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Last night at home ... until next February; Son leaving for Japan
Topic Started: Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:24 am (2,065 Views)
Cluz

Hello, my son is leaving for Japan tomorrow and tonight I can't sleep and I feel very emotional.
We live in DR and he is the only one from our country to go there. I am very proud of him but at this moment i am kind of worried too. Since he learned the name of the family he stopped studying Japanese and stopped dreaming about it.
I know he is scared at this point, still he knows that this will be a very important experience in his life.
How are generally Japanese host parents? I wish I learned more about his host family but we could not really comunicate since they do not speak any English.
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l_o_g

Hey Cluz! It's okay to feel scared. I bet every single student and every single parent on here will confirm that they were scared at some point before/during their experience - to be honest, I think it would be naive NOT to be a little scared. I'm sure your son will get back into studying Japanese quickly once he's there, simply because he'll have to, especially if his host family don't speak English. It might turn out to be a good thing!

Now is the time when you have to trust the organization, the host family, and most importantly, your son. He will be alright, and he will tell you more about his host parents soon enough. Just be strong, let him settle in and feel free to talk to us whenever you're worried about something.
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weblet

I agree. Sending your child off to stay with people you don't know is nerve-racking. My son went to Argentina and sounds a lot like your son. He wanted to quit taking Spanish once the application was in. :huh: His family, too, did not speak English. So we knew very little. But, that's ok, because that's why he's with a program. While it's hard, we parents have to trust that the program will take care of the kids.

I think I can anticipate one thing that your son will miss, and needs to be aware of. In general, I'm assuming that coming from the DR, your culture is that you all do a lot of hugging. Daily. Lots. The Japanese are not generally very touchy. He may not realize it, but this will probably make him feel "unloved". My own hosted kids from South America said that this was very hard for them coming to my family (as we are not big huggers). So he will have to figure this out and adjust.

As long as he is willing to make sure he talks to his support person, he should be fine. As we say in exchange, communication, communication, communication! This is very important in the host family and with the program.

And I'm going to give some other advice too. As a 12x host mom. Please don't expect to talk to your son constantly. One of the things he is there to do is to build a relationship with a new family. Kids cannot do that if their natural family is always wanting to talk to them. Encourage him to go make friends, do things with the new family, be Japanese! The kids I have the best relationships with are the ones who were able to let go of home and really immerse themselves here in my home and community. As a host mom, I want a son/daughter - not a boarder. It will be hard for you. I know this. So when you get that urge to talk to him, come here instead and talk to us :)
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Matsunoki
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How are you holding up, Cluz? My experience in Japan was short but I had a good host family, and my organization (which at least in the US is very similar to AFS) was incredibly well-organized.
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Cluz

Hey thanks everybody! :)
The plane left this morning at 7am. Still 9 hours to get to Tokyo. He told me he knows the thing he will miss the most are hugs. Here they hug among friend, kiss girls to say hello and good bye, and in our family we do hug a lot too.
He also is very dermined to integrate as much as possible. He did not even brought his computer with him, so not to have the temptation to stay too much in touch with us or his friends. He will have a phone though (but he has no skype on the phone). He will rely only on the family computer.
I have to say, I am very very happy with the organization AFS.
Until now they have proven to be very serious and very attent. Excelent organization as far as i could see until now. I am honestly impressed!
I know this is a positive, life changing experience and I am so for it that my other son has already applied and been accepted for Austria :D
I am extremely proud of them ;)
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mourinho
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That's so exciting :) I'm glad you feel comfortable with AFS. In general, they're really organized and overall great to work with.

It's great that both of your sons are interested in exchange and that you're supporting them! My current exchange student has an older brother who went to Italy on exchange, and I think it's so cool to see whole families get involved.
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l_o_g

That actually sounds really smart of your son not to take his own computer. You have every reason to be proud of him!

And your other son is coming to Austria with AFS? I come from Austria, and I spent my year abroad with AFS as well. If you or your son have any questions, I'm happy to help!
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mburucuja

Thank you for allowing him to have this experience, despite the difficulties for you! I wish more parents were like you. :)

Although he may be the only one from the DR, there will be lots of other students from Spanish-speaking countries whose cultures have a lot in common who may encounter similar challenges. Not bringing a computer is definitely a good move! It may make the initial days/weeks/months harder, but it's absolutely worth it in the long run. It sounds like he's set up to have a great exchange! :)
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spinningplates

Good for him, not bringing his computer! Sounds like he really understands what it means to assimilate and is taking it seriously. I hope you're holding up okay! I'm sure it will be hard, but hopefully it gets easier as the time passes on and you hear about all of his adventures (but not too often).

Welcome to the board, by the way!
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Cluz

l_o_g I have a question about Austria. What kind of school do interchange kids go to? here where we live they to go an International School (like high school). He loves music and at certain point he hoped to be placed into a musical "Gymnasium" How is the school system organized there?
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