Tips for a Host Family, and How You Can Grow From the Experience | HostFamily (2023)

Attempting to adapt to unfamiliar routines and rules can be just as daunting as tackling the language barrier, and the host family should give their student some idea of whatis expectedas far as a routine, meal times, any curfew, or anything else they might need to know.

Whether you won’t budge on eating as a family at the kitchen table, taking your shoes off before entering the house, or keeping the dog off the furniture, it’s important to explain these rules clearly so that they can abide.

Yes, there are cultural differences, but you shouldn’t be afraid of enforcing your family guidelines. In regards to religion, your foreign exchange student may well have completely different religious beliefs and practices from yours. They want their views to be respected, just as you do yours.

They are here to learn about your culture.

Finally, don’t forget that to a foreign exchange student studying abroad, what you see every day may be fascinating and new to them. Your student may want to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the United States, and experience as much as possible.

Of course, they are here to study, but as their host family, taking them to the local diner, a drive-in movie theater, a baseball game, a parade or a good old-fashioned cookout can create wonderful memories. If you live in town, take them into the countryside for something different; if you live in the suburbs, give them a taste of the nearest big city.

Being a host family to a foreign exchange student is perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences there is; following the tips above can make it even more special.

(Video) 2021 Host Family of the Year: Tips for Being a Great Host Family

Tips on Creating Memories With Your Family and an Exchange Student or Au Pair

Take a moment to think back to when you were a little boy or girl. What do you remember the most about your childhood?

From Saturday morning cartoons and cold cereal to playing board games around the dinner table with your grandmother, the memories that we make in our lives stem from spending time with loved ones and sharing in a ritual that defines our relationship as a family.

These rituals can not only hold a family together but keep bringing them together as the years go by. If you are looking to bring your bunch closer, here are 5 ways to help make rituals easy and special for all of you. Even your au pair.

Keep it “Regular”

Events that happen just once in your life may seem pretty special at the time, but events that happen over and over in your family’s life can become memories that last a lifetime. For example, if you held a 50s style party once – you would remember it, but if you did it every year or every month, then you would never forget it.

When you are consistent, it can show children that life’s good moments can be consistent. It is the negative ones that are only temporary. From going to sporting events on a regular basis to gathering together for worship inside or outside the home, when you make an event a regularity you create a memory that stays in the forefront of their minds forever.

An Exchange Student or Au Pair’s Role in Rituals

An exchange student changes the dynamics in your family so it will take some work to figure out where their role will fit within your family. Your new family member may change your rituals or even introduce you to new ones that they enjoyed with their family in their home country.

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Encourage your exchange student to develop their own rituals with your children. This will deepen their bond and it will also give them lasting memories of your extended family member. It will help them to remember the time they shared when they shared their home with someone who learned to love them like a sibling.

Make Changes

Every ritual began as a change in the life of a family. Parents have to decide that a change is necessary in order to create a ritual that sticks. Introducing their children to a special routine like snowball fights every first snow of winter or water balloon fights every Friday in the summertime when a parent introduces the ritual to their children and makes sure to be persistent — they create change that becomes a ritual.

This consistency also shows your children that you can be trusted by them. It shows that you will persistently be there for them throughout their life to help them create good memories, deal with difficult moments and get through life together.

Rituals are an important part of bonding your family together and they can also help to welcome your exchange student into the family, showing them that they matter to you and that you care about them as extended family. It can really help your exchange student to feel like they belong when you include them in your special rituals.

Being so far away from home, feeling included can make all the difference. Be sure to ask them about their ownrituals and traditions and try to work these activities into your home as well. It is a show of respect to your new family member and further bonds you to the newest member of your family.

*Helpful Hint: If you are having trouble including your exchange student or au pair into your rituals, try creating a new ritual together.

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How You Can Grow From Hosting A Foreign Exchange Student

As a host family, welcoming a foreign exchange student into your home can be almost as overwhelming for you as it is for the student. And while it’s true that not all student hosting experiences are the same, almost without exception every family who takes the plunge will have a rewarding, enjoyable and memorable experience.

If you still have your doubts – and it’s normal to do so – the following might help you to realize that it’s a wonderful thing to do.

A Learning Experience

Of course, being a host family to a foreign exchange student is one of the best learning experiences you can have – almost as good as actually traveling overseas yourself. Picking up the language here and there is only the beginning; a foreign exchange student in your home can teach you about their country’s history, culture, and traditions.

Preparing and eating an authentic meal from your student’s homeland can also be a fascinating shared experience. Hosting someone from another country in your home allows you to not only experience their culture but to also see your own life and routine in a whole new light.

Although you may take these things for granted, many overseas students have never enjoyed a backyard cookout, been to a baseball game, or decorated the house for trick or treaters on Halloween. To share these experiences with someone else is a unique opportunity to see your own life differently, and to appreciate what you have.

Even taking your student shopping at the local store, or getting the kids after school can be exciting for someone who has never actually done that before. It’s no exaggeration to say it can even be a humbling experience.

(Video) How to write a winning Dear Host Family Letter | Step by Step Guide |Au Pair Vlog

Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes we all just have to make ourselves step out of that comfort zone and do something that might surprise others, as well as ourselves. If you have never seriously thought about hosting an overseas exchange student, ask yourself why you wouldn’t want you and your family to have this experience.

Sure, it means more laundry, more dirty dishes, buying extra food every Saturday morning, but the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks; just about every host family wonders why they had any doubts in the first place. Most matches are entirely successful, and most students remain lifelong friends with the family who hosted them in a strange country all those years ago. Some students even return the favor at some point in the future and welcome the host family into their own home.

Having an extra person in your home also makes it easier for your family to interact as a family; meals are taken together more often, and family activities suddenly become more appealing to your teenage kids when a foreign student comes along. And if your kids have moved out and you don’t especially like the empty nest feeling, the advantages of being a host family are obvious.

International Peace Efforts

World peace may be an elusive thing, and of course, we can’t bring it about with by ourselves, but you can play a small part in contributing to the overall relations between the US and the rest of the world by hosting a foreign exchange student.

Keep in mind that students from some countries may have a negative view of the United States, its policies, and what it stands for, depending on the news coverage in their country. Becoming a host family is your opportunity to set the record straight in an admittedly small way, and show the world that you can find good people anywhere, despite what they might have expected.

Imagine the overall positive effect if every family in America with a spare room decided to give it to an overseas student. You really can make a difference, and there is also a lot to be said for simply knowing that you’re helping someone others enrich their lives and experiences.

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It’s normal to have second thoughts about this hosting process, and they often happen on the day you are expecting your foreign exchange student to ring your doorbell.

Remember that the student is probably a lot more apprehensive and doubtful that you are — after all, you haven’t even left your home. They have traveled halfway across the world and left friends and family behind. Again, it’s worth pointing out that almost every host family and every student has a positive experience, and your story won’t be any different.

FAQs

How can I be a good host family? ›

5 qualities of the perfect host family
  1. Act like a family. This may sound obvious, but you really want families who act like a family. ...
  2. Know that safety and security come first. ...
  3. Include the student in family life. ...
  4. Know when not to include the home stay student. ...
  5. Know how to have good wholesome fun.
25 May 2010

How do you show appreciation to host family? ›

25 ways to show appreciation to your host family
  1. Wash the family car.
  2. Wash windows.
  3. Clean up the garage.
  4. Rake leaves.
  5. Pull weeds.
  6. Acknowledge Mother's Day with a small gift/card (can be handmade)
  7. Acknowledge Father's Day with a small gift/card (can be handmade)
24 Jul 2014

How do you introduce yourself to a host family? ›

Dear Host Family, Dear Host Family, I would like to introduce myself to you and let you know a little about me so that you will understand why I would be a good choi me so that you will understand why I would be a good choice to have ce to have working on your farm and living with you and your family.

What does a host family have to provide? ›

Host families are responsible for providing their exchange student with their meals, transportation and a clean and safe living environment. At first, it may feel awkward trying to balance treating your student as a member of the family, while also expecting them to pay for their own personal expenses.

How do you live with a host family? ›

What you should expect while living with a host family
  1. Your family may or may not have hosted other travelers before. ...
  2. Your host family should have been thoroughly evaluated and interviewed. ...
  3. To eat the same food that the rest of the family is eating. ...
  4. To be respectful of their house rules. ...
  5. To learn the language much faster.
27 Jun 2022

What should I ask my host family? ›

Your Host Family
  • What do you (the parents) do for a living?
  • Where do you work and what are your work hours?
  • What kinds of activities does your family do together?
  • Would you say you are an active family?
  • How do you spend your weekends or free time?
  • Do you like sports, film, computers?

How do I show appreciation? ›

Top 10 Ways to Show Appreciation
  1. Give a Gift.
  2. Write An Appreciation Note.
  3. Compliment Them.
  4. Create Something Homemade.
  5. Take Her Out for Coffee.
  6. Lend a Listening Ear.
  7. Do Something They Enjoy.
  8. Make a Photo Album.
19 Apr 2022

How do you appreciate someone who helps you? ›

When you're feeling a deep appreciation for those who have made a difference in your life, use these phrases to show your gratitude:
  1. I appreciate you!
  2. You are the best.
  3. I appreciate your help so much.
  4. I'm grateful to you.
  5. I wanted to thank you for your help.
  6. I value the help you've given me.

How do you introduce yourself as a host? ›

  1. Introduce yourself with a personal statement. ...
  2. Use nonverbal communication. ...
  3. Pay attention to your body language. ...
  4. Talk about what you are passionate about. ...
  5. Learn more about the other person. ...
  6. Ask more questions. ...
  7. Share your brand story.
21 Jan 2021

How do you introduce yourself in au pair? ›

Personal introduction

I have one daughter who is grown up and she has her family. I would describe myself as an open-minded, hard-working, easy going, dedicated and responsible person. Sometimes I might be shy and a little reserved at first, but that is not something that bothers at all, I am very flexible.

How do I write a motivational letter for Aupair? ›

I am writing to apply for the open position of Au Pair at your company. I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be successful in this role. I have been working as an Au Pair for the past three years, and during that time I have gained extensive experience in caring for children.

What do host parents do? ›

Once matched, host parents and teens forge a special bond over weekend visits, incorporating the teen into the host's family life. They cook and eat together, have fun, do weekend chores, attend religious services, explore the neighborhood, and meet friends and neighbors.

Why do you wish to participate in the student exchange program? ›

You'll experience a completely new way of life

Studying abroad will allow you to experience different cultures and perspectives, including new traditions and customs and meeting new people. Fully embracing this new culture is a chance to step out of your comfort zone and experience unfamiliar situations.

What's a host family for students? ›

So, what is a host family? A host family is a very special group of people who are able to welcome a young person into their home and allow the student the chance to enrich their lives while also enriching their own lives.

How long do you stay with a host family? ›

It depends on the student, host family and group programs. Typically ranges from 1 month to 3 years. The average length of stay for a long term student is 6 months to 1 year. Both the student and host family must enjoy living with each other.

Why should you live with a host family? ›

Living with a host family has many benefits such as, an up-close cultural experience, foreign language practice, home-cooked meals, and added safety. It also means you'll have to adapt to living in a new household with supervision.

What excites you most about living with a host family? ›

Host families are typically invested in delivering the best experience to their guests. Aside from touring the city, you can truly learn to live like a local and learn what they do in their day-to-day lives. You see where they go to grocery shop, what activities they participate in, what foods they eat, etc.

What motivates you to be an au pair? ›

Establish Warm and Strong Relationships. One of the biggest motivations why a young person wants to become an au pair is because they want to establish good relationships with families. It also gives them a safe place to stay as a student or a backpacker who wants to travel to a new country.

What activities would you like to do with your host children? ›

  • CRAFTS. Time to mess up with colours, paint, sparkles and glue! ...
  • PLAY-DOUGH. Ask any kid and they will tell you that play dough is a lot of fun! ...
  • ROLE PLAYING GAMES. Role playing games are one of the most popular among kids. ...
  • PUZZLES. Puzzles have been always a classic for many generations. ...
  • BAKING. ...
  • STORY TIME. ...
  • DAY TRIPS.
26 Jun 2017

What should I wear to an au pair interview? ›

A modest smart casual look which gives you freedom to move around creates the best impression.

How do you show your gratitude and appreciation to someone? ›

Here are 10 creative ideas for expressing gratitude, either privately or to those you love and care about.
  1. Write a letter. ...
  2. Be an active listener. ...
  3. Take a mindful walk. ...
  4. Give a thoughtful gift. ...
  5. Start a gratitude journal. ...
  6. Be specific. ...
  7. Offer your help. ...
  8. Cook something you love.
20 May 2022

How do you encourage and appreciate others? ›

The Easiest Way to Encourage and Support Others: Use Your Words
  1. 1.Be personal and individualized. ...
  2. The more specific the better. ...
  3. Tell them why what they did is important – to you, to the organization, or to your clientele. ...
  4. Remember that words are not equally important to everyone. ...
  5. Specific Suggestions.
5 Oct 2020

How do you say thank you in unique way? ›

Show Your Appreciation With 25 Other Ways To Say “Thank You”
  1. I'm so grateful. Thanks is an expression of gratitude, so cut to the chase. ...
  2. I appreciate it. ...
  3. Thanks for your hard work on this. ...
  4. I couldn't have done it without you. ...
  5. I owe you one. ...
  6. Much obliged. ...
  7. Thanks for having my back. ...
  8. Please accept my deepest gratitude.
9 Dec 2021

How do you appreciate someone with good heart? ›

Thank you so much for your soft and devoted heart. #7 I'll be forever thankful to you for being by my side in the toughest days of my life. You are the most loyal person I have ever met. It was you that got me through that time and I will be forever humbled by your kindness.

How do you tell someone you value them? ›

How to show appreciation
  1. Say “thank you" ...
  2. Pay attention to them. ...
  3. Listen empathetically. ...
  4. Write an appreciation note. ...
  5. Be reliable. ...
  6. Be specific. ...
  7. Actions speak louder than words. ...
  8. Gift them a plant or flowers to brighten their day.
13 May 2021

What is heartfelt gratitude? ›

promised our wholehearted support heartfelt suggests depth of genuine feeling outwardly expressed. expresses our heartfelt gratitude hearty suggests honesty, warmth, and exuberance in displaying feeling.

How do you introduce yourself in 100 words? ›

Short Essay on Myself 100 words:

I am very punctual and want to do all my work at the right time. I like to eat plain and healthy food. I enjoy dancing, reading books, playing badminton and cooking in my spare time. I never leave my classes and also attend every class.

How do you introduce yourself in a unique example? ›

Here are some examples:
  1. Morning! I don't think we've met before, I'm Aryan.
  2. Hey there! I'm Surya. I'm new—I just moved to the building a couple of days ago. ...
  3. Hi Amy. I heard it's your first day so I thought I could reach out and introduce myself. We haven't officially met but I'll be working with you on this project.
8 Dec 2020

How do you end a host family letter? ›

End your letter by thanking your family for hosting you and letting them know how excited you are to meet them. Have your teacher look over the first draft of your letter and correct any spelling or grammar errors. Scan or save your letter as a PDF to submit online.

What should I write in my aupair profile? ›

Your profile texts should contain a short description of yourself and your motivation for becoming an au pair. Do not forget to include information about your hobbies and interests. In writing your texts, try to answer the following questions: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What do you plan to do after the au pair program? ›

If this is the case, after being an au pair you could go for a quality master and get specialized!
...
Do you want to start learning again? Go to university
  • Child Psychology, Development Psychology or General Psychology.
  • Education/Early Childhood Development.
  • Education.
  • Special Education.
  • Speech Therapy.
26 Jul 2021

How do you write a motivational letter sample? ›

Briefly summarize your main points - “I believe I'd be a good fit for the program because of __________” Mention your overarching goal - “I'd love to be a part of _______, as it would allow me to ___________.” Thank the reader and conclude the motivational letter.

What is the meaning of Aupair? ›

ˈō-ˈper. plural au pairs ˈō-ˈperz. : a usually young foreign person who cares for children and does domestic work for a family in return for room and board and the opportunity to learn the family's language.

Do you make money as a host family? ›

But generally speaking, host families can expect to make anywhere from $30-$60/day, sometimes more, sometimes less. StudentRoomStay Concierge typically compensates our short-term families in this range. Long-term students stay with you for an entire academic semester or year (usually a year) - about 10 months.

Do host families get money? ›

No, host families are not paid. However, you will be entitled to a tax deduction each month that an AFS student stays in your home.

How much does a host family get paid? ›

In general, host families will earn in the region of £20-£30 per day for allowing foreign students to stay. And don't forget, you'll need to deduct the costs for food and utilities from that fee. You will usually receive your pay weekly or fortnightly.

What are the benefits of hosting an exchange student? ›

7 Reasons to Host an Exchange Student
  • Encourage connection in your home, community, and the wider world. ...
  • Broaden your Horizons. ...
  • Liven up your daily routine. ...
  • Enhance your Communication skills. ...
  • Develop Understanding. ...
  • Cultivate life-long friendships. ...
  • Know You're Doing a Good Deed for your Family, Community, and World.

Why is teacher exchange program is important? ›

A Teacher Exchange Program provides an opportunity for teachers to explore the culture of a foreign country, gain further learning, and share experiences with their country of origin.

Does being an exchange student look good on a college application? ›

In general, one summer studying abroad in high school is not going to help an application standout, especially when many other college applicants also have high school study abroad experience.

What does a host family have to provide? ›

Host families are responsible for providing their exchange student with their meals, transportation and a clean and safe living environment. At first, it may feel awkward trying to balance treating your student as a member of the family, while also expecting them to pay for their own personal expenses.

What does a host family look like? ›

Traditional host families consist of host parents and children living in one home. Some traditional host families may have one parent while others may have two. Some traditional host families may be a heterosexual couple while others may be a same-sex couple.

What does it mean to stay with a host family? ›

(həʊst ˈfæmlɪ ) a family which provides board and lodging to students, usually for a fee. Living with a host family allows you to practice what you have learned at school in a relaxed domestic situation. Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers.

Do host families make money? ›

Depending on the length of stay, homestay company, and region, hosting an exchange student can earn you anywhere from an extra $30 a day to $1,400 per month.

How long do you stay with a host family? ›

It depends on the student, host family and group programs. Typically ranges from 1 month to 3 years. The average length of stay for a long term student is 6 months to 1 year. Both the student and host family must enjoy living with each other.

What excites you most about living with a host family? ›

Host families are typically invested in delivering the best experience to their guests. Aside from touring the city, you can truly learn to live like a local and learn what they do in their day-to-day lives. You see where they go to grocery shop, what activities they participate in, what foods they eat, etc.

How much do you get paid for hosting foreign students? ›

Foreign student host

You could earn about €800 a month by taking a foreign student into your home for the summer, though rates depend on where you live, the type of accommodation and the foreign language school that arranges the placement.

Why do you wish to participate in the student exchange program? ›

You'll experience a completely new way of life

Studying abroad will allow you to experience different cultures and perspectives, including new traditions and customs and meeting new people. Fully embracing this new culture is a chance to step out of your comfort zone and experience unfamiliar situations.

How long do exchange students stay? ›

An exchange student typically stays in the host country for a period of 6 to 12 months; however, exchange students may opt to stay for one semester at a time. International students or those on study abroad programs may stay in the host country for several years.

Do exchange students pay tuition? ›

Foreign Exchange student attends school under an exchange program -- there is no tuition charge to the student/parent. Note: Superintendent must approve the acceptance of a foreign exchange student.

Is living with a host family awkward? ›

While living with a host-family can be challenging, awkward, and uncomfortable at times, it's worth it. Here are a few tips to get past the small talk and build a stronger relationship with your host-family. 1. Pay attention to what they're passionate about, whether it's hobbies, ideas, dreams, or past experiences.

Why is living with a host family important? ›

Living with a host family has many benefits such as, an up-close cultural experience, foreign language practice, home-cooked meals, and added safety. It also means you'll have to adapt to living in a new household with supervision.

Are exchange students allowed to date? ›

No Dating (Well, no serious dating!) The illegal drinking of alcoholic beverages is expressly forbidden. In the USA and many other countries, Rotary Youth Exchange students are under the legal drinking age.

What are your expectations for the au pair stay? ›

The Au Pair has at least 2-5 weeks of paid vacation during a one year stay plus weekly days off. Learn more about holiday standards in different countries of the Au Pair program.

How do you answer why do you want to be an au pair? ›

Establish Warm and Strong Relationships. One of the biggest motivations why a young person wants to become an au pair is because they want to establish good relationships with families. It also gives them a safe place to stay as a student or a backpacker who wants to travel to a new country.

What is your favorite part about being an aupair? ›

What do you enjoy the most about being an au pair? The best part is that you get to interact with children at a time in their lives where they see you as their role model, and they simply love you and want to be loved back.

Is host family income taxable? ›

The payment of a stipend to the host families is not excluded from taxable income under the Internal Revenue Code.

Is homestay a good idea? ›

While there's no doubt it's a great way to see the world, there's always something comforting about staying with somebody who knows a destination well when you arrive. In a homestay, you'll meet interesting people, share stories and experiences and get to know the destination through the eyes of the locals.

Is income from hosting a foreign exchange student taxable? ›

The intent of the Stipend is to compensate you for your costs of hosting a student. This amount is adjusted for the cost of living in your area. Since students you are hosting are paying both tuition to the schools and room and board to you, the tax law states that the room and board are income to you the host.

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