Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home stay = Bad stay

In the effort to get their kids to master English, parents from Asia send them to the US, Canada and Australia for home stays. This, in my opinion, is a terrible, terrible idea.

A few student experiences we have personally witnessed.
  • Sandy had a student in Japan who had stayed in America for a year. He told his friends of his sex and marijuana exploits. He was cool, mixed up, and no longer fit into Japanese society. 
  • Last year a girl returned to my school after living abroad for a year.  She told me how she just didn't fit in and wanted to leave the country again...she is now studying in Australia.  
  • Another student said the same thing and is now studying abroad also. 
  • I have boys in my school who are really, really good kids. I really like them a lot, but the transition back into Korean society has been difficult for them too.

Now there is a story in the Canadian press about a study done on East Asian kids who have home stays in Vancouver, BC. It says:
Compared to immigrant or Canadian-born East Asian teens, they found that homestay students were twice as likely to be sexually active, and 23 per cent of homestay girls reported sexual abuse compared to nine per cent of their female peers.
Home stay students were also two to six times more likely to report using cocaine, half skipped school in the month before the survey — compared to a quarter of peers — and 20 per cent were smokers compared to five to nine per cent of peers.

The study says that most programs require hosts to not discuss health or sex matters.  Schools are responsible for the kids until the bell rings...3 pm. Immigration is not responsible for the kids behavior.  In short, nobody is responsible for the kids and they are finding their own way.

I think that often times the kids who participate in these programs are ones who want more freedom and may not completely fit into their current culture. These are precisely the kids who need more guidance instead of no guidance.

I think that spending a month or two in a homestay could be beneficial to teach the kids about another culture and improve their English, but these year (or more) away programs are dangerous. Parents, who are trying to help their children are making a big mistake.It is a shame.

No comments: