GET READY BEFORE EMBARKING IN THE ADVENTURE
Training module 7
Upon completion, PARENTS will get to know High School in the USA and High School in America, understand the timeline and expectations of the selection process, learn how they can help their son or daughter have a successful exchange
High School in America (HSA) is our partnership with American Councils, one of the oldest and most respected Nonprofits in the international high school exchange industry. If you came to us through them we welcome you to our placement program. High School in the USA (HSUSA) is how we will refer to our combined program from here on. HSUSA is the daughter company of The Southwestern Family of Companies and our success stands on the shoulders of this great American business that began in 1855 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Southwestern has trained hundreds of thousands of university students to run their own business in it's 165-year history. Now, The Southwestern Family of Companies has over 30 companies under its corporate umbrella and has the goal of becoming the world's largest privately held company in 30 years. Our longevity stems from our principles of integrity and character and vision to help others reach their goals in life.
To see all the companies in The Southwestern Family
In 2003, Southwestern formed Global Educational Concept (GEC), which helped college students receive internships in the United States, skilled jobs that also gave students university credit in their home country. In 2017, GEC developed High School in the USA, HSUSA, to offer an excellent opportunity for high school students who would like to have a cultural exchange, studying in the United States. HSUSA draws students from 15 countries all over the world and places students all over the U.S.
FOUR REASONS HSUSA
is a superior program for studying abroad
HSUSA prepares students better than any other organization for a successful stay in the United States. Did you know that no other organization has a training curriculum like the one that your son or daughter has completed? We take a professional approach to our cultural exchange and by preparing students and parents for what to expect, we minimize problems on the exchange. We are transparent about the challenges and rules for students so they enter the experience with a clear expectation.
We also share why the challenges are worthwhile for their personal growth. We're not just giving students an experience of America, students are exposed to the excellence of working with a top company in America and around the world.
HSUSA Network through the Southwestern Families of Companies gives the opportunity to student participants to be part of the LEAD leadership program. Students will not only benefit from a great experience abroad and personal growth, but they will also be given the chance to prepare for a successful future.
Students who have maintained good grades and a respectful relationship with their host family and Local Coordinator will be invited to Nashville for our Global Readiness Summit. This is a leadership and entrepreneurship seminar where students will be exposed to success principles, meet hundreds of college students whom are running their own business successfully, and be inspired to reach their own goals in life. We will offer a few scholarships and give our HSUSA students reduced conference rates if they choose to attend.
A student year with HSUSA offers your son or daughter a chance to build a network of friendships around the world, exposing them to leaders and positive friendships that will help them reach their goals in life. A year abroad is a great opportunity. A year abroad with HSUSA is extraordinary.
WE SELECT OUR HOST FAMILIES
The video on the right shows many examples of host families. This is one of the promotional videos we use to recruit host families. We want you to see the quality of families we recruit.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
STEP 1: Students complete the pre-application.
STEP 2: Students must score670 or better on the ELTiS, English proficiency test. This test is to be taken with our sending partner or at a testing station. Students will also complete an essay in English at this time.
STEP 3: Students have an interview with the sending partner.
STEP 4: Student completes the Cultural Assimilation Training Modules
All of these materials are to be turned into your HSUSA partner in your country. They will be reviewed by the home office in Nashville, Tennessee.
Approved students will be given the round two application via an email link. Students will have2 weeks to complete the application online.
The Round Two Application requires:
- Medical history information
- A physical examination by a physician
- Grade transcripts for this year and the previous two years
- Recommendations (in English) from adults who know the students well
Upon the completion of your Round Two Application, you will be invoiced for a deposit. We will review your entire application, please allow for up to two weeks. If you pass round two of the selection process, you will have two weeks to send the remainder of the balance for your exchange. Upon receiving the full amount, HSUSA will send to you the DS2019 forms, required for your US Embassy interview. These forms are made specifically for the individual student, issued by the US Government, and cannot be sent electronically.
After confirmation that we are sending to you the DS2019 form, go to the US Embassy website in your country and request an interview time. Read the instructions on the embassy website in full and very carefully. You will pay for your embassy interview - this is not included in your payment to HSUSA. Your in-country sending partner will give you advice for receiving your visa at the US Embassy.
Following your interview, you will receive your visa. You will need to wait for our host family vetting process in the United States. We will then introduce you to your Local Coordinator, your host family, your state, city, and school. We will give you your exact dates of departure (in August) and return (in May/June). We will have one final orientation for you before you go and your new host family will be waiting at the airport for you when you arrive in the United States.
HELPING YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER
Cultural Assimilation is the process a foreigner undergoes. It's about understanding and successfully navigating the host countries values, behaviors, and beliefs. This may involve quick or gradual change but full assimilation occurs when a foreigner blends in with the rest of society.
The best way for your son or daughter to assimilate to their new culture is by strengthening their relationship with their support network in the United States. We set students up with a strong support network with their host family, their local coordinator, and our home office which are available to them 24 hours a day.
We make it clear to students that their first place to find support is with their host family while they are in the United States. Whether they need help selecting their classes for the new semester or adjusting to the emotional ups and downs of making new friends, discussing this with their host family will help them bond with people who truly want to help them. To help facilitate a quick connection with the host family, we ask our natural parents to limit their communication with their students to once a week. Obviously, if there is an emergency, we want the student and parents to connect easily and right away. But under normal circumstances, checking in with your son or daughter should be limited to a once-a-week basis.
We ask that the natural parents don't interfere with the best efforts of the host parents. 90% of the time, students and their host parents get along wonderfully from the beginning. HSUSA goes through great lengths to match your students' interests and personality with their host parents' interests and personality. A caring and respectful attitude will overcome any cultural or personality differences. Most students and their families connect well right away but sometimes developing a friendship take a few weeks. The host parents may have rules that may or may not be new to the student. For example, they may ask them to be home at a certain hour at night on school nights and weekends. If, on your weekend call, your son or daughter complains to you about the new rules or the personality of the host family, we ask that you encourage them to be respectful of their host parents who are in charge of caring for them. It would be inappropriate for you to talk with the host family about their rules. This would cause an adverse relationship between the host family and your son or daughter. Remember, the host parents are voluntarily taking your son or daughter into their home to help them have a positive cultural experience and to care for them. Please give the host parents time and space to learn how to best show care to your son or daughter.
What if there are problems or emergencies? We will inform you if we ever have concerns about your son or daughter. If you have a concern, we'd like you to bring your concern directly to your sending partner in your country. They will bring your concern to the Director of High School in the USA. The staff at HSUSA will discuss the issue with the Local Coordinator and the host family or take the appropriate action. Please refrain from solving your son or daughters problems for them. Natural parents should never call the student's school or student's teachers, their host family and their Local Coordinator will support them with all of their schoolings. Proper American health insurance is included in the cost of the program and your host family will care for them if they become sick or injured.
George and Lukas explaining how they
communicate with their parents
George and Lukas explaining the support
they received from their host families
We are consistently supporting your son or daughter to make sure they have a safe and positive experience. When your student has a problem, ask them: Can they solve the problem on their own? Have they talked with their host family about the issue? Have they talked with their Local Coordinator about the issue? Local Coordinators are equipped to solve most challenges.
So parents, let us prepare you for your students' exchange by sharing with you what you might already know. Your son or daughter might complain to you. This is normal. Your son or daughter will have feelings of excitement and feelings of loneliness or sadness. The ups and downs are normal.
Students will have rules. Some are very important to follow and your son or daughter can show you the most important ones from the previous module.
How do you have a great Skype call?
- Don't tell your son or daughter about all of the things they are missing back home. This could make them homesick.
- Listen to your child and ask how their relationships are going. Always encourage them to build a good relationship with respect and kindness with their host family and other adults. If they need help solving a problem, give them advice to help them solve it on their own.
- Ask them to share what they are learning and remind them that the challenges they face by being independent and mature will help them grow personally.
RULES FOR PARENTS
Students should have about $250 per month available to them to cover miscellaneous expenses. If a student chooses to have a cell phone plan while in the United States they are responsible for this expense. If they join a sport or activity, there will be a fee. If they choose to go to a movie with their friends (not with their host family) they will need their own money for this. Provide a way for students to cover their expenses as so not to be indebted to their host family or others.
Students are not allowed to have visitors during the first part of their stay. Natural parents are allowed to visit after February. 15th, with the permission of HIGH SCHOOL in the USA.
Thank you for completing our module for parents and thank you for trusting your son or daughter to have the maturity to handle this cultural exchange. THIS is the completion of your son or daughter's student visitor training modules with HSUSA.