We can’t believe your NWSE program is coming to a close soon! Hopefully, you are already thinking about getting ready for your return home. With all the feelings of anticipation, sadness, and excitement piling up, things are likely getting a little stressful. Don’t worry! This is completely normal and ok! These feelings should tell you how close you have become to your host family and friends, and how deeply meaningful the past year has been.
So, now what? We put together a list of resources, information, and recommendations to help you navigate these last days of your exchange. As always, please reach out to your Area Coordinator or Program Coordinator at the NWSE Headquarters with any questions.
Note: During the coronavirus situation and stay-at-home order not everything on the list may be possible. Please adapt as needed based on your situation.
Wrapping up with school
- Return any school materials (books, laptops, sports equipment, etc.)
- Pay any outstanding school fees or fines
- Request a copy of your final school transcript (please send NWSE a copy, too!)
- If applicable to you: convalidate your transcripts
- Take one final selfie in front of your school for memories
Note: If returns and payments are not possible due to current school closures, please make arrangements with your host family accordingly
Saying Goodbye to your Host Family and Friends
- Write good-bye letters or cards. Express your appreciation for what this exchange has meant to you. (Pro tip: Consider giving a small farewell gift to favorite people)
- Exchange contact information and set-up future occasions for chats, video calls, etc.
- Plan activities with your host family
- Visit the sites in your community that were special to you
- Create a list of the things you want to do before you leave
- Document your “farewell days” with videos and photos (and send them to NWSE!)
Preparing for your Day of Departure
- Return borrowed items to your host family and reimburse them for any money you borrowed (e.g. travels, phone, etc).
- Organize and pack your belongings. Check the baggage limits for your airline. If necessary, mail some of your belongings home.
- Double-check that you have these documents handy while traveling: passport (incl. J-1 visa) and DS-2019 form
- Close your U.S. bank account if you opened one
Wrapping up with NWSE
- You will soon receive an email for your NWSE end-of-program evaluation
- Please complete it to receive your official NWSE “Certificate of Completion” (useful as documentation of your successful exchange or as a great souvenir to hang on your bedroom wall … or in your (future) office)
Of course, we know you are super excited to be returning back home! However, you may also experience some unexpected emotions, called “Reverse Culture Shock”. Read our blog article to learn about this phenomenon and helpful tips to handle it.
You are now an NWSE Alum! Get connected with fellow exchange Alumni from 33-Years of NWSE history, and stay in touch with your new friends and NWSE. NWSE Alumni are a fantastic source of personal, academic, and professional connections in your future.
Stay in touch! We wish you safe travels home and the best success and enjoyment on your next adventures!
Your NWSE Team