McGill wondered if the selection and training offered to both the student and the host families was acceptable so as to create a suitable living environment for both parties involved.
How would McGill respond to the current crises so as to create a spirit of collaboration and esteem in the future between the two schools, Palm Lakes University (PLU) and Mexican business school Instituto de Negocios Internacionales (INI) involved?
Were more rules needed to cater for housing and the host family selection?
What training did the host family need to go through so as to be able to accommodate the student?
What message did he need to pass on to Sarah? Was it wrong for her to have sent the letter to Jimenez herself?
Did the student adapt well to the different cultures or was she overwhelmed by the culture shock?
Symptoms and Causes of the problem
Lack of adequate training for host families.
The student was unable to adapt to the cross cultural differences between Mexico and the United States of America.
The application form used to apply for the international exchange program was not adequate for the student to state her expectations.
The selection for the host family was flawed.
Short term problem
The student is not able to enjoy their stay in the host family. This is because Sarah alienated herself from her host family also from her academic host Mr. Jimenez.
Long term problem
Because of the host family complication and the subsequent letter to Mr. Jimenez, Sarah may have severed the ties between the two learning institutions. This is because; McGill had highly recommended Sarah, who was the first exchange student to Jimenez. McGill had hoped that since Sarah was one of his model students, she would have helped to create exceptionally strong bonds between the two universities. This would have enabled more students from PLU’s international business leading to participate in the exchange between PLU and INI.
Decision facing McGill
McGill had to figure out how to deal with the letter that Sarah had sent to Jimenez. He had to act cautiously so as to not severe the newly established ties between the two institutions of higher learning.
CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM
One of the key causes of the problem was that the students’ application form was extremely shallow, and did not give the student a chance to describe their requests about the housing offered. The section on housing in the application form only asked if the student had any dietary requests, also if the student had any health complications which the host family should be made aware of. The university also did not offer any cultural training for the students before their departure to the host country. They offered a short procedure bulletin which only showed what the student should do in the case of exigencies. Such exigencies may include; illness and worldwide cross cultural maxims such as the moderate use of humor. This short bulletin did not offer advice of what the student should do in the case of a problem arising between her, the student, and the host family. This led to Sarah suffering through her stay in Mexico whereas if some training had been offered, she would have known how to adapt to her living situation or apply to get a new host family. Also, the university did not take adequate measures to find out if the host families had received enough training on how to host a foreign student. Also, the selection process for the host family was quite flawed, as it was mostly the friends of Mr. Jimenez who got a chance to host the students so, as to benefit from the stipends paid for hosting the student. This meant that the host family may not have possessed the required qualifications to host Sarah and make her stay in Mexico worth her while. The host family was displeased with the fact that Sarah was a vegetarian and did not take into account her dietary needs. Also, the host mother went did not keep to her word of taking Sarah to the airport during her departure but rather made Sarah make her own travel arrangements to the airport. There was also a misunderstanding between the host mother and Sarah in regards to the payment for the few hours Sarah spent in the house before her departure at 11 a.m. This can be explained with the use of Hofstede scores between Mexico and the United States.