Technology Guidelines young LIfe Amicus

Amicus Philosophy #1: Disconnect to Connect

You’re ready to have a life changing year with Amicus. It’s very important to think carefully and thoughtfully about the electronic devices you want to take with you or acquire when you’re in the U.S. They can help in your learning and building new friendships, but they can also easily distract from your success.

With current technology you can be physically present in the US with your host family and friends, but virtually present anywhere in the world. Though you’ll stay in contact with family and friends from home, the time you spend communicating with them is time you won’t have to build relationships here. While it is easier than ever to have immediate communication with family and friends in your home country, fast does not necessarily mean best. Taking time to be present with who and what are right in front of you is how you will thrive in your new environment.

Adjusting to life in the US will probably include some homesickness and culture shock. These are normal, and will lessen the more you engage in your new surroundings. If you simply rely on your home family and friends for support, the homesickness will never leave you. So prepare yourself, your family, and friends to talk on an agreed upon day once a week. This sets everyone up for success!

Amicus Philosophy #2: The Affects of Too Much Social Media

Amicus Philosophy #3: Respect & Understanding Build Trust & Relationship

Your Host Family will have their own family rules about electronics. Ask them about their rules at the beginning of your year. The best way to avoid issues is to have a clear understanding from the start. It’s best to plan to have your screen time and social media time limited at your Host Home. Be prepared to have your devices charged in a shared space in your host home at night. This might be frustrating and something you are not used to, but making a decision to engage fully in your Amicus year will mean adjusting to rules for using electronic devices.

Whether you bring your own laptop or rely on your Host family’s computer, be prepared for limits and sharing with other family members. If you do have your own laptop, it will be easy for you to withdraw to the privacy of your own room and communicate with home whenever you feel like it, or when you are reacting to your own emotions. This will create a barrier in your relationships.

We cannot urge you strongly enough to make a plan before your departure and establish a day of the week when you will communicate with your family and friends at home; make sure to ask them to respect the Amicus Communication policy.

Amicus Philosophy #4: Words Matter

The things you write in social media affect people. Your words influence their opinion about your exchange long after your own feelings have changed.

Contacting home whenever you’re feeling frustrated, sad, or lonely can often result in misunderstanding. Keep your communication with your family at home positive and constructive. Of course it’s important to be honest, but remember it’s normal to experience many emotions when adjusting to your Amicus year. Make sure you are also being honest with your Host Family and Amicus Mentor so they can help you. But they can’t help you if they don’t know what is going on in your head and heart.

Social Media: Words of Wisdom

✦ THINK FIRST before posting. Be respectful and considerate when posting anything related to Amicus, your host family, or school.

✦ NEVER post anything which could be dangerous to your host family or you, such as specific personal details about you or your host family.

✦ Be TRUTHFUL with your posts.

✦ NEVER post anything that infringes on copyright laws, such as pirated music, films or images.

✦ NEVER post offensive photos and USE only appropriate language.

✦ REPRESENT your family, your nation and Amicus well. Your posts influence what others think about you and your country.

Amicus Philosophy #5: “Comparison is the Thief of Joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Social networking with other exchange students can sometimes result in an unhealthy comparison of exchange experiences, which can then lead to complaining, and create discontentment. The world of negativity is not a fun place to be for anyone. Be very careful not to let chatting turn into a whining session about your Host Family, new friends, new school, the US, or your local Amicus Mentor. While we know that Amicus student What’s App group chats can be fun and even encouraging, we ask you keep them to a minimum or even refrain from using them.

Amicus Fun Idea: Blogging or Vlogging can be a great way to share your Amicus story. Keep all of these guidelines and philosophies in mind when posting please!

Amicus Philosophy #6 ...You’re Never Alone!

Remember, your Host Family and Amicus Mentor are your first and best sources of support. Always talk to your Host Family when you don’t understand a rule or a decision or any challenge you are experiencing. Be careful to discuss it in a respectful manner and do it at the appropriate time. You can always call your Amicus Mentor and ask for their guidance and help with communication.

Having a spirit of learning will determine how you experience your exchange year! There’ll be some things that you’ll like and some things you won’t like. The issue is rarely one of right versus wrong - it is often simply cultural differences.

A Final Word

From our years of experience, if you use the tools of technology and communication wisely and with a positive attitude, you will connect well with your Host family and Friends and have the most amazing year!

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