Frequently Asked Questions by High Schools
What should I know about ERDT and SHARE!? Established in 1979, Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) has over twenty years experience promoting cross-cultural exchange. Our SHARE! High School Exchange Program (one of several ERDT programs) is well-respected in the exchange community (overseas agents, host families and coordinators) specifically for our personal approach to student exchange. We are a medium-sized organization—large enough to provide stability and variety but small enough to maintain a personal touch. Being as selective as we are, we can maintain a family-like atmosphere that extends to our field staff, host families, and exchange students. Visit our About ERDT page for more info.
What do we do if there is a problem with our student – academic, behavior, language, or otherwise? Contact your EPC, who will discuss the options with you. Behavioral or academic probation is often used in these cases. If tutoring is needed, the students’ natural parents will bear this cost. If a student’s English is too poor to continue at your school, SHARE! will repatriate the student upon receipt of a written dismissal notice from the school.
What is the role of an Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC)? The EPC is intimately involved with many of the details that surround this cross-cultural home stay experience. Coordinators help match families with incoming students. They also communicate with local schools to make preparations for the visiting student’s arrival. During the school year, the EPC has regular contact with students, families and high schools, providing guidance and support to help insure that the experience is going as smoothly as possible. SHARE! EPCs are independent contractors who receive a placement documentation fee at the time of placement, and are further compensated monthly on a per-student basis.
How much contact is the EPC required to have with our school? The EPC is required to contact the school 4 times a year to conduct Monthly Progress Reports. We ask you to kindly please be patient with these calls, however routine they may seem. The Monthly Progress Reports go to the students’ parents, to give them an idea of how their child is doing. If your school does not have time for these 4 phone calls, please tell the EPC so that he/she can get permission to omit the school information for those month’s reports.
Do exchange students need to be enrolled in a specific grade level? Italian, Serbian and Montenegrin students must be enrolled as seniors. (This is stated on the "High School Authorization To Enroll" form.) All other students may be enrolled in any grade level. Some schools choose to enroll students in the same grade level as their U.S. classmates of the same age; other schools choose to enroll all exchange students as seniors, for example, so that they may experience senior-year festivities. Aside from Italian, Serbian and Montenegrin students, SHARE! students are expected to accept their assigned grade level without complaint.
Are there any class requirements for exchange students? SHARE! prefers that students take American History and/or English, and that at least 2/3 of their classes be academic in nature. Many students have specific classes that they must take to meet academic requirements in their home country. It is the student's responsibility to enroll in these classes while in the U.S.; however, if your school does not offer the required classes, the student must choose other classes without complaint.
What academic standards are SHARE! students held to? Students must maintain a “C” (2.0) average, with no failing grades (F’s). Students who do not follow this rule will be put on academic probation until their grades improve. If their grades do not improve, the student may be repatriated.
Do we need to allow the student to graduate / get a diploma / play sports? No. Students are told that they must accept the school’s decision with regards to diplomas, graduation, and playing sports. If a student is lobbying your school to change this decision, contact the student’s Exchange Program Coordinator, who will take disciplinary action.
May a SHARE! student take Driver’s Education? No. It is against SHARE! rules for a student to drive any motorized vehicle in the U.S., including their host family’s car or a Driver’s Education car.
Culture shock... what should we expect? How should we deal with it? Remember – culture shock is the normal reaction to the stress & confusion of trying to adapt to living in a foreign culture. SHARE! provides students with a guide that explains some of the stages of cultural adjustment and helps them to recognize and react to these stages. Download “’Why Do I Feel Like This?’ All About The Adjustment Cycle: A Guide For Students.” If a student reports or displays signs of depression, major mood swings or thoughts of suicide, contact the EPC immediately.
Do we get a chance to evaluate the SHARE! program? Yes. We send out two sets of evaluations during the year - one shortly after the student arrives and another just before the student departs. The evaluations go to the students, host families and high schools. We review all evaluations as they come in and use them to continuously improve our program.
Our student's application is missing some academic transcript paperwork or medical paperwork. How can we get copies? Contact the student's EPC to get copies of this paperwork. If you cannot reach the EPC and need the paperwork urgently, you may contact the SHARE! National Office.
What do we do if we receive a report that the student is a victim or perpetrator of abuse? Follow your legal reporting requirements, then contact the EPC. He/she has received the Stewards of Children training, which teaches adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child abuse. Alternately, you may contact the SHARE! National Office.
Our student’s cultural “norms,” (for example, hygiene, dress, behavior, or communication style) make the teachers and/or other students uncomfortable. But since the student is really doing nothing wrong, how do we deal with this? The purpose of the SHARE! program is to teach students how people in the U.S. live, and how they can adapt to that way of living. Approach the issue with honesty and explain that if the student were to work on changing this aspect of themselves, they could get a better feeling for U.S. culture. And remember, humor can help smooth over what could be a difficult conversation! Certainly contact your EPC if you need assistance or if the student does not change this behavior.
May we find a family to host a student with particular athletic ability, to help our sports programs become better? No. This is strictly against the rules of CSIET, the governing body of exchange student programs. It is probably also against your state and/or local high school athletic association’s rules. (For this reason, school school coaches are not allowed to host students who play their sport).
Is there a question you think we missed? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks!