Wry Exchange


Dear Wry – I’m Miserable
09-18-08, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Depression, Exchange Students, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: , ,

 Dear Wry,
Im an exchange student in my second month of a year long exchange in Sweden.
i googled homesickness and look at this, a the second link site about homesickness for exchange students, and you even write about the 3 month slump, where you settle back into what seems to be inevitable, repetitive an boring day to day life. you nailed it with – “the family sometimes annoys them, school is boring, and their lives are almost what it would be if they didn’t go on exchange. Except they’d be back home with their friends, families, and pets.”
I actively hate my host parents, but luckily, because im with rotary ill switch in 4 months to a reallylovely host family. but for now im stuck with these people i hate, a mother who i think is kind on some levels but is rude, tactless, and controlling, and a father who creeps me out, and it super annoying. Ive realized that highschool is highschool everywhere, and the people are still 16-18 year olds, my town is small, people here are super shy and its hard to make friends, esp with the language boundary. Even if were easy, is super difficult too find people who really interests me.
but going home is not an option, and i know i need to stick it out, and it will improve, it has for everyone else and i am a social creature so i know i will make friends, but for now im incredibly lonely and im startíng to feel homesick. and i know that ill need to keep active to keep it at bay, but my school offers no clubs or extracurricular activities.i guess i dont really have a straight question you could answer im just pretty desperate for something to make me feel less like how i feel right now.
Rose

Dear Rose,

if you ‘actively hate’ your host family, MOVE NOW.  Tell your Rotary counselor.  If you don’t get help from him/her, tell your Rotary counselor back in the states.  Rotary has very strict rules in place.  If your host father gives you the creeps, that’s a huge sign it’s time to get out.  This is YOUR year, ½ of it shouldn’t be with people who make you miserable.   This is unacceptable in a Rotary program.

Are other exchange students near you?  Are any former exchange students around?  Does your Rotary program have meetings, language lessons, or trips available to you?  It’s normal for European schools not to have extracurriculars, but is there a nearby gym you can join?  Are there any sports clubs?  If your town is small, can you take public transportation to a different town to explore?  What do students in your school do for fun?  Find one kid a day, and try to talk to him or her.  They’re probably intimidated by you. 

 I added you to my MSN Messenger list, if you use it, we can chat later.  Keep in touch.



How is Your Exchange Student?

 How is your student doing?  If you are a FES abroad, how are you?   Is life good?

Physical Self-Are the headaches going away?  Are you getting enough sleep, but not too much?  Has your stomach adjusted to the food?  How is your weight-stable, or are you gaining/losing weight?  Are you getting enough exercise? 

Mental Self-Can you help yourself when you’re lonely, bored, sad, or homesick?  Are your language and comprehension skills improving?  If you take medication regularly, do you remember to take it?  Do you have someone to talk to?  Do you feel strong and confident?

Emotional Self-Are you crying for no reason?  Do you get frustrated and feel like you just can’t think?  Are you slowly distancing yourself from ‘home’ to your new home?  Are you enjoying yourself?

If you need help, ask for it NOW.  Don’t wait.  It’s much easier to fix a small problem now than a big mess later.  “Things will get better” isn’t always true.  People want to help you.  We all know this is one year-your year.  You aren’t alone.



Culture Shock Again

From last year:  Is your student homesick, depressed, or bored?  The students have been in their new countries, including the US, for 6-7 weeks now.  They are over the initial culture shock, and they are able to communicate in their new languages.  They should feel comfortable within their host families, and have new friends.   Everything should be wonderful.  This is supposed to be “The Best Year of Their Lives”  But sometimes, it’s not.
 It’s the second wave of culture shock.  Their lives have become routine.  What the students are doing now is what they’ll be doing for the next 8-11 months.  The realization that they are living in a family with rules, the family sometimes annoys them, school is boring, and their lives are almost what it would be if they didn’t go on exchange.  Except they’d be back home with their friends, families, and pets.
Solution?  Keep them busy!  The kids should have all sorts of activities going on.  They should be playing some type of sports, or getting exercise of some type daily.  The students should join clubs-Drama, Language, 4-H, Scouts, Chess, Swim team, etc.  Most of the kids should not come home from school and stay  all night.  (Sparky, P, and Cle were all content to stay home often, but they were happy.  They weren’t homesick or bored. Husband and I also didn’t expect them to be our little friends and stay to keep us company.  Some host families want to keep the students all to themselves. That’s not healthy for anyone.) They are exchange students to learn the culture of their country.   Let them visit with another exchange student, or invite one overnight.  The student should see his counselor regularly.  The exchange program should have activities at least once a month for the kids.  The host family should plan activities with the student; they don’t have to be expensive-go for a hike, go fishing,  or yard sale shopping.  Take the student to a football or volleyball game, and permit (shove) them to sit with friends and go out with the others after the game.   Take the student to help volunteer-She can coach younger kids, he can visit senior citizens.  Anything to take their minds off of themselves.



Homesick, Depressed, or Bored?
09-27-07, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Culture, Depression, Exchange Students | Tags: , , , , ,

The students have been in their new countries, including the US, for 6-7 weeks now.  They are over the initial culture shock, and they are able to communicate in their new languages.  They should feel comfortable within their host families, and have new friends.   Everything should be wonderful.  This is supposed to be “The Best Year of Their Lives”  But sometimes, it’s not.
 It’s the second wave of culture shock.  Their lives have become routine.  What the students are doing now is what they’ll be doing for the next 8-11 months.  The realization that they are living in a family with rules, the family sometimes annoys them, school is boring, and their lives are almost what it would be if they didn’t go on exchange.  Except they’d be back home with their friends, families, and pets.
Solution?  Keep them busy!  The kids should have all sorts of activities going on.  They should be playing some type of sports, or getting exercise of some type daily.  The students should join clubs-Drama, Language, 4-H, Scouts, Chess, Swim team, etc.  Most of the kids should not come home from school and stay  all night.  (Sparky, P, and Cle were all content to stay home often, but they were happy.  They weren’t homesick or bored. Husband and I also didn’t expect them to be our little friends and stay to keep us company.  Some host families want to keep the students all to themselves. That’s not healthy for anyone.) They are exchange students to learn the culture of their country.   Let them visit with another exchange student, or invite one overnight.  The student should see his counselor regularly.  The exchange program should have activities at least once a month for the kids.  The host family should plan activities with the student; they don’t have to be expensive-go for a hike, go fishing,  or yard sale shopping.  Take the student to a football or volleyball game, and permit (shove) them to sit with friends and go out with the others after the game.   Take the student to help volunteer-She can coach younger kids, he can visit senior citizens.  Anything to take their minds off of themselves.