CREATING WELCOMING ENVIRONMENTS FOR STUDENTS

Welcoming Students at the Airport
The NSISP strongly believes first impressions of Nova Scotia are critical in making a smooth transition for international students. Therefore, a strong emphasis is placed on welcoming students to Nova Scotia. The NSISP employs airport greeters to meet students at the airport with NSISP signage written in a variety of languages. Welcome signs with students’ names are used to identify students and host families.

Each school board is encouraged to have as many staff present at the airport during arrivals as possible. It would be ideal if each student could be met by their host families, Homestay Coordinator, and Director. This is not always realistic but school boards are expected to have
representatives to welcome students.

Families are encouraged to meet their students at the airport and are asked to indicate their presence to the airport greeters before taking their student from the airport. Airport greeter contact information is available to Homestay Coordinators during arrival periods. Remember to have access to all contact information during this hectic period of airport arrivals. In situations where students are on delayed flights, NSISP airport greeters will try to contact coordinators and host families to indicate new arrival information as it becomes available.

Reminder: Pass along the NSISP airport greeter contact information to your host families as well. In situations where host families are delayed by traffic, weather, and accidents they are able to alert the greeters and indicate their arrival time. This allows incoming students to see the delay of their host family is expected and not have them feeling they have been forgotten by their new family.

International students arriving at the airport destined for further distances, such as those in Tri-County Regional School Boards and Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Boards, often take buses or shuttles to their final destination. Sometimes this includes spending a night chaperoned at the airport hotel. In these cases, students are given advance warning before their arrival and receive, upon arrival, an information
sheet indicating the details of their transfer. In cases where students are arriving in this situation, send as
many details about their transfer time, distance, location, and pickup person as possible to reduce
student anxiety upon arrival.

Remind host families to encourage students to contact their natural parents as soon as possible upon their arrival in Nova Scotia. The most common phone call in the NSISP office at the start of each semester is from worried parents who haven’t been contacted by their son or daughter.

Reminder: It is the responsibility of agents to notify the program about student arrival and departure. In many situations, the student and the student’s families are making private arrangements. Whenever arrival or departure information is given to a Homestay Coordinator they should send this information directly to their school board contact to input into the database.

Welcome Signs
The NSISP has created a template for welcome signs at the airport. Give all host families a welcome sign for meeting their student at the airport or bus station. Families are encouraged to make their own signs for their students as well.

Welcome Bags
All new students arriving in the Nova Scotia International Student Program receive a welcome gift from the program. This includes a NSISP toque, luggage tag, and backpack with the NSISP logo. Packing things inside this bag is a nice way to welcome a student to their new area.
Ideas of what could be packed inside the welcome bag include:

  • tourism materials, maps, etc. to help them become familiar with the area
  • school information as available
  • a bottle of water, granola bar, or local candy
  • information on the orientation session and any schedules you have available
  • contact information for their Homestay Coordinator/business card
  • promotional materials from local businesses including gift certificates
  • municipality pins, welcome from town
  • welcome letter from Superintendent, school board gift
  • taxi company business cards/contact information
  • extra-curricular ideas on what to do in the area (ex. YMCA brochure, gym flyer)

Donation Letter
In some areas, Homestay Coordinators ask local businesses to donate materials for incoming students. Local businesses are very aware of the impact of these students on their businesses and are happy to supply promotional materials, discount cards, and even samples or gifts to be added to the welcome bags. As businesses can use the donations for tax purposes board are encouraged to give them a donation
letter. A copy of the donation letter can be found in the HSC section of the website.

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