When your son or daughter is applying for the CBYX Scholarship, it’s important to understand how parents of high school exchange students share in the experience of study abroad. The reality of your high school student participating in the CBYX experience can bring about a wide range of feelings; from excitement and pride at this amazing opportunity, to stress and worry at the idea of being far apart.
During the course of your son or daughter’s year abroad, you can rest easy knowing that your son or daughter will be placed with a carefully screened host family. Host families receive a thorough orientation on hosting an exchange student and are given a handbook that contains trends in hosting and tips for the year ahead. The family learns how to ease your son or daughter’s adjustment and also how to recognize culture shock and deal with it effectively. Just like your child, they will be faced with a honeymoon stage followed by a stage of frustration and miscommunication. The most important thing to remember is that host families are volunteering to welcome our students into their homes and really want to make them a part of their family for a year. We hope that your son or daughter will gain much from them during the year ahead and continue their special relationship for the rest of their lives!
Additionally, your son or daughter will be supervised by a volunteer Local Coordinator, known in German as a Betreuer (male) or Betreuerin (female). Most often, this person has had some experience with international exchange and may have even been an exchange student at one time. Shortly after arrival, they are in touch to meet the student at the earliest stage of adjustment to their new community. Throughout the rest of the year, the Betreuer/in makes contact and reports to Experiment e.V. (our partner organization in Germany) on how well the student is performing in school, getting along with their host family and adjusting to life in Germany. S/he is there to help your child adjust to life in Germany and support the student through any problems that may arise from culture shock, homesickness, or host family issues. It’s important for you to remind your son or daughter to stay in touch and build a relationship with his/her Betreuer/in. They offer another level of support outside of the host family and are there for your son or daughter when they need it.
Beyond this circle of support in Germany, Experiment e.V. is also responsible for overseeing students at the national level if the Betreuer/in is unavailable. Emergency assistance is always available from Experiment and CIEE, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.