The International Student Program at your school (whether real or imagined) is a mysterious anomaly in your community. It’s participants are part of your campus and family, yet at the end of the day they seemingly go the way of powered down devices and childhood fantasies where teachers sleep in their classroom closets. Most people don’t think about where the “Asian kids” go or what they’re doing when the campus goes dormant until tomorrow. When a teacher or administrator or student can go home to their family and focus on their lives outside of school without worry, this is good.
Not everyone is tasked with being concerned with the daily after-school fate of international students. For those who are responsible for them and the success of their international program, outsourcing international student care to a reputable, responsible, and accountable agency is an absolute must. The major obstacle to ensuring that this necessity doesn’t become a nightmarish reality is that most schools don’t have the resources or reach to do international student service agency vetting themselves, nor can they trust a process equivalent to Amazon customer reviews.
The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) is a private, non-profit organization that does the heavy lifting of vetting international student service and homestay agencies in the US. Formed in 1984 in response to a glaring absence of standards for care providers, they’ve built upon and stayed abreast of State Department regulations for short and long term student exchange and visitor programs. They have essentially become the watchdog and accountability partner for everything international student service related. Agencies who are “listed” with CSIET have gone through a rigorous application process to ensure they have proper structure and function, and are audited yearly to maintain accountability to the CSIET model.
The headings of their primary inbound document to which international student service agencies must adhere are as follows:
- Educational Perspective (prime directive)
- Organizational Profile (proper corporate structure and student processing)
- Financial Responsibility (solvency and transparency)
- Promotion (ethical host family recruitment)
- Student Selection (ethical academic and athletic recruitment) and Orientation (training for both students and host families)
- Homestay Qualifications/Student Placement (application and vetting of host families)
- Operations (record keeping and employee qualifications)
- Student Health Insurance
- Gov. Regulations (being aligned with state and federal laws)
CSIET exists so you, the school, can rest easy at night. They ensure that everyone caring for your international students knows their role and performs their tasks well. This promotes an environment of trust in your community which allows everyone to function efficiently and without worry. This isn’t to suggest that there won’t ever be problems with your international students. Caring for teenagers can be fraught with a multitude of maturation challenges. Choosing an agency partner who will provide them guidance through the trying times of teen growth should be your first step in building your international student program. Turn to CSIET for help in finding a “listed” agency qualified and inspired by your shared values and professional standards.