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Teen FAQ List

Parents Want to Know Teens Want to Know

Who is in charge?
Each Teenager Program has a dedicated director and staff responsible for your child and the other participants. The program staff can include language instructors, activities coordinators, counselors, chaperones, residential camp monitors and host families. Our catalog and website gives you the average student/staff ratio for each program.

What if my child is homesick?
Whenever someone studies abroad, everyone (even adults) will experience some cultural adjustment. This cultural adjustment can be a little more difficult for younger participants as they are less experienced travelers, at that awkward age and their expectations may be a bit more unrealistic (i.e. standard of living and lifestyle differences). Usually, cultural shock/homesickness occurs within the first week and disappears as your child gets used to the differences. If homesickness occurs, we ask parents to encourage the child to stay for at least a week. If you decide to pull your child from the program, we will work with you to make the process as quick and simple as possible but no refunds are available.

Can my child leave the program to travel independently?
At some programs this is possible but not at all programs. If possible, the program may require a special signed waiver form. Even with this waiver form, each program has different rules (ex. age limits, curfews).

How will I know my child has arrived safely?
Parents may call the participants at the homestay to make sure they have arrived. Keep in mind that flights are rarely on time, immigration lines are usually long and your child needs to get from the airport to their lodging. These factors may cause a delay with your child communicating with you. Also, you may contact AmeriSpan during regular business hours and we can follow-up with the program staff to confirm your child’s safe arrival.

How can I communicate with my child? And vice versa?
The best way to keep in touch is to purchase a pre-paid phone card or a cell phone that works overseas. Participants may not make phone calls from their homestays, however parents may call the participants at the homestay. It is customary to keep calls brief. Most teen program locations have access to the Internet as well.

If we apply and change our minds, can we get our money back?
First, you’ll need to decide ahead that this will be the right program for your child and that your child in mature enough to participate. The registration fee for Teenager programs in non-refundable. For the cancelation made 3 weeks before your arrival, please see our Terms & Conditions. ONCE THE PROGRAM HAS BEGUN THERE ARE NO REFUNDS.

What arrangements are needed since my child is flying on their own?
Usually, no additional arrangements should be necessary. However, if your child needs to change flights, some airlines may not allow an unaccompanied minor to board an airplane. You can arrange for "Unaccompanied Minor Assistance" with most airlines, they will require full details of the person who will pick your kid up at the airport, please ask Amerispan for those details. We will also need to know the kids cell number (if you meant to give him one).

What if there’s a problem with my child’s airport pick-up upon arrival?
Your child will be met by a representative of the camp or school in the arrivals hall, after picking up luggage and going through customs. This person will be holding a placard with your child’s name on it. In the unusual event that there is a problem with the pick-up, be sure that your child has a copy of their Confirmation with the Emergency Contact Numbers highlighted so that they will know whom to call. Also be sure they know how to dial the numbers, knowing which is the country code, which is the city code and how to use them. We’ll be happy to explain this… just ask!

What type of spending money should my child bring?
We recommend a combination of debit/credit card and cash. Your child should have at least $100-$200 US cash when traveling in case of an emergency. In most program locations, there are ATM machines where your child can withdraw cash with a credit card. Tip: Visa offers prepaid Visa cards for teenagers.

What if my child’s luggage is lost?
Your child will have to go and report it to the airline upon arrival, but BE SURE THEY KNOW THEY MUST MEET THEIR AIRPORT PICK-UP PERSON FIRST!! It’s best to pack two our three days changes of clothing in carry-on luggage…just in case!

What paperwork does my child need?
All participants will need a valid passport and some countries will need a notarized letter from one or all legal guardians granting permission for the child to travel. Some countries change requirements often so it is best to contact the country’s embassy or consulate and find out exactly what is needed.

How can I prepare my child for traveling and arrival?
Make sure your child has a copy of their flight itinerary, a copy of their program confirmation with emergency contact numbers highlighted, copies of all of your telephone numbers and a copy of the signed waiver form allowing for independent travel if you have elected to approve that. Also, be sure that this information goes with your child in their carry-on luggage… NOT in checked luggage!

Am I just in class all day?
No! Sure you have some language classes, but all the programs offer many activities and excursions (either included in the cost of tuition or at an additional cost depending on location). In fact, several programs require participation in activities but don’t assign any homework.

Is there homework?
Each program is different. Some require homework while others have no homework. However, the term "homework" is used loosely and might not mean lots of handwritten exercises. For example, your homework might be for you to watch a specific TV show, interview a member of your host family, or read an article in the local paper. Since you are exposed to another language and culture 24 hours/day, you will learn a great deal even with no homework.

How can I find out about the activities and excursions?
Review this catalog or go to our website for even more information. Most of our program web pages have a link called "Sample Activities and Excursions" where you can see a sample of the schedule.

Will I meet people?
Yes! All programs have atmospheres that encourage lots of interaction between participants, as well, as between participants and local people. However, only extremely mature and well-traveled teenagers should participate in our Independent Teen as there will likely be few or no other teenagers.

Is it fun?
Yes! But you need to pick a program that sounds like a match for you. AmeriSpan’s staff assigns a fun rank of 1-star to 4-stars. A higher number means that the program is very active while a lower number indicates that you will likely be required to manage most of your time independently. The rating specifically looks at on-site evaluations, experience with the program, past participants’ feedback, number of other teenagers, range of nationalities, number and variety of activities.

Will I be speaking the target language 24/7?
You will be surrounded by your target language, but you will likely have plenty of opportunity to speak both English and the target language. How much depends on who will be in the program at the time you are attending. For example, if there are a lot of American students, of course you’ll speak English with each other. It’s also possible that there will be many students from other countries who don’t speak English so you’ll speak the target language more often. Finally, remember that you can really build your language skills by practicing at every opportunity… so take advantage of being in another country to use your target language whenever possible.

Can I stay out late?
Residential Camp and Supervised Programs have curfews. No exceptions/extensions are made to the curfew even if your parents request it. AmeriSpan does not tolerate teenage participants skipping school, missing scheduled activities, breaking curfew, drinking alcohol, using drugs or engaging in sexual activities. Breaking the rules will result in your expulsion and early departure at the cost of your family.

Can I leave the program to travel on my own?
This varies by program and by your age. If your program allows you to travel or go out on your own, the school dictates the rules as to how late you can stay out. If you plan to do some traveling or leaving the campus, you must have the permission of your parent and a signed waiver form.

What are the accommodations like and what about laundry?
Accommodations vary by program. In our Camp programs, accommodations are usually dorm-style, with 6-12 students per dorm room. They are grouped according to age and sex… just like a ‘bunk’ at camp! All accommodations have some arrangement for laundry. In most cases, laundry can be done about once a week. However, it’s always better to pack for two weeks without laundry if possible.

Can I get college credit?
Yes, the easiest way is to take a CLEP exam after you return to the USA. The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) gives you the opportunity to receive college credit for what you already know by earning qualifying scores on any of 34 examinations. Depending on your college's CLEP policy, a satisfactory score on a CLEP exam can earn you from 3 to 12 college credits. The cost of each exam is less than $100.

What will I do if I have a problem?
Traveling abroad is a big experience for everyone and unexpected developments can always arise. You’ll have the best experience if you are willing to act on your own behalf! There is always a counselor, mentor, host parent or program director to go and speak with if you are having any kind of problem. The sooner you speak up, the sooner your problem can be solved. If you call your parent to tell them about a problem and then they call us and then we call the program, it takes a lot longer to deal with something that could be fixed if you speak directly to an adult in your program. Remember, between the time difference and our office hours, sometimes it can take two days to fix something that could be fixed in two hours if you ask for help directly! Yes, sometimes you have to be a bit brave, but that’s what will make you a successful international traveler in the future!

 

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