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!