Problem Encounter, Problem Sovled!

NRCSA is here to help! While we strive to make sure that all of our participants have a seamless experience - the unknown can always happen, and NRCSA is with you all the way through your program, to help you resolve the unknowns.  Maybe it's a missed flight or lost bag. Maybe it's a bit of culture shock on the first day. Or maybe it's something more serious....

Below are some examples of assistance NRCSA has provided to help our participants resolve issues while abroad (please note that names have been changed to ensure the privacy of our participants):

Lisa was a beginner in Spanish and had never traveled abroad. The morning after she arrived in Spain she was walking in the neighborhood near her lodging and was startled by a number of men shouting at her. They continued for the entire block as she passed by and Lisa began to feel extremely uncomfortable and nervous, as she had never experienced this before. She got to school and did not mention anything. Later that day she was scared to walk back home and posted a message online that she felt the city was not safe. She considered returning to the US.

NRCSA staff, thousands of miles away, became aware of the posting online and immediately called her. After some discussion with Lisa, our staff member realized what had happened. The men on the street had been saying things like 'que guapa' and 'hola reina' – things that Lisa did not understand in Spanish. We explained to her that, while perhaps she did not appreciate being told she was attractive by people she did not know, it was not uncommon in Spain for this to happen.

The NRCSA coordinator that had spoken with Lisa also called the host family and the academic coordinator at the school and explained what had happened. We also requested that they speak with Lisa and make sure she was comfortable walking around, understood that it was not uncommon, but that she should not feel in danger in that situation. We also suggested that Lisa be offered the option of being accompanied while walking to and from school, and gave her other routes as well. Once she understood what had happened, why and how to best deal with it, Lisa felt much better. This was one of many cultural differences Lisa would come to learn about during the next 2 months.

She finished her program with a deeper understanding of Spain, Spanish and has since decided to return in a year to stay longer!

Nora had thought she was an intermediate speaker of French prior to beginning her NRCSA program.  She got good grades at school in French and felt that she could read and understand almost everything she read.    After her first day in Paris she realized that she had been placed in the wrong level. The teacher started speaking all in French right from the start and there was no English allowed in the classroom!   Nora was concerned that she could not understand as much as her classmates could and that she would fall behind.  Since she was receiving academic credit for her studies in Paris, she wanted to be sure that everything went smoothly.

NRCSA staff checked in with Nora after her first day of classes and suggested that she be reevaluated.  She agreed.

Nora spoke with the academic coordinator and asked to be reassessed. After a number of exercises, including both an additional oral and written evaluation, Nora was placed at the pre-intermediate level. She felt like she was in the right place and advanced quickly with her French.  She told us that if she had not let us know right away, it would have been a challenge to complete the program.  We are so happy we addressed it early.  Most issues can be resolved within a day or two!  Nora finished her NRCSA program in Paris and is currently studying with us in Montreal.

David was half way through his program in China when he started having stomach pains. He mentioned this to his host family and they promptly called the lodging coordinator. After speaking with David, the coordinator arranged for him to go and see a doctor. A staff member at school accompanied David to the appointment in case there was a need for translation and to support him.

After a series of tests, it was determined that David had a simple case of 'stomach bug' but that they felt it wise to treat him. After two days of rest and medicine (closely monitored by his host mother) David was much better and back in class. His NRCSA insurance helped with the doctor and pharmacy costs and was faster to apply than his regular insurance.

David said that the care and attention he received in China was incredible and that he felt even closer to his hosts since they had taken such good care of him. A friend of his later registered with NRCSA to go to China and requested the same homestay!

Thomas did not want to offend his host family by saying 'no' when they kept serving him more food at dinner. He had read enough about the Italian culture to know that his hosts were sharing their food with him and wanted him to be happy. He ate almost everything on his plate at every meal, but they would then serve him another helping and he felt he had to eat that as well so as not to appear wasteful. Soon began to feel uncomfortable. He knew he was overeating, but did not want to say or do anything to offend his hosts. To make matters worse, the food was outstanding!!

He emailed NRCSA and asked for help. We called the lodging coordinator and asked for her to speak with the family. We knew that Thomas did not want the family to feel that he did not like or appreciate the food so we simply told them to explain that Thomas was trying to watch his weight while in Italy and was trying to eat only one serving of their delicious food at each meal.

Thomas emailed us the very next day and said that the host family served him one plate and then asked if he was full. He said yes and that was it! He thanked us and then said he was going out for a stroll with the family to get some exercise.

When he returned to London he e-mailed us a copy of the host mother's lasagna recipe!!