Welcoming Our High School Exchange Program Students
"Everyone was instantly friendly and open toward me. Students at my American high school wanted me to experience their culture by inviting me to join their clubs. I have made friends for life!"
– Mel, Australia
Even before you leave your home country, CIEE works to make sure you’re comfortable and confident. A CIEE Local Coordinator (LC) – your personal contact once in the United States – corresponds with you to get to know you better before your arrival.
When you arrive, your LC will meet you and answer any questions you may have. Then it’s off to your host family to settle in. CIEE host families are carefully screened and prepared for your arrival to help ensure a warm reception and easy adjustment.
Much like any family, your host family provides you with much more than room and board. Your host parents offer support, advice, guidance, and mentoring, just as they would for their own children. In addition, if any issues come up that your host family can’t resolve, your LC and CIEE 24/7 support are always available to assist.
Easing the Transition to a New Culture
Immersion in a new culture is exciting, and it also can be stressful. Culture shock is perfectly natural when moving from familiar surroundings to another country.
At first, everything is fresh and energizing. After the novelty passes, though, the differences start to show, and a touch of homesickness might set in. Trying to fit in can be a bit frustrating, but that feeling soon will pass. You won’t be expected to suddenly become an American simply because you’re visiting for a few months! At the same time, the rewards of adapting to and embracing the new culture can be great.
CIEE prepares host families to address culture shock for both students and families, and there’s always your LC to turn to for advice. The most important thing is to communicate. Let people know how you feel.