Hello everyone and welcome to NWSE's 2016-2017 program!
Midsummer is a thrilling time of year for everyone involved in the NWSE programs. Students, host families, schools and area coordinators eagerly await the beginning of this year of adventure, learning, personal growth, and friendship.
Don't Worry - Be Patient - Enjoy Summer!
If you are still awaiting news of your placement at the time this newsletter is published, please know that the NWSE team is working hard to finalize your host family and school in the USA! As we've mentioned, some students unavoidably get placed later in the summer than others. There are many factors that may contribute to early- and late-season placements: the random coincidence of matching hosts' and students' interests; host family events and vacations; special school requirements; space availability at certain schools, unanticipated situations - to name just a few. We can never predict which students get placed where or when. We are confident that all accepted students will be placed by the August 31 placement deadline.
Shocking Info about Culture Shock
All exchange students experience culture shock at some level at some point during their exchange. If this happens to you, remember that a positive attitude, activities with friends and family, and a little patience help you adjust to your new environment. Here are a few strategies we have found that may help you thrive during the first few weeks of your exchange:
- Surround yourself with positive people and activities. Spend meaningful time with your host family and participate in social activities such as sports, theater, band, or after-school clubs. Challenge yourself to try new activities and make new friends!
- Communicate openly. Misunderstandings - whether they stem from language barriers, cultural differences, or nervousness - cause most problems. If you talk openly and honestly with each other, you will likely discover that you can solve most any issue. If for any reason you're not sure how to approach your hosts or your student, talk to your area coordinator or the NWSE office right away for help.
- Take good care of yourself. Eat well, avoid late-night cell phone or computer usage, get eight hours of sleep a night, and keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. Jog or take walks to collect your thoughts, listen to music, read books in English, write a journal, or do something to relax and reduce any stress.
- Significantly limit communication with family and friends in your home country. Limit communication with your family and friends from home to one hour a week. Doing so helps eliminate homesickness and keeps you focused on your host family, school, and life in America.
- Keep an open mind and stay positive! You'll encounter new ideas and lifestyles during your stay. Your exchange is a unique learning experience and a great opportunity to grow as a person and as a global citizen.
- Participate in NWSE's video of the year campaign and other contests. Start documenting your experiences NOW for our campaign in June 2017! Record your most exciting moments and edit them down to a 90- to 120-second video. We will post your video to our NWSE YouTube channel to inspire others around the world! The top 10 submissions will receive great prizes! Check out the submissions from last year's winners. We'll also keep you posted about other contests throughout the year (e.g. photos, costumes, holidays, school activities, and cultural activities).
We commend all students and host families for experiencing and sharing each other's cultures and creating successful and enjoyable exchanges for each other. Remember to have fun, work hard in school, and stay in touch!
Your NWSE Team