Example of an Early Return (ER) Orientation Session
Discuss the Student's Feelings and Emotions
Talk about what the student is feeling and the stress involved in being required to go home early. Getting the student open up and start to talk about feelings and emotions sets the tone for the rest of the session.
Have closure on the issue(s) that caused the ER
Does the student understand the reasons for and the process used to decide an ER was necessary?
Discuss the risk.
- The risk to the student, generally safety
- The risk to the organization if rules exist and are not enforced, i.e. law suits, DoS sanctions
- The risk to other participants if they believe that AFS does not enforce the rules
What has the student learned from the experience
- Concerning the student's response to the problem related to the ER. How could the problem have been handled differently? What would the student do the next time a similar issue arises?
- What else has the student learned? Go over the "AFS Learning Objectives" and discuss what learning and benefits the student has gained from the experience.
- How will this learning be applied when the student returns home?
- Use the Pre-Return/End-of-Stay Orientation materials, Section 1. option 1 the Shield, found in the Pre-Return/End-of-Stay Orientation Handbook. It is a good exercise to reflect what has been learned during the experience. Also option 4 Packing the Suitcase is good, depending on the time available.
Getting ready for the return
- Saying good by, can be a problem about what to say to friends and others in the community concerning the reasons for the ER. Discuss this with the student.
- Go over "Things to Do Before I Leave" found in the Pre-Return/End-of-Stay Orientation Leader's Guide.
Discuss what the student will face when returning and how they will handle it
- This includes what the natural parents think, how will the student engage old friends and what happens at school? What else might the student do if they can not return to school for a while, next semester or next year?
- Also discuss how the student has changed as relates to the adjustments needed to fit in at home. This is more significant if the ER is in the second semester. The Pre-Return orientation topic, "Excerpts for Student Letters" has a number of viewpoints so something will likely resonate with the student.
Discuss the logistics of the last few days
- what the student will do before departure?
- the trip to the airport.
- the flight home.
- who will be there to receive the student?
Ask how the student feels after completing the session.