Language & Friendship Communication Expectations
Language & Friendship organizes immersion travel and family-stay programs so that students can better learn the language and create friendships. The purpose of the program is to focus on the country and people you are visiting. An L&F program encourages personal growth, independence, and self-reliance. L&F Program Expectations indicate that students should limit communication with friends and family during their immersion experience. Communication includes e-mail, phones, Internet, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and use of other technologies (iPads, laptops, etc.). Why?
Making and receiving phone calls, text messages, and other social media messaging is disruptive and detracts from your experience. Spending time chatting in English takes away from the goal of speaking the target language and limits language progress during the visit.
- Good preparation results in better safety and security than having a cell phone. Good travelers will be in groups of 3 or more and will learn how to ask for help if needed.
- In case of any problem or concern, students are to talk to the teacher/leader. Teacher/leaders are there to help you. Learning how to ask for help in the language and learning how to use a phone abroad are skills you will be practicing before and during your program. This will provide much more security than calling or texting or messaging someone at home who cannot help you.
E-Mail/Internet/Facebook/Other social media
Online communication should be limited for the same reasons as indicated above. (Internet access may not be available in all hotels or host families.) Students and parents should agree beforehand to expect, at most, one or two messages during the program.
- Too much communication with friends, family, and your native culture can cause homesickness and severely limit your ability to adjust to your new home and family. You may also worry your family at home by sending a sad e-mail in your first days.
- Learning of some news (whether happy or sad) may make you feel that you are missing out on something at home and cause you to miss out on the new experiences around you. For example, if your cat dies or if your boyfriend/girlfriend dates someone else, you will feel bad and wish you were home. This can ruin your once-in-a-lifetime experience so it is usually better to save any news for when you return.
During the family stay:
- In case of any concerns, you must contact your teacher/leader, not your parents. Your teacher/leader and the family stay coordinator are there to help you and can react more quickly and efficiently than parents/friends who are far away.
- Always ask your host family for permission to use the computer or the phone.
- Do not use the Internet to communicate with your friends on the program. Sharing your fun experiences can lead to jealousy issues so it is better to share stories when you return to the group.
- Host families’ feelings can be hurt if you spend time online rather than with them.
- Commit to logging off during your family stay to make the most of your short time with your new family.
How Does One Communicate While Abroad?
- Send postcards!
- Send one group e-mail to parents and friends back home.
- As a group, create a blog and take turns posting for everyone at home to see what you have been up to.
- In case of emergency, ask someone nearby to borrow a phone – just like you would in the U.S.
Be in the moment!
- Listen to the language around you and the information being given to you.
- Learn from the people you are traveling with and from the people you meet.
- Live the experience while you have the opportunity!
- Bring a willingness to listen and absorb, a commitment to communicate, and a determination to smile and show your interest.
Think of your experience abroad as if you were going to a camp. Rules regarding communication are in place for your benefit in order for you to make the most of your experience.