Participation is important: help your student get involved locally
For many exchange students, feeling busy helps with their adjustment and makes them feel more at home. There are plenty of opportunities for students to engage in their communities.
Sports are likely offered at your local high school, but you can also check with your local recreation department for something your student likes or for an activity you can try together. Students may also be interested in less organized forms of exercise like dance, Zumba, yoga, fitness classes or going to the gym.
Getting your student involved in activities is a great way to help them feel like a part of the community. Some IECs or RCs will have planned activities for the students in the same area. If you'd like, consider partnering with your IEC or other parents to organize an event like apple picking in the fall or a holiday party in the winter for the exchange students or other teens in the area.
Ask your student if they would like to speak with local groups, churches, elementary schools or at town hall meetings. It can be a great way to share their culture and promote exchange within your community! Even if your student is not religious, a local youth group can be a great place to make friends. Suggest they try going to see if this is something they will enjoy.
Volunteering is an big part of the American culture and getting your student involved is a great way to help them connect. Is your student passionate about a cause? Research local awareness walks, fundraising events, food banks or advocacy groups they may be interested in supporting.
“My host family wants to be a big part of my life and they support me. I was nervous to join the football team because we don’t have that in the Netherlands, but they encouraged me to try it and I made it as the kicker. I don't play that much, but they still come to my games to support me and the team.”
— Romee from the Netherlands
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