By on May 15th, 2017

How to Say Goodbye to International Students

By the time the day arrives when your international student has to leave for their home country, there’s a good chance you will have begun thinking of them much like your own children. Therefore, it will help a lot if you understand how to say your goodbyes.

While it’s never going to be easy, the following should help a bit with the process.

Ask Them What They’d Like to Do During Their Final Weeks

Your international student may make it very clear what they want to do with their final weeks in the U.S., but it’s a good idea to ask just in case. There may be some things they always wanted to do or try while here that they simply had not got to yet. Many will simply want to repeat one of their favorite activities.

Whatever the case, try to make time for as many of these outings as possible.

Take Lots of Pictures

You may have been doing this along the way, but just in case, this is a good reminder that you don’t want to look back and wish you had taken more pictures of your international student. Now’s the time to collect the types of photos you can later frame and keep around as a reminder.

Throw a Party in Their Honor

A “Goodbye” party is usually considered customary in these situations. It’ll be nice to celebrate the time you had with your international student. Make sure your guest list includes all their friends, coaches, favorite teachers, and anyone else they became close with, as well.

One really fun idea is to make it a surprise party. Just having everyone in the same restaurant or at your house will be enough of a thrill, but if you can keep it a secret from them until the last second, you’ll give them one last amazing memory.

Plan One Final Family Night

Your foreign exchange student and your family have spent a lot of time with each other. It’s probably a safe bet that much of that time was spent around a table eating. While the party is a fantastic idea, you should also plan one night where it’s just your family and your student.

The big difference is that, this time, the point is to remember how much fun you’ve all had together. While it will be an emotional dinner, it will mean a lot to your student (the rest of the family will probably appreciate it, too).

Note: you can always take your student out for this dinner and then have the surprise party waiting for them when they get back home.

Begin the Packing Process Early

The packing process may take a long time, so get started a week or so in advance. You don’t want to have to rush this or your student may forget something. Also, the sooner you’re done packing, the sooner you can focus on things that will be a lot more fun for everyone.

Say Your Goodbyes Before the Airport

When you take your student to the airport, there will definitely be a heartfelt and emotional goodbye. That being said, there will probably be a lot of other things going on, too. Everyone from the family may not be able to make it, as well. Therefore, make sure all the meaningful goodbyes are out of the way long before your student is at the gate.

As we mentioned before, it’s never going to be easy to say goodbye. It can be tough to even think about. However, it has to happen, so you might as well use the above advice to make it a bit easier on everyone.