What Makes a Great Host Family? A Guide to Success
A Guide For You
In this quick guide we’ll talk about a few things that can help you provide an outstanding hosting experience to your students. Keep reading, and let’s talk about what sets the best host families apart.
1. Keep an Open Mind
Your students are coming from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. As a result, the way they think, act, and interact with you may seem different than what you’re used to. But, as a Twinn Palms Host Family, that’s simply part of the fun of hosting an international student! By keeping an open mind, you can help your student feel welcome and comfortable. See if you can use this opportunity to learn something new about your student’s way of life. Which leads us to our next tip…
2. Stay Curious
International students have an incredible opportunity to learn about American culture in an immersive setting. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this experience to discover a whole new side of the world. Stay curious, and try to absorb as much of your student’s worldview as possible. Not only is this a fantastic way to learn more about their home country, it will also go a long way towards showing your student that you care — you can’t wait to learn more!
3. Help Them Build a Social Circle
At first, your student may feel just a little intimidated by the entire experience. This is natural, and to be expected. One great way to help your student feel more at home is to ask about personal interests and passions. You can then use this information to plan fun activities in your community and give him or her a chance to build a core group of friends. By surrounding themselves with friendly faces, they can begin to open up and feel less alone in their new home.
4. Be Patient
In the early days of hosting, you may find a certain amount of culture shock happening. Again, this is completely normal. However, remember to remain patient and provide plenty of space for them to be themselves. They’re adjusting to what might feel like an overwhelming experience— aim to be as supportive as possible during this transition period (and beyond!)
5. Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Hosting an international student is a unique experience that very few American families have the privilege of taking part in. In all the planning, preparing, and adjusting… don’t forget to have fun! At the end of the day, this is an outstanding opportunity to play tourist in your own country. You could check out a museum, plan a picnic, or take a trip to a National Park. Simply making a little time to enjoy yourselves will go a long way towards making your student’s experience unforgettable.
Learn more! See our FAQ or ask a question below.
By keeping the above tips in mind you’ll be ready to give your student a rewarding experience that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. And, if you haven’t already, read through our FAQs for host families. You’re also welcome to ask questions or share your own pro tips in the comments below. Simply leave us a question and we’ll pop in with our best advice — talk soon!