New Oasis is committed to the education of our students, as well as supporting our students’ educators. The New Oasis team is always seeking opportunities to learn about new practices or shared experiences with others in our industry. Most recently, several staff members were able to attend different conferences, which addressed a variety of topics relevant to our program and international education.
Last week, our Homestay 360 managers,Tammy Becker and Linda Lindsey, attended the annual WANet Homestay Symposium in Oviedo, FL. This event provided the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops, attend lectures, and network with other professionals. Workshops touched upon topics that were specific to host families, as well as international students, such as E.L.L support or policies and procedures at school.
One highlight from the WAnet symposium included presentations from international students. Students were able to provide their personal insight into their homestay and study abroad through firsthand experience. Our Homestay 360 team enjoyed learning from these students.
“My favorite part of the WANet Homestay Symposium was the break-out sessions done by six students attending Wheaton Academy. I attended these three sessions, “Living With a Host Family”, “Cultural Differences between East and West”, and “How to be Successful in an American Classroom”, that the students gave and gained a lot of insight by listening to their perspective”, Linda said about these presentations.
The students at this session agreed that the month of October during their first year was the most difficult time in their experience. During October culture shock, homesickness, course work and stress were reaching a peak.
“This made me realize how much more we need to prepare our host families ahead of time for this period, so that they can help their student through this, rather than wonder why their normally cheerful student may be moody, distant, disagreeable or unhappy. I think a lot of family stress can be alleviated if the host parent understands that this can be perfectly normal, and it takes time and care to get through it”, Linda reflected from the session.
Next week, members of our team will be traveling to Tennessee to participate in the TAIS Biennial Conference. In addition to the knowledge gained from the workshops, New Oasis is excited to learn more about schools in Tennessee since this is a possible area of expansion for our program. If you have any recommendations during our visit to Tennessee please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAnet. (2014, October 24). Retrieved from HomeStay Symposium: http://wanetusa.org/symposiums/
Arriving to study in another country is an exciting time filled with many new experiences. Amidst all of the excitement it may be easy to forget about all of the adjustments a student must make in their new home, school and community.
New Oasis recently spoke with Yanrui Jiao, “Ray”, to learn about her experiences during her first weeks studying in the United States. Ray is an 11th grade student studying at Bethlehem Catholic High School in Pennsylvania. This is her first year studying the U.S.Ray shared with New Oasis some challenges,and how she overcame them.
New Oasis: At BECA, what are one or two of the biggest difference from school in China?
Ray: I think one the biggest things is that we (international students) not only need to study in the regular class, but also need to learn how to get along with others, and how to fit into a different culture. The other difference is we have a lot of free time after school in the USA. It is important to organize your time and learn to use it wisely.
Selecting classes can also be a challenge when starting school. I wanted many challenging classes and changed my schedule in the first weeks. My goal was to not waste any of my free time. From this experience, I have to tell new students, don’t ever overrate your ability before making class changes! I admit that it may not been the best decision because now I have a lot of work to do each day. I absolutely need to work hard everyday.
New Oasis: Who helped you decide which classes to take?
Ray: I asked a lot of people either online, or face to face. I even asked the instructor of the online courses I wanted to take. Also Yun, my academic adviser at New Oasis provided help. They all gave me some great advice, especially Yun. Yun told me not to push myself too hard by taking AP English my first semester. I didn’t follow her advice, but wish that I did. From this I learned an important lesson; listen to and consider carefully any advice that is offered.
New Oasis: Were there any other problems/challenges at school during the first few weeks?
Ray: There are a lot of problems. I couldn’t open my locker, but another student, Jack, helped me a lot. I couldn’t understand what teachers were talking about either. Everything is better now after a few weeks. I believe all of us (new international students) are getting used to it.
New Oasis: School is challenging enough, but you also had to learn to live with a new host family. What were some differences from your home in China and your home with your host family?
Ray: My family in China is very loud, but the Giacoletti family is sometimes very quiet. Also, my family is China may not always express feelings, although they show they care with all that they do to help me. The Giacoletti Family are good at expressing themselves. We say “thanks” a lot, and I hear “ I love you” in the Giacoletti’s house a lot. I do enjoy it.
New Oasis: What were you nervous about the first week living with your family?
Ray: I was worried about the customs being different. I was not familiar with some rules at home and I was afraid that I would break the rules. Once I moved in I learned that they don’t have a lot of rules.They always are tolerant of me too.
New Oasis: I heard about all of the activities you do with the Giacoletti family. Were any of these activities challenging to start with them?
Ray: We did a lot together. We went to garage-sales and went swimming together. Sometimes I felt nervous because I am not good at these new things.
New Oasis: Many students say that adjusting to new food is a big challenge. Have you struggled with new food? What have your favorite American foods been?
Ray: Yes, I have struggled with the new food. For example, I prefer hot water to cold, but the Giacoletti family prefers cold water. I heated up water at first, but now I am getting used to cold water. My favorite American food so far is pasta!
New Oasis: Please feel free to share any advice that you have for other students that may be nervous about coming to America to study.
Ray: Always be positive. Sometimes we (international students) did something wrong; rather than complain about it, we should try to change the situation. Sometimes we got upset, but it is understandable to be sad that we can’t stay with our natural parents and that we have to fit into a new place. It is okay, everything will be fine, you will find new friends here, and you will start a new life here.
New Oasis: Thank you Ray for providing insight into your experience! I hope that it can other new students arriving to study in the U.S.
The role of the New Oasis student coordinator is an important part of our students success. Coordinators not only provide support in identifying and preparing host families, but work with the student through the duration of their studies. Our dedicated coordinators also strive to seek opportunities for their students to help them grow socially and academically. The coordinators working in Norfolk, VA recently organized a trip for their students to learn more about education and careers in the medical field.
On October 3-5, a group of international students from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy traveled to Johns-Hopkins University in Baltimore. NOIE students included Qianqi Cui, Tianxin Jiang, Yunxiao Yang, Yuhua Yu, and Yinan Zhou. Homestary Coordinator Kara Wood and Academic Coordinator Kollette Hillard organized the trip and accompanied the students.
The group attended the information session at the university and toured the campus. Hazel Yu commented, “I loved the campus! They have high tech labs and a good study environment. I was amazed by the remote-controlled surgery machine. Everyone said ‘hi’ to us and they were playing on the quad.”
Tianxin “Elena” Jiang agreed that she really liked the campus environment. From the information session, she said, “I learned that I should study harder in chemistry.” Following the tour, students shopped in the Inner Harbor, enjoying the sites and street performers. The group enjoyed dinner at P.F. Chang’s before returning to Suffolk the next morning via the Amtrak train.