The 2015 Mid Year Orientation was a successful and positive experience for all staff, students and local coordinators who participated. In addition to exploring Disney Parks, students greatly enjoyed meeting other exchange students from all over the world. Groups were randomly divided, which created a very diverse group of students from different countries, host communities and genders. Students, who otherwise would have never had the chance to meet, became friends over the weekend.
The students showed a great amount of respect and appreciation for their peers, AYA staff and local coordinators.
During the AYA workshops, students engaged in discussions about stereotypes, personal challenges, achieving goals, and adjusting expectations. The discussions were constructive and allowed students to share their own experience while learning from one another. Each discussion topic was coupled with an activity for students to further their understanding of the topic.
Students found the AYA and Disney workshops to be interesting, valuable, educational and fun. “Leadership Strategies” introduced students to the concept that leadership affects every aspect of business and learned that everyone has the opportunity to exhibit leadership traits and behaviors. Students explored the definition and meaning of culture in the “Introduction to Global Citizenship” workshop as they moved through different countries in Epcot. They learned how an individual’s background affects their perception and receptivity of differing cultural ideas and ways of life.
AYA also hosted the 2nd annual Mid Year Orientation Talent show! Individuals and groups took part to showcase their talents on Saturday evening, and acts included singing, dancing, acting, and stand-up comedy. These students entertained us all with their impressive talents, bringing the audience to both tears and laughter.
We wrapped up with a farewell party, allowing students to spend time with one another. The positive energy in the room was palpable; students were appreciative of the experience, but also sad that it was soon to be over. Many remarked that it was one of the best weekends of their lives!
Bringing all of our FLEX and YES students together for the weekend, giving us the opportunity to get to know them better, is always an incredible experience for us. AYA FLEX and YES students never cease to amaze us with their appreciation, kindness, respectful nature and creative thinking.
Thank you to all AYA staff and Local Coordinators who made this weekend a successful and unforgettable experience!
To find out more about these unique programs and how to host a FLEX or YES student, visit our website.