Welcoming An International Student Into Your Home

The summer has flown by and here at AmeriStudent we're getting ready to kick off the 2017-2018 school year!

It's an exciting time not just for our students who begin arriving in the U.S. to start their studies for the school year, but also for our host families! Welcoming a student into one's home always produces a mix of anticipation and nervousness, whether it's a seasoned host family or a first-timer.

What will my student be like? Will he/she fit into our family well? I hope this will be a great year for all of us!

These are just a few of the thoughts floating around in a host family's mind as they prepare to meet their student. And when their student finally arrives, those first few days and weeks are a whirlwind - exciting but also challenging as everyone adjusts to living with one another and to learning how to connect and communicate.

Best Practices

While every family goes about welcoming their student in their own way, here are a few guidelines that will help any host family ease the transition of adding a student to their household...

  • Give your student a tour of the house - Your student will be sharing your home with you for the next 10 months, so make them feel at home by showing them more than just their bedroom and bathroom. Keep in mind that they may be unfamiliar with how to work your appliances, and they will need to know small details like where the toilet paper and clean towels are, or which rooms they're allowed to take food in.
  • Explain any house rules and expectations - Your student may not end up keeping your rules perfectly, but it's helpful to state your expectations at the beginning. It's a conversation you can always return to in the future when they need to be reminded of the rules.
  • Be flexible with meals - Your student may need time to adjust to the types of food you regularly eat. Be patient with them and in the beginning do your best to avoid turning food into another cause of stress as they are already dealing with culture shock in so many other ways. Once things settle down they will probably be more willing to branch out and try new foods, and adjusting to a new diet and how your family eats will take time.
  • Let them rest - You may be excited to take your student sightseeing to all your favorite places or introduce them to your friends, but try to take it easy in the beginning. He/she may be jet lagged and overwhelmed by all their new surroundings and may just want to sleep or stay home. Give them time in the beginning to rest and get settled before loading up their free time with extra activities.
  • Patience and perseverance! - No matter how great a student or a host family is, there WILL be challenges! When conflict and miscommunications arise, you can help get all of you through it by being patient and continuing to work at the relationship so that things keep moving forward.

Do you have any suggestions for host families in the adjustment period? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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