Counselor’s Corner

August Counselor’s Corner

by Ellie Bucciarelli: Greenheart Exchange Student Counselor

Packing bags! Getting rooms ready! Making signs for airport arrival! Packing gifts for your new Host Family! The months of July and August are filled with nerves and excitement. The anticipation for the start of the Program is a feeling like no other. Here are a few tips to guide you through this first month:

  1. Make a welcome sign to bring to the airport. Students love these signs!
  2. Prep the bedroom with little extras: a welcome note, pad of paper or journal, writing utensils, book about your area, school gear with the logo are a few ideas. Make sure the bed is made and ready to go for your very tired student. Some have had very long flights!
  3. Keep on a new schedule. This is hard, but so important. The best way to acclimate is to limit naps (save those naps after time zone adjustments have happened). Go to bed and get up with the Host Family to get ready for the first day of school.
  4. It’s okay to go easy on new foods at first. Try new foods, but listen to your body.
  5. Ask questions! Create a schedule and go over rules to prevent confusion. Everything in writing is helpful to refer to later. During the first few days, a lot may not be remembered.
  6. Start making connections. Begin this new chapter with introductions around the neighborhood, family and other students who will attend the same school.
  7. Check in with parents back home assuring a safe arrival. Make sure to set up a schedule to contact home and friends so a big part of this first month can be about being “present” in these new surroundings. It really helps with the transition!
  8. Talk it out! If there are questions, concerns, confusion or homesickness, take the time to talk to your Local Coordinator, Host Family or Student early. This first month is all about building a solid foundation for this Program. Lean on the people close to you here in the United States.
  9. Keep positive! Be patient! This Program is so special. It’s a big year for new discoveries, new growth and friendships that can last a lifetime.
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