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 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • If I take school age children, where can they go to school? 
    • That depends on the country.  Some countries will not allow foreign students to enroll in their public schools because the parents have not paid local taxes.  In other countries, that may not be the case and foreign students may be allowed to attend public school.  It is imperative that you thoroughly investigate what the restrictions are for the country where you will be teaching before you get on the plane.  It is also critical that you make all school arrangements before you leave the United States.  You do not want to show up with one set of expectations about sending your child to school and find out that it is not possible to send him/her there simply because you did not do your homework.  You can contact the local consulate or embassy for that country.  They have an Education section that can inform you of how the educational system works in that country.  A safe option would be to find a private school willing to take your child (children) for a short period of time.  Private schools can range in price, but if you do your homework, you may find an affordable option.  In fact, you may find that a private school is more affordable than you expect, making it an affordable option for 12 weeks.  The AIFS program is not responsible for looking into these options nor paying for any educational costs for the children of faculty teaching in the program.  Another point to keep in mind is that just like you would not bring your children to your classroom at Mt. SAC all semester long, you should not plan on taking your children to the school location to sit in the classroom if you teach abroad.  Children can participate in the activities but should not be a permanent attendee in the classroom.

 

  • What is transportation (airfare, day-to-day transportation) like? 
    • Transportation will vary from city to city.  Some cities have extensive metro lines while other cities rely more on local buses and electric cars.  The program will provide faculty with a pass that can be used on local transportation to pay for trips to and from school for the duration of the program, but any additional costs must be covered by the faculty member.  Family members of the faculty do not get their own card issued, but those can be purchased separately at the local transportation hub.  Airfare will also vary based on geography.  The program will only cover the costs of flying to and from the host country.  Any additional travel expenses must be covered by the faculty member.

 

  • What kind of teaching schedule can I expect to have? 
    • You will most likely be teaching all preps in order to provide students with a wide variety of courses.  The weekly schedule is likely to change depending on the local program and its needs, but it is fair to expect to teach each class twice a week and to meet for the appropriate number of hours in order to meet the unit requirements.  Office hours are not required.  You can decide if you would like to schedule formal office hours or if you will just meet with students on an as needed basis.  Several study abroad programs adopted a very flexible schedule in order to maximize the number of 4 day weekends possible to give students more time to travel on the weekend.  It is really important that you understand exactly how your schedule will work as early as possible because that will have an impact on how you design your course schedule.  

 

  • What kind of support can I expect from the host institution? 
    • The host institution will create your courses and schedule.  They will register the students.  They will order the books.  They will set you up with a Canvas account and email account for their institution as long as you ask for it in advance.  However, you are responsible for following up with each department to make sure that they followed through on your needs.  For example, if you order books through the campus bookstore, you should call several weeks before the final meeting with students to make sure those books have been ordered and are available for purchase on that last meeting before the students leave for their trip.  Finding out the books are not available on that last day can cause a great deal of chaos.

 

  • What kind of problems do students experience? 
    • The most common problem students experience is roommates not getting along for a host of reasons that range from lack of consideration to making too much noise to eating food someone else purchased to breaking the rules (such as having overnight guests).  Some other problems are financial, such as overspending and running out of money or getting robbed.  Other problems are emotional such as depression, anxiety, self-imposed isolation, unwillingness to participate with others, and apathy.  Students may also come to the program with mental challenges such as manic-depression or a bipolar diagnosis or suicidal thoughts.  Students also experience medical problems such as stomach ailments, flu symptoms, ear infections, and more serious problems that require surgery.  

 

  • What is my role in addressing these problems? 
    • As a faculty member, you can help students by listening to their problems and offering suggestions when appropriate, such as with roommate conflicts.  You can even offer to intervene by speaking to the people involved to try to come to a resolution.  However, as you are not an expert in other areas, such as with mental, emotional, or medical problems, in those cases, you should refer the students to a local professional to address their problem.  The local AIFS staff should be notified of all problems because they will have the resources to address them.  They will be able to send the student to see a doctor or counselor if the problem needs to be dealt with on a more professional, and possibly long-term, level.

 

  • What can I expect from AIFS staff? 
    • The local AIFS staff members want the students as well as the faculty to have the best experience possible.  These staff members are helpful and friendly.  They are there to support you so that you can succeed in teaching the students.  Whatever your needs are, you should communicate them to the staff.  More often than not, they are able to meet those needs.  In a few instances, they may not be able to help you, but it is not from lack of trying.  They are also fluent in the local language, so if you need a translator, they can help you communicate with local people.  If you give them sufficient notice (several weeks before the semester begins), they can help you set up speakers to visit your classroom and organize field trips (which may include contacting experts, renting buses, reserving hotels, and making payments through the program to local vendors).  They are also very helpful when you are planning your own trips.  They have many wonderful suggestions and contacts to ensure that you have a good time when you venture out on your own.