A Guide to International Celebrations for Host Families
Celebration Guide for Hosting Families
There are certain annual events that nearly every country around the world celebrates, such as the arrival of the New Year (although there is more than one date attributed to this festivity, depending on country and culture). But most countries also celebrate a variety of holidays throughout the year that are linked to religion, history, honored persons, and more. Just look at the vast number of holidays celebrated in the U.S., from Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa to Memorial Day, President's Day, and Independence Day. And those are just a handful. So when you and your loved ones decide to become a host family, it's important to take the time to research the international celebrations your student or students might observe. Here are a few simple guidelines to follow.
Until you make the final arrangements for hosting a foreign exchange student, you might not know the nationality or religion of the student you'll be hosting. Of course, host families do have some say in where their students come from. So if you happen to speak some French or German, just for example, you might request a student from France or Germany. But if you're not particular about hosting foreign students, you may have very little time to accommodate your students and make them feel comfortable. At the beginning, the best thing you can do is to find out if the student comes from a religious family. This will give you an important piece of information to get started.
Host Families Must Do Research
From there, you can start searching for celebrations related to both the student's country of origin and the religion the student practices. You should know that even within a religious group, celebrations can differ by country or region. However, some research should set you straight and give you clues as to what kinds of dishes are prepared, how homes are decorated, and what activities are common to celebrations in specific regions. And of course, your student should be able to help you out by explaining their customs and sharing which holidays they celebrate at home.
Most students aren't necessarily looking to find a host family that shares all of their beliefs, but a little effort could go a long way towards making the international student in your home feel less homesick, especially during times when they would normally celebrate with their own family. So when you decide to host foreign exchange students at AmeriStudent, spend some time researching the international holidays that your ward might observe to ensure that the student would have a happy and comfortable experience homestay for international students.