The purpose of New Oasis student orientation is to prepare students with the basic information on American schools and families in order to help them during their initial transition. After each orientation session passes we learn that there is so much more that an orientation provides for students and families. One of the most important take-aways from orientation include the student’s confidence and trust in their decision to study abroad.
Last week students attending schools in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia all joined together outside of Washington, DC for four days of workshops and events for our first spring-student orientation. New Oasis welcomed almost 20 students and 15 parents to the first orientation of 2015!
The students spent two days in classroom-style workshops with the academic team and homestay support. During this time there were tutorials on topics ranging from the importance of academic integrity, to tools for understanding American slang! Topic selection came from the advice of our schools and host families on the information that would be helpful during their first weeks studying abroad and living with a host family. Students received the workshops in a mixture of Chinese and English to ensure understanding. A big thanks is owed to the New Oasis bi-lingual team who had their work cut-out for them last week!
Parents had a separate itinerary than students allowing them the opportunity to ask the questions that were most important to their interests, while also being prepared for what to expect during their child’s first weeks. Sue Zhang, Academic Program Manager, and Suzy Fitzpatrick, Director of Homestay360, prepared information for parents on the challenges that their children would be facing academically and socially. Suzy was enthusiastic that so many parents attended the New Oasis orientation, “The natural parents are a part of the team alongside of the school, host families, student coordinators and headquarter members. It takes all parties to make each students experience successful”.
To build relationships the students New Oasis planned several out-of-classroom events for the students and parents. Families were entertained by talented chef’s at a special New Year’s Eve dinner at a Benihana restaurant in Dulles, VA. On New Year’s Day, a tour of Washington, DC’s famous monuments was followed by a bowling party in Georgetown, DC. Parents had plenty of opportunity to shop too!
When Friday arrived and it was time to say farewell, the New Oasis team felt confident that the information covered over the past days would help each student, and parent, in their transition to a new school and home. Farewells are always challenging, but the entire team was excited for the journey each student was departing for. We can’t wait to meet our next group of students on January 14!
This summer New Oasis organized their first local new student orientations. Over 120 new students and 75 parents participated in 3 days of orientation in Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. For many students and families, this was their first time visiting the United States.
Local coordinators and academic, homestay and marketing support staff from the company’s home office all worked together to lead students and accomplish many goals for orientation. Students received help setting up bank accounts, cell phone service and completing required vaccines or physicals. The students were also taken on a shopping trip to help with school uniforms or other comforts for their new homes.
In addition to completing these requirements, the homestay and academic departments worked with students to help prepare them for the cultural differences at home and at school. Interactive workshops were conducted on:
Students asked questions on everything from preparing for the SATs to deciding which clubs to join. Yun Liu, Academic Advisor, from the Herndon office attended four of the seven orientations to help prepare the students for the academic differences. “The orientation not only helped the students understand the basic differences between the American and Chinese high school education, it also informed students what it means to be an excellent students (including) what kind of person American colleges are looking for, and how to leverage the education resources in the U.S. to fully develop oneself and to become a well-rounded person,” said Liu.
Parents were provided an opportunity to visit a local partner school and learn more about the differences in the education system. This provided a great forum to answer their questions on the academic expectations for their children. It was also a great way to highlight the many opportunities that students will have in their new communities including clubs, sports and volunteer service.
Everyone came together the final night to enjoy some much needed fun! Amusement parks, local museums and other attractions were enjoyed by students, parents and the New Oasis team. After a busy few days everyone enjoyed sharing in laughter and creating memories in the local community.
The orientation’s all concluded with warm greetings from the student’s host family. Tammy Becker, Homestay 360 Manager and Host Mom, was excited at the student’s progress, “You could see the students confidence growing each day. They began to open up and ask questions and express concerns. Seeing the students put into action the things we had discussed and practiced throughout the week was remarkable. They greeted their host family with confidence.”
Overall New Oasis is proud of the work we accomplished to help our new students. We have already been discussing how to make next year’s orientations even better!