The end of the exchange year brings with it both exciting events and difficult goodbyes, but it also comes with its fair share of questions and “loose ends.” Your student has had many diverse experiences throughout their year and it is understandable that there are a few logistical questions that might need clarification by CIEE.
Because Support receives many common questions and inquiries when students and families are nearing the end of the year, we decided to put together a comprehensive blog post for students and families to reference. You can always contact the CIEE Support team by calling 1-800-448-9944. The team is available Monday through Friday from 9AM to 8PM EST.
School transcripts and “convalidation”:
Convalidation refers to the validation of transcripts and course credits that students obtain while studying in the USA. There are only a few countries that require students to carry out the process of transcript notarization and validation from the state they are attending school while on the CIEE High School USA program. The Secretary of State makes their transcripts “official” by providing the student with an official, state-certified document with a seal or ”apostille.” This process is mandated by countries who form part of the Hague Convention.
Students from these countries may need assistance in notarizing their transcripts and sending proper payment and documentation in order to receive their apostille. Your student(s) will typically know whether or not they need to get their transcript apostilled, but if they are not sure please prompt them to check in with their international representatives about this.
Italian and Spanish students may utilize their international representatives' services (You Abroad in Italy and FSL-FAO Foreign Study League in Spain) for a fee if they would like assistance in completing this process. Typically, our Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Japanese, and some Grants students need to get their transcripts authenticated.
Students typically complete the process themselves by obtaining a notarized, official copy of their transcript and sending it with the proper fee and order form to their local Secretary of State. CIEE provides a “convalidation service” and will complete the process on the student’s behalf for a fee of $250. For state specific fee/documentation information, please visit your state government’s document authentication webpage—some will even have specific information geared toward high school exchange students!
Please note that students are ultimately responsible for carrying out this process and should be in touch with their international representatives and CIEE should they have any questions or concerns.
Flights home + Departures
Student return flights are arranged by their international representative in their home country. All students will arrive with a pre-booked international return ticket. This is necessary for visa purposes and can usually be changed. The CIEE Support Team can help coordinate if a student’s flight needs to be altered in any way, as they are in contact with the student’s international representative, and host families and Local Coordinators should encourage students to contact them if they have questions about their flights. Students are responsible for paying any additional or overweight baggage fees and should contact the airline directly should they have questions about their luggage.
The CIEE Support Team works with Local Coordinators, host families, and students to determine when it may be best for a student to depart. However, there are some circumstances under which student flights cannot be changed. Grants students on the CBE, FLEX and YES programs may have more restrictions around their departures.
Medical records + bills
If a student has sought medical treatment while on the program and they have outstanding bills, these should be sent to the CIEE Insurance team firstname.lastname@example.org. Support may coordinate with the Insurance team in order to determine how the outstanding bills need to be resolved. If you have urgent questions about this, please call 1-800-448-9944 and ask to speak to the Insurance team. CIEE works directly with Aetna Student Health to process student claims and all medical expenses are student or natural parent’s responsibility. Under no circumstances should a host family pay outstanding medical bills for students.
Insurance and extending
The deadline for program extensions has already passed, but we want to remind you that CIEE’s rule is that all students should return home within two weeks of their last day of classes. Student DS-2019 forms and visa will have a set date (August 2018-June 2019) as the High School USA program is, at its longest, 10 months in duration. The student is still authorized/legally able to remain in the USA for a maximum of 30 days beyond their visa expiration date, but CIEE’s rule is that they must return home within two weeks of their last day of classes. If students, Local Coordinators, or host families have questions about this, please call the Support team at 1-800-448-9944.