervision; they need to feel that they are a part of the family. You will have to enforce rules and may have to discipline your student. Your student may want to participate in sports or after school activities and may need your help with transportation. Students are here to experience as much as they can and they often want to participate in these activities, please be willing to drive them if possible or help them find transportation solutions. You are not responsible for transportation to and from school, it would be great if you could take your student to school everyday, but we understand this is not always possible. Host family stipend money may not be used to pay rent, mortgage or utilities. It is not to be considered income, but rather a stipend, which helps offset the cost of hosting. Stipends are pro-rated and paid monthly from the Quest National Office. Slide 7: Connecting with Your Student The key to hosting is a combination of patience, love, and support. It is important that your student becomes a member of the family and not treated as a guest. Bonding with your student may not occur immediately, it takes time for both you and your student to adjust. Here are some suggestions: By becoming involved in your student s life, you develop a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation. Explaining language differences, American slang words and phrases, will help prevent your student from being misunderstood or embarrassed while trying to communicate. When making decisions about letting your student participate in something, we suggest asking yourself, would I let my own child do this? Be flexible but firm. Let your student know what you expect. Slide 8: Preparation Host Family preparation can make all the difference in their exchange student s first impression of America. Prior to the student s arrival: We suggest that the family does some research regarding their student s native country, customs and traditions. Define and review house rules: Your Local Coordinator will give you a copy of House Rules along with this handbook. Quest requires Host Families to fill in the details prior to your student s arrival. Your Local Quest Coordinator will go over these rules with your family and your student at the orientation. Contact the student in advance: It may be beneficial to touch base with the Exchange Student before arrival. Skype is a good way to do this, as it is a free video chat platform. Make airport pick-up plans: It is important that the Host Family meet their student at the airport, and is on time for their arrival. It is a good idea to greet the student with a WELCOME sign with their name on it. Students will be relieved when greeted with smiling friendly faces.

3 When the student first arrives he/she will be confused, tired, excited, nervous, and probably scared. Be patient; give him/her time to unwind from the long flight. Slide 9: First Week The first week is an excellent opportunity for the Host Family to lay the foundation for an excellent hosting and student exchange experience. Please keep these things in mind. Important phone numbers Please be sure the Host Family and exchange student exchange all important contact information including phone numbers, home address, address, and any other necessary contact information. Meals and food House Rules Make expectations clear regarding family habits such as meals and food. It s important that the student understands and is willing to live as if he/she were the son/daughter of the host parents. Talk openly about what your expectations are, use the Host Family House Rules to cover all topics i.e. the daily household routine, e.g., what time to get up, how much time to spend on the Internet, household chores, how to take phone messages, etc. Address Culture Shock and Homesickness Culture shock is a condition of anxiety and disorientation that can affect someone suddenly exposed to a new culture. For your student, anxiety and disorientation may show itself in many ways. It often develops after the initial excitement of being in the United States wears off. Foster Open Communication Communication is crucial in a Host Family/Exchange Student experience. Responsibilities and privileges should be the same for your exchange student as they are for your own children. Slide 10: Student Issues Review all the rules one by one: summarize each rule out loud as you go down the list (found in the Student Handbook, pg. 12). Please give the Host Family a copy of the Student Rules prior to the student s arrival. Students participating in the Quest International program must abide by these rules and we hope that as a host family, you will notify your Quest Coordinator if your student is not following the rules. Step 1 Address Concerns with Open Communication Step 2 Contact LC for advice and help. Step 3 Contact the National Office The Quest International Staff will provide support and assistance for students, Host Families and area Coordinators. Students who show difficulties in one or more of the following: obeying host family rules, school guidelines, severe culture shock or any other disciplinary issues will be counseled by the Quest International staff. Probation Letter outlines expectations, while giving a time-frame for improvement. Probation is a trial period in which the Quest International Counselor determines whether or not the student will make behavioral changes deemed necessary to stay within the program. Based on information derived

4 from Incident Reports and/or letters submitted, the Quest International staff will issue a Probation Letter. A copy will be given to student, host family, area Coordinator, foreign partner office and natural family. In some cases a copy will be sent to the school counselor. Students can be dismissed from the Quest International Program for the following reasons: Immediate dismissal will result if a student: - is caught using, selling, or possessing a controlled substance; - is caught drinking and a police report has been filed; - has broken a National, State, or Local law. Slide 11: Religion Students have the right to choose what and how much religion they practice. Host Families may not impose religions upon their exchange students School requirements are mandatory, and the students must fulfill them. Please be mindful that students might feel confused or distant when it comes to religion. Slide 12: Student Moves or Dismissal It s important to point out that moving a student is a huge hassle, and can be an expensive endeavor for the student. So before discussing moving a student, please ask for help! It is an option if serious problems persist, but the move requires advance warning and protocol. The Quest International Coordinator must be involved in moving the student. You may not dismiss a student from your home without first contacting your Local Coordinator who will need to be present in order to move the student. In turn, the student may not leave your home without first contacting a Quest Coordinator. Quest International will make every effort to find a new placement for your student as soon as possible, however, this may take time and we ask that allow the student to remain in your home until a new host family is found. Dismissal Procedures: Student dismissal is based upon the review of Incident Reports, Probation Letters, and the ongoing student behavior. Behavior that has been deemed unacceptable and violates rules and/or regulations as set forth by Quest International, or the hosting school will result in dismissal. Please note in all cases of dismissal, Quest International will make every effort to support the student, during this timeframe, thus ensuring that students have been given a fair opportunity to remain in the program. Slide 13: Medical Insurance Insurance card copies and important contact numbers must be given to Host Family, Local Coordinator and the exchange student. Student insurance covers illness or injuries that may occur during their exchange year. Routine physical exams (for sports, etc.) and immunizations are not covered. Students pay co-pay or anything not covered by insurance Never put Host Family address on medical documents! Always use natural parent address.

5 Do not be persuaded to guarantee payment for your exchange student s medical treatment. You are authorized to have your student treated for medical care without agreeing to be responsible for medical bills. Please contact the Quest National Office immediately if you have any questions regarding insurance. Notify Quest National Office if admitted to the hospital. Slide 14: Financials Host Family stipend is paid on the last Friday of the month. If the Host Family does not receive this check within one week of the delivery, please contact the Quest National Office. Student Financial Responsibilities: Neither Quest International nor the Host Family shall assume any financial responsibility for the acts of the students, whether willful or negligent, this includes damage to property, lost or stolen money. Student must bring or buy their own phone or use a phone card. Host family may NOT sign phone contracts for students Student is responsible for bringing their own laptop computer; host family should not allow student the use of their personal computers. Student must purchase own personal use items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, razors, etc. Transportation not provided by the host family Student may not borrow money from you, the host family Student must have an adequate monthly stipend from their natural family, we recommend $250-$500 per month depending on the family Eating Out: Student must be prepared to pay for meals eaten outside the host family home, if they choose to accompany the host family for dinner at a restaurant, they must offer to pay for their own meal Phone Bills and Bank Accounts: There can be many misunderstandings regarding money; we suggest that the student be financially separated from your family. Slide 15: School Requirements School attendance is required for the visa status Students must maintain at least a C average in every class! Failing grades may result in the school withdrawing the F1 visa. Let your host family and Local Coordinator know if you are having a difficult time and need help before it is too late If a tutor is necessary, the student and his/her natural parents will pay for the tutoring fees Credit transfer: Students are responsible for arranging class credits and credit transfers with both their American school and home country school Respect school rules and decisions: Quest cannot guarantee graduation, class level, or sports participation since that is dependent on the school s decisionmaking Extracurricular Activities: Quest strongly encourages students to get involved in extracurricular activities (clubs and sports)! But remember your studies must come first! Not only is this an important part of American high school life, but it also is a great way to make new friends Some schools do not allow exchange students to participate in competitive sports you will need to check with your school if it is allowed

6 Slide 16: Travel All overnight trips require a Travel Authorization Form, excluding sleepovers with friends. The school, host parents and Quest International must approve these requests before the student can travel. All Travel Authorization Forms must be submitted at least two weeks before departure. Students are not permitted to travel with a group of teenagers without a responsible adult that has been approved by your Local Coordinator. Occasionally, students are permitted to fly (given that they have their natural parent s written permission) to visit relatives or family friends in another part of the U.S. Overnight trips require advance written permission from student s host family. For student s safety: Travel Costs Students are responsible for any incurred travel costs. Natural Parent Visits Visits by natural parents during the student s program may negatively affect the exchange experience for your family and your student. While we cannot tell a natural family what they can and cannot do, Quest International strongly discourages parent visits during the first 6 months of the program year. Natural parents must be prepared to arrange their own accommodations during their stay and not impose on host families. Do NOT let a natural family make you feel that you must host them in your home during a visit, please discuss their accommodation arrangement prior to their arrival. Students may not have friends or siblings from home visit at any time during program participation. School absences must be approved in advance Winter and Summer Vacation: Students should remain in the U.S. with their host family during the winter break and return home during the summer vacation Your Student s Departure. Students must return to home country at the end of the exchange program as scheduled, we recommend the student schedules departure within 10 days of the last day of school. Students may not remain with host family for an extended amount of time unless the extension has been discussed with the host family and Quest International local coordinator. Any extended time spent in the U.S. must be reported to Quest International in order for visa arrangements to be made in advance. Most often student s airline tickets were booked by their parents or an overseas agency. Please check with your student well in advance of departure to ensure that tickets arrangements have been made. Slide 17: Private Arrangements Once a student has developed a relationship with the Host Family, they are sometimes tempted to ask the family if it would be possible to return to live with them next year without the help of Quest International. We absolutely discourage host families from engaging in these private deals with the students and their natural families.

7 Private arrangements put the burden on the host family and the student to make the placement work and it is largely unsuccessful and sometimes disastrous. Quest students and host families that have made private arrangements receive no further support or counseling from Quest, and if a student becomes a problem, the host family is stuck with a private arrangement and no easy way out. If you are approached by your student to make private arrangements, please contact either your local Quest Coordinator or the national office immediately. This is an uncomfortable situation for everyone and will not be tolerated. Slide 18: A Word of Thanks As a Host Family you are the cornerstone of our exchange program and your commitment is greatly appreciated. The year ahead will bring many new challenges and rewards for your family and for the young person you are preparing to welcome. Thank you for your role in this meaningful program. Good luck with a wonderful hosting experience. Can we check the formatting Also we need to add Changes in Your Household Changes in your household regarding persons moving in can change the relationship dynamics between you and your Quest student. If your family decides to host another exchange student, or have a new family member moving in while you are hosting a Quest student, please give us the courtesy of notification so we can prepare your exchange student s natural parents prior to changes.

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