With the exception of the Japanese program, exchange students usually arrive in Alberta in August or September and leave in October (Spain), November (Germany), December (Quebec) or January (Mexico). During this hosting period, liaison teachers play a critical support role for the exchange student. They are responsible to
- remind all staff of the arrival of the exchange student
- arrange for the exchange student to be registered
- remind administration that basic school fees are waived for exchange students. (The host family is expected to pay the transportation fees for the exchange student. Exchange students are expected to pay fees associated with extracurricular activities or specialty courses.)
- arrange appointments with the guidance department for course selection
- welcome the exchange student and introduce them to the school routine
- assist with course selection (see below)
- meet with the exchange students’ chaperone and give them a tour of the school (if applicable)
- maintain close contact with both students during the first month – this is usually when difficulties arise and
- ensure that the Alberta student arranges with teachers to complete the course work that he or she will miss in the next semester
If difficulties arise
- Sit down with the students separately to discuss the dispute. It may stem from a cultural misunderstanding.
- Involve the host family if necessary.
- Inform the student exchange coordinator at the Alberta Teachers’ Association. If the problem cannot be resolved at the school level, the student exchange coordinator will address it.
Planning the exchange student’s timetable
While in Alberta, the exchange student is expected to carry a full Alberta school program. The following suggestions may be helpful:
- Electives such as industrial arts, art or music give students the opportunity to meet and communicate with other students in a less structured atmosphere
- Drama and physical education often provide exchange students with excellent socializing and language learning situations and
- Most incoming students are often excellent students and have a good English language proficiency. As such, they may be enrolled in English 20 and in Grade 11 or 12 math and science courses
Be sure to give the exchange student some flexibility in the first couple of weeks of class. It may take some time to find a class that suits their language and academic abilities.