Stepping Into the Future!


USA Program places a great emphasis on and strongly believes in the orientation, preparation, and ongoing support for our students. The fundamental objectives of the preparation and orientation meetings are to promote cultural learning and reduce, or prevent, culture shock.

Pre-Departure Orientation (Home Country)

The pre-departure orientation meetings are conducted by the USA Home Country Representative, in the intl. student's natural language and are primarily based on USA's "Student Handbook". The USA Home Country Rep. must conduct at least two such meetings in the home country.

The main objectives of the pre-departure orientation meetings are to:

  • Explain the program and its purpose.
  • Enable the student to become fully aware of the nature of cultures and cultural differences.
  • Discuss travel arrangements to the United States, and where and how they will enter the United States.
  • Inform the students about the American lifestyle and customs.
  • Increase the students' understanding of the range of differences between and among cultures.
  • Describe housing with the host family.
  • Explain the participation fees and refund policy.
  • Discuss other costs for which the student will be responsible while residing in the United States.
  • Help improve the students' skill at correctly identifying the predominant values and customs of their home country.
  • Explain insurance coverage that is provided by USA Program.
  • Inform students of emergency assistance procedures with regard to insurance, family emergencies, and important contact telephone numbers.
  • Explain and review all program rules that students are required to follow, as well as the consequences of breaking these rules. Both students and parents must be thoroughly familiar with and agree to abide by all program rules.
  • Give important contact information for the USA office in the United States including the names of responsible officers, the address, and the toll-free telephone number.
  • The topics discussed in USA's "Student Handbook", are organized in a specific chronological order so as to progressively reflect the different phases that the intl. student will experience before departure to the United States.

Parents and intl. students must read the "Student Handbook" carefully prior to the orientation meetings. These topics are:

  • USA Directors and Staff
  • USA's Responsibilities
  • USA is Not Responsible for…
  • Host Family's Responsibilities
  • Student's Responsibilities
  • Placement Process
  • Matching Process
  • Two Months Before Departure
    • Clothing
    • Luggage
    • Positive Attitude
    • Way of Thinking
    • Understanding: Your Home Country and Your Host Country
    • Medical Exam
    • Dental and Eye Exams
    • Passport
    • Airline Ticket
    • ID Cards
    • Bon Voyage Party
  • Arrival
    • Customs and Immigration
    • Reminders
    • Jet Lag
    • Arrival Preparation/Orientation Meeting

As the host family recruitment process progresses in the United States, pictures, letters, and information about the host community are to be sent to the intl. student's home country for review by the intl. students and their parents. This "Host Family Portfolio" helps to better familiarize the intl. students with the host family and with what to expect upon their arrival to the United States.

The natural parents of each intl. student are required to attend at least one of the two orientation meetings conducted by the USA Home Country Representative. The support of the natural parents is important to the success of the intl. students' experience. The natural parents should be aware of all aspects of the USA Program that their children will encounter and be responsible for.