When the U.S. shuts down the international student exchange program, a new life is on the move
A year ago this month, the United States sent its first international student, Sara Homestay, to the University of Pennsylvania for her senior year.
She was a sophomore and one of just a few students enrolled in the international program at the school.
“I felt like I had just lost my mom,” Homestray says.
“The whole experience was very overwhelming.”
Homestays mother had been in and out of the hospital and Homestayer had lost hope she would return to the United Kingdom.
After the international exchange program ended, the U and the U-S held an emergency meeting.
The U.K. has a relatively small population, but has the most stringent screening process in Europe, and the UK is one of the only European countries that allows students to transfer.
“It’s really hard for students to travel to the U.,” Homestayed says.
The program was the perfect opportunity to get some of her life back on track.
Theresa Gullie, a professor of international relations at the University at Buffalo, has seen many international students take advantage of the opportunity.
“You’ve got to do what’s best for your health, your wellbeing, your mental health, whatever that may be,” Gullies research director says.
Gulliams research shows that students who have access to the program get more support from their families.
For example, if a student is on a scholarship, she or he will have more support and less pressure to work for the program.
The UK also has a national health insurance program that can help with medical care, and there are a variety of other benefits, like support for the school’s students, housing and employment.
In the U., however, the exchange program is an opportunity for students with limited English skills to find their footing and get ahead in their education.
In an effort to better connect with students, Gullieds institute is helping students get a basic English language test, which will allow them to register to take the English language exam, the first step in obtaining a job.
In a year, the program will take up to 300,000 students.
“We think this is really an important time for international students in the U,” Gynestay says.
She hopes the exchange will be a way for students and their families to reconnect and move forward.
“This is a way that students and families can find each other again,” she says.
Homestayers family is also happy to have her back.
Sara’s mother, Sara, is studying in Canada, where she is currently working.
She wants to study English in the United Kingdoms and plans to go back there to finish her degree.
She says that after her mother, she is happy to go home.
“For me, it’s not really an adjustment at all, I’m not really a huge fan of it,” Homests mother says.
While she is excited to see her daughter, Sara will continue to have to work.
She has not had any work experience in Canada and will have to find a new job in order to get by.
She will need to apply for the job and her mother will have her apply for a job, too.
“If she doesn’t get it, she will be very upset, she’ll be very angry,” Sara Homests father says.
For her mother and the entire family, this is a big victory.
“She has a lot of hope,” Gylle says.
Sara Homstays parents have already begun the process of moving forward.
Sara is hoping that she will return to New York soon and will be able to finish up her English degree.
It will be difficult to return to her home country, but she hopes to find some friends who can help her find a job and move on with her life.
“At the end of the day, I think I’ll just keep going, I’ll keep going and see what happens,” Sara says.
A photo posted by Sara Homesty (@sara_homestay) on Aug 13, 2019 at 9:42am PDT