Month 1

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Show an interest in your student’s hobbies; bonding with her as if she were your own child helps welcome her and make her feel more at home.

Schedule some family activities.

Set up some chores for the student to do and encourage him to answer the home phone. A few responsibilities around the house make the student feel at home instead of being a guest. Over the course of the school year, you will appreciate knowing he is contributing to the household like everyone else.

Help with language practice. One of the main reason students choose the U.S. is to improve their English.

Anticipate cultural resistance. Always respect cultural or religious differences. You can encourage but not insist a student attend religious services with you.

Expect siblings to be siblings -- they’ll bond or fight (or both!) just like normal siblings do.

Help with homesickness. Take your student somewhere that reminds her of home (food typically helps).

Try to make the best of any situation. If the student comes from a warm location and complains about the cold weather, offer a warmer coat. Show him the fun in a snowball fight, sledding, and post-shoveling cocoa. Attitude makes all the difference in your success! Model a positive attitude for the student.

To help the student feel at home, ask him to prepare a home-country meal. Plan a menu and make decorations along with flags so he feels comfortable and is happy to share the culture with you.

Have a financial discussion with the student now that expenses have settled down. Help the student budget for daily, weekly, and longer-term expenses. See your Orientation Packet for more planning ideas.

Our relationships change hearts and minds, and the message goes both ways. Students learn why the U.S. is an amazing place to live and learn. If they continue to approach the experience with an open mind, Host Families will gain as much as they give.

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