Wry Exchange


Passport? What Passport?
05-04-08, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students | Tags: ,

  All FES’s should know where their passport is at all times.  I recommend the students keep it safely with them. For some students, that means locked safely in their luggage or kept in their sock drawer.  For others, the host family keeps it with their important papers or in their safe.   My program strongly recommends the students give their passport to their counselors.  I am not comfortable with this suggestion.   I would never give up my passport.   I don’t ask my kids to hand over their passports to me. 

Students should obtain a government issued ID card in their host country, both here and abroad.  Their passports shouldn’t be used on a regular basis, but kept safely at home.   All students should have color copies of their passport Visa page, ID page, and other travel documents.  For students coming to the US, that includes the DS-2019.  Students should leave one copy with their natural parents, and keep another set with them.

Telling FES to keep his passport safe isn’t the same as knowing the kid understands and obeys.  One of my students didn’t take his passport out of his cargo pants pocket after returning from Canada.  His hostmom washed it.  I’ll check pockets, but would never think to check a leg pocket.  I don’t think many hostmoms even check pockets at all, especially ones with other children in the family, it would take too long.  The washed passport actually came through quite well.  A few of the stamps were faded out, and FES was a little pissy, but it was his own fault.

Another FES packed all of her belongings to return to her country.  Everything was in the car, the flight was in 4 hours, and she couldn’t find her passport!  (Why on earth she left that for the absolute last thing before walking out of the house is beyond me.  She was actually a very bright girl.)    She called me.  I checked online.  These are the steps we took.  1-Call the airline.  Cancel the flight.  If she had just missed her flight, she would’ve lost the ticket.  She didn’t have to rebook immediately, but it gave her breathing room.  2-Call home, and tell the parents.  3-Keep looking.  She never found it.  4-Go online, and find out the requirements for passport replacement.  Each country is different, and rules can change.   FES never found her passport, and had to replace it.  Her parents had to FEDx her birth certificate and other original papers from home.  She had to go to her consulate in New York City in person with her school transcript, and her exchange student papers.  Her return home was delayed for 2 weeks because of her carelessness.

 

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