FLEX FAQ for Students – English

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EXPECTATIONS

 

What will be expected of me while I am in the FLEX program?
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You will be expected to do your best to fulfill the five goals of the FLEX program:
1) Develop an understanding of important aspects of American society, including concepts such as volunteerism, respect for the rule of law, etc.
2) Show a willingness and a commitment to serve as an agent for change in your country when you return home.
3) Develop an appreciation for American culture.
4) Interact with Americans and generate enduring ties.
5) Teach Americans about the culture of your home country.

 

HOST FAMILIES

 

Do I get to choose where I will live and who my host family will be?
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No. Participants in the program do not get to select their host family or host site. Although placements are varied, many students will spend the year living in a small town or rural area. We encourage participants to have an open mind about their future host family and school. Not all host families will have children or be in central urban areas. However they do undergo a selection process and are evaluated on their ability to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment.

 

SCHOOLS IN THE US

 

Will I receive a diploma for schooling in the US?
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Each school has its own policies regarding exchange students. The school officials will determine to which grade level your child will be assigned. Even if you are in the 12th year in an American school, the FLEX Program cannot guarantee that you will receive an American high school “diploma” (the graduation document). Many schools will give only a “Certificate of Attendance” to exchange students. Each school has the authority to decide which type of document is awarded. Neither the FLEX Program nor the Placement Organization can influence the school’s decision. It will be based on individual school, state, or local policy. You must accept the school’s decision.


How can I be sure I will receive credit in my local school for my school in the US?
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It is your responsibility to talk with the school officials in your country to ask about credit for attending school in the USA. Before your departure, talk with the headmaster or school director about what requirements you may have to meet. For example, the school at home may require a description of courses offered in the US. It is very difficult to get school documents once you have left a US school, so be sure you know the necessary papers to request from your American school while still in the US.


How will schools in the US be different from our schools?
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You may find school in the US very different from school in your country in several ways. American pre-university education is 12 years, not 9, 10, or 11. The secondary school you will attend will have only grades 7 to 12, or 9 to 12, rather than kindergarten to 9, 10, or 11, as you may have. It may have more students, offer a wider variety of classes and be more flexible because students are expected to choose some of their own classes. Students will be with different groups of students in different courses throughout the day. You may also feel the US school is less formal because of the teaching styles and class schedules. In American schools students from different backgrounds with different skills and abilities have the opportunity to grow up together and to learn from each other. This arrangement is more representative of society as a whole than would be a differentiated school system where students were stratified by their abilities.

In the same school there might be three or four choices of English, math, science, or history classes. The most advanced students might be in a “gifted and talented” series of classes or would choose “advanced placement” classes that provide preparation for university. Students not planning to continue their studies might take more practical classes in the academic fields while also studying courses in business, trade and industrial education, technology or other courses leading to jobs immediately after secondary school.

In addition to academic and specific trade classes, there will be many other classes offered. Students might choose to take an art studio class, music theory, or journalism, where the class produces a school newspaper. These classes are called electives and provide students an opportunity to develop special skills and to meet other students with different interests and goals.

You will have a counselor to help him or her with any school problems, and to help him/her select classes that are academically challenging as well as take advantage of elective courses he or she might not be able to take at home.


What school documents should I take?
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It will be helpful to take a copy of your transcripts with you as well as a copy of your marks from the end of the year. It also may be helpful for you to take a copy of the content of each course studied and how many hours a week they were studied.

 

What are the benefits of attending school in the US?
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Going to school in the US is a great opportunity to a participate in a different approach to education. You will have the chance to study new subjects, possibly in a very new way. You will improve your English and learn a variety of other skills, depending on the course you choose to take.

 

VISA AND PASSPORT

 

Can I stay in the US after the FLEX Program is over?
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No. The visa you receive is not a tourist visa; it is valid only while you are on the FLEX Program and cannot be extended or changed. The visa requires you to return to your country at the end of the exchange program. Students will not be allowed to remain in the US after their assigned return travel date.

 

May I work in the US while I am there?
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No, you may not have an official job while you are in the US. Your visa is an academic exchange visa only. You are NOT permitted to have a job while you are in the US. However, some participants earn extra money by babysitting or performing chores around their neighborhood.


Who will arrange my passport and visa?

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American Councils will provide a visa for you. You are responsible for obtaining an international passport. If you have problems doing so, please contact our office.