The following statement reflects the AFS-USA guideline on parent(s)/guardian(s) contact and has been shared with your hosted participant and their parent(s) in the Welcome to the USA booklet, which is shared with all hosted participants prior to their arrival in the United States.
Going abroad on an exchange doesn’t mean that participants and their parent(s)/guardian(s) can’t stay in touch. Hearing news and sharing the experience is important. Periods of loneliness are common, and during those times communication from home may seem like the best medicine. Unfamiliarity with a new country, culture, language, school, and family is a big part of it; and the only way to make it better is to work hard at adapting to it all.
Below are some guidelines regarding communication during the exchange period to help facilitate the cultural adjustment process.
Phone Use and Contact during the Exchange Period
Contacting parent(s)/guardian(s) more than once a week at any time is excessive, regardless of your hosted participant is experiencing challenges. AFS recommends that hosted participants communicate periodically with family and friends. However, when issues come up, it’s helpful for hosted participants to reduce the frequency of contact with their family and friends. Reducing contact allows hosted participants to focus more on addressing and working through their issues and challenges.
AFS recommends that hosted participants and their parent(s)/guardian(s)(s) discuss and decide how often they will communicate BEFORE coming to the U.S. We recommend that hosted participants limit communication with their home country to once a week.
Please note: AFS strongly advises AGAINST adding your hosted participant to your family phone plan or purchasing a cell phone which requires a contractual commitment.
Please be aware that hosted participants must always be able to contact their liaison and parent(s)/guardian(s). Therefore, please do not take your hosted participant’s mobile phone away from them for any reason.