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By on April 26th, 2017

How to Make a Good First Impression with Your Homestay Family

Before you embark on your homestay journey, make sure you keep the following in mind.

Be Honest About Your Needs

When applying for a homestay program, be completely upfront about any specific needs you have. Obviously, you don’t want to go overboard, but both you and your homestay family will be better off if you’re straightforward. This often includes things like:

  • Vegetarianism
  • Fear of dogs
  • Committed to exercise

Doing this will make you much easier to match with a good fit and will give the family adequate time to prepare.

Join Your Family for Meals

While every program is a bit different, most homestay programs will include at least one meal with your family if you should so wish.

We recommend you definitely take this opportunity. For one thing, it will be considered gracious of you to accept their offer. Secondly, it’s a great way to get to know them quickly. Third, you’ll get a real taste of homemade American cuisine.

Ask About the Rules Early On

Unnecessary tension can arise when both sides assume the other understands the rules. To avoid this problem, your homestay family should explain them early on. This would pertain to things like:

  • Curfews
  • Mealtimes
  • Letting the family know where you’re going when you leave

Don’t be afraid to just ask, too. If nothing else, doing so will let your host family know they may have mistakenly assumed you knew things that you didn’t.

Bring a Gift from Your Home Country

The best way to break the ice with your new family is to show them a token of your gratitude by presenting them with a gift from your home country. Ideally, you should try to learn about them beforehand to figure out what they might like.

For example, like a lot of American families, you may discover that yours passionately cheers for a certain football team. If you’re from a country where football (“soccer” in America) is the preferred sport, you could bring them scarves of your favorite team.

There’s no wrong gift. They’ll appreciate whatever you give them, so don’t overthink this step.

Be Considerate of Your Family’s Home

This is an obvious one. No family wants a slob moving into their home. That being said, being considerate also means assessing cultural norms and understanding how to be respectful of them.

Another nice way you can quickly ingratiate yourself to your new family is by volunteering to do chores. See if you can help with the cooking, with doing the dishes after a meal or maybe helping with one of the younger children – whatever you’re good at and comfortable with.

Understand Your Host Family’s Limits

The United States is a very wealthy country, so most of you will not have to worry about this problem. Still, you should consider that you may be coming from a fairly affluent background compared to that of the people whose home you’re about to share.

Your host family will definitely do anything they can to make you comfortable, but you still don’t want to put them on the spot.

Every year, thousands of people take on the homestay experience and later recount it as one of the best experiences of their entire lives. If you keep the above in mind, you’ll have an easy time doing the same.