Take some time to study Massachusetts. Gather some facts about our state and notify the camp director or your host family of things you would like to do or places you would like to see:
- Capital (Boston)
- Bordering States
To obtain this information, consult links above, or search the internet for information about our Commonwealth.
If you have the chance, communicate with someone who has lived or traveled here, including former exchange visitors. Visit our FaceBook group(MD 33 YCE) to connect with others who have attended our camp! The orientation provided by your Lions sponsors will also give you useful knowledge to make your visit a success.
Correspondence With Your Host Family
You will have included a letter of introduction to your prospective host family in your application. However, once you have received their contact information, write (or email) them again directly. Tell about your hobbies, ambitions, and home life. The more your host family knows about you before you arrive, the better they will be able to prepare for your stay.
See your dentist before you depart. If you wear glasses, carry along an extra pair or have your doctor write out your prescription. If you are taking prescription drugs, carry them in clearly marked bottles and bring the prescription with you in case a customs officer asks to see it.
If you have any special medical needs, be sure to tell your sponsoring Lions Club about them. As a precaution for an emergency, carry an identification card with you, stating medical conditions, special medications you may need, allergies, and blood type.
When traveling abroad, never underestimate the importance of insurance. Before you leave home you should purchase adequate medical, life, personal property, and liability insurance to cover the entire duration of the exchange visit. You should check to make sure that the insurance you have is recognized and accepted in the USA.
Passports and Visas
To enter into and return from the US, you will need a passport. As processing a passport will take time, be sure to make an application well in advance of your departure date. To apply for a passport you will need proof of citizenship, several recent identical photographs of yourself, identification, and possibly other documents. When traveling, always carry your passport with you and keep it in a safe place. Loss of a passport is a serious matter and should be reported immediately.
In addition to a passport, you may need a visa – official permission to visit the US granted by the US. Visa requirements vary considerably, so check with the US embassy or consulate in your country. Since photos are usually required for visas, you should order extras when getting your passport pictures. The US embassy or consulate can tell you if a tourist card is required to enter the US.
The adage, “Bring half the clothes and twice the money,” usually holds true when deciding what you will bring on your trip. The average temperature in Massachusetts during July and August ranges between 64 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (17 and 27 degrees Celsius). Temperatures can easily climb into the 90’s (more than 32 degrees Celsius).
Photographs of your family, house, school, and community can tell your host family a great deal about your home culture. They may come in handy should you be invited by the host Lions Club to give a presentation about your country.
The best way to carry money when abroad is in the form of traveler’s checks. You should obtain them from a company that is recognized and has branch offices in the US. Before converting your money to dollars ($), be sure to shop around for rates. Not only do rates fluctuate, but hotels and restaurants usually have less favorable rates than banks, for example. Do not exchange more money than you need, since you pay a commission each time you exchange. When you exchange money, be sure to keep a copy of the receipt recording the transaction, as you may need it to convert back any local currency you may have left over at the end of your trip.
You should bring a small gift for your host family as an expression of appreciation for their hospitality. Something characteristic of your country is appropriate. For the host Lions Club, your sponsoring Lions Club may provide you with bannerettes or other small gifts. Whatever gifts you bring, they need not be expensive: It is the thought that counts, not the price tag.
Once plans are made, you should adhere rigorously to them. Last minute changes can disrupt the schedules of many people. If you have an emergency that will affect your travel plans, you must inform your Lions Youth Exchange officer immediately.