Learning a new language is a process that takes time. Being surrounded by new words and sounds can be exhausting. While it can be challenging when you first start, the best and quickest way to pick up a new language is to fully immerse yourself in it.
Homesickness is common. Many exchange students find they miss home especially at the beginning of program and around special holidays. When you’re finding you’re missing home, try these tactics to help you work through it.
Other students and teachers can be great resources for getting more comfortable in your host school. Don’t be afraid to be proactive and ask for help!
You’re here and ready to hit the ground running? Below are some ideas on how you can kickstart your journey!
One of the most exciting parts of being an AFSer is exploring your host country and learning new things. Here are some tips on how to stay curious!
Being in a brand new culture can bring a lot of changes in a short amount of time. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your experience, be sure to take the time to take care of yourself. Consider the following ways that you can take advantage of the support resources you have within your host community.
Ask any AFS returnee--getting sick for the first time in your host community can be quite the experience thanks to cultural differences and language barriers. It’s important to be prepared for those moments you’re not feeling your best. After all, just like at home, you never know when a nasty cold or stomach bug will strike. Here are some tips that may help you get well sooner!
You feel right at home in your host community? You get along great with your host family? You’re killing it at school? You’re ready to stay forever! As you dive deeper into your host culture, here are some things to keep in mind.
When you leave home, you leave your parents, friends, everyone you used to know and rely on - your support system. You need to develop a new one - your host family, your AFS friends, your new classmates, your AFS volunteers. This will take some time, but the more you reach out, the sooner you will again feel surrounded by people who care about you and whose company you enjoy. Did you know that establishing new and meaningful relationships is the number one indicator of having a successful exchange experience?
Love, amor, l’amour, Liebe, cinta, amore...it’s a universal feeling! That being said, it’s important to remember that expressions of love are very cultural. Consider the following when navigating matters of the heart.
Your AFS host family, volunteers, and staff are here to help you navigate your experience. While it is tempting to call home for help, learn how to troubleshoot with those who live in your host country’s culture. They are the experts who will guide you on this cultural journey.
Cultures differ greatly in nonverbal communication aspects such as how close you stand to someone, amount of physical contact, ways of touching, and displaying of emotions. What is not said or openly stated is often more important when making new friends or getting along with your host family. While it’s important to keep these differences in mind, it’s equally important to talk to a trusted adult if someone’s behavior makes you feel uncomfortable.