“You have to be the one to make the change,” was the sage advice offered by Counselor for Public Affairs of the US Embassy to YES 2015 Returnees at a Reorientation Camp and Parents Briefing recently.
Frank Whitaker said that after their six-month experience of life in the United States, returnees will find the adjustment back into their lives in Malaysia a challenging one but they must be the ones to make the change and not expect their families or friends to do so.
“Your life is here and now so live in the present. Before you left for the US, I told you that when in America, don’t live in Malaysia. Now that you are back, don’t dwell on the US and live your life as if you were there but instead, concentrate on the here and now,” urged Frank who is himself a returnee from the Philippines.
Frank also advised parents to give their children time and space to adjust to life back home. “You gave them the wings to fly, you have raised them well but now you must be patient with them as they deal with the differences in cultural norms and values,” he said.
Earlier, parents were briefed by National Director Atty Sulaiman on what to expect during the adjustment period of the returnees upon their re-entry into Malaysian life. Chairperson Khalilah Talha wrapped up the session by inviting parents to continue to be part of the AFS Journey by assisting in Chapter activities and fund-raising, becoming volunteers and hosting AFS students.