That looks like it's going to be awesome! I have tried a few basketweave items, but always got the pattern messed up, so kudos to you!
About the exchange thing, we've had some experience. Our son, 18, spent a month in Japan this summer, and the first few days he was pretty homesick. For some reason, the exchange organization discouraged contact, "We find that it's better if they focus on the new environment and keep busy."
In our son's case, we had the host family's phone number, so we called him anyway. They didn't seem to mind (only the grandfather spoke much English, though), and our son was buoyed up by hearing from us. He went on to thoroughly enjoy his stay and can't wait to go back. I'm not sure why these organizations have such a policy.