A high school exchange is an opportunity for students in high school to become bicultural and bilingual. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to change your perspective about the world. In the new country, you’ll have to live with a host family. Regardless of the inevitable homesickness, frustration, or miscommunication, you have to live in harmony with your new family. You are a family guest and a new member. Below are dos when living with a host family.
Help with chores
Make effort to help the family with cleaning up and laundry. Common courtesy requires being respectful to your host family. This ensures a positive attitude and a respectful relation with other family members. Offer to do some chores including cooking meals to give them a taste of your home recipes or go with another member to pick groceries. This will even help you to dig deeper into the culture of your new family.
Accept the simple lifestyle
It’s very important to accept that life isn’t always the same everywhere. Keep this in mind when taking the plunge to study abroad through a school exchange program. Your new country might not have a robust economy and an efficient transport system as that in your home country. Be ready for culture shock while living in a less developed country. Ensure to fit in by distinguishing hospitality and unfortunate circumstances.
Do speak up
If you find anything uncomfortable, giving constructive feedback to your host family is necessary. Keep in mind that there might be a lot your new family might not know about you. For a positive experience, it’s important to speak about your problem. Host families are usually gracious and welcoming but some problems might be beyond their understanding. In such circumstances, you have to contact the placement office for high school abroad programs. You might be moved to a new host family if necessary.
Practice speaking the local language
Practice speaking the local language freely with the host family. This is a great idea to improve your skill in the language. You will have free teachers to correct you wherever you go wrong. The family members will just laugh at your mistakes and correct you. Through this, your chances of learning colloquial terms and nuances of the language will significantly improve. These are rarely taught in the classroom. The host siblings will make it easier for you to learn some slang in the new language.
Make other friends
Taking the plunge to study abroad is an opportunity to experience the world better. Therefore, go out, discover the new neighborhood, and take a trip to nearby cities. This is an amazing opportunity to meet new people from various parts of the world. Avoid falling into the habit of spending all your time with the hot family. At the end of the program, you’re likely to realize that you didn’t learn anything new from the whole experience.
Venturing out will help you learn about the community and to discover new perspectives about various things. Spending time with the host family allows bonding but it’s better if you can go out with the family. The host siblings prevent getting lost and will help you to meet other youths in the community. Meeting new people exposes you to a variety of things to help you make the most of your travel experience.
Express gratitude when leaving
Living with a host family means that you’ll always experience ups and downs together. By the time you’re leaving, you’ll be anxious to bet back to living in a familiar place. It’s very important to express gratitude to the family for allowing you to live with them. A few ideas to show gratitude include writing a heartwarming letter in the local language, taking them out to dinner, or giving some special gifts. When you reach home, it’s a good idea to keep in touch through social media.
Study abroad requires living with a host family. You might be anxious at first but the dos above will make the experience memorable. Flexibility, having an open mind, and gratitude will make study abroad one of the best moments you’ll ever have in life. The experience will make a huge impact throughout your whole life.