Making your student feel at home
Once your exchange student has had a chance to settle in, take some time to help them acclimate to your home. Share your house rules, explain what life is like in your community and discuss some important family activities.
Soon after your student arrives, take them on a guided tour of your home. Show them each room in your house, explain how to operate any appliances and share the normal day-to-day schedule in your home. Be patient while reviewing these items on your house tour, and take time to ensure your student is following along. You could even write down any important things to remember like the garage code or wifi password. Providing your student with this information in the first few days will help them adjust to daily life in your home.
It’s important to treat your student like a family member, not a guest. They should be expected to follow the rules and help out with household chores. Make sure to explain to your student why you’ve set certain rules in your home. Due to different cultural and family backgrounds, your student may not automatically understand why certain guidelines are in place. Knowing the reasons behind your rules will help your student appreciate your guidance and make them more committed to fitting into your home. It may also be important to demonstrate how to do a particular chore, as it might be different from what your student does at home. In some cultures, parents’ rules are more negotiable, so don’t be surprised if your student questions your rules at first, or even asks for adjustments.
Welcome to the neighborhood
In the first few days, take your student on a tour of your community. Drive by the school, show them the local hangouts for teens and your favorite spots in town. Plan a welcome party for a few weeks after your student arrives. Invite family and friends to meet your student and help them get acquainted with community members. Doing this shortly after your student arrives gives them some time to adjust before meeting new faces, and it gives your family an activity to plan together!
Share your traditions
Think of some family customs and traditions that are important to you or are a part of your regular routine. Does your family sit down together for dinner in your assigned seats at the table and share stories? Do you have a regular family game night at home? Do you follow a sports team and wear their team colors on game day? Do you do anything special to celebrate holidays? Whatever your traditions, share them with your student, express why they’re important to you and make sure to include your student at every turn. Incorporating your student into your routine is a great way to make them feel part of the family.
Find the right exchange student for your family
Does your family have any hobbies or interests that you'd like to share with an exchange student? Are you looking to learn more about a particular region of the world? Consider some of these topics and start browsing student profiles today.
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Before your student arrives
Preparation is key: how to make sure your family is ready
How to start building your relationship before your student arrives
Add a personal touch to your student's room
How to prepare your exchange student for school
Using family mealtimes to get to know each
The advantages of hosting two exchange students
Life with your student
Who to talk to if you have a question
Participation is important: help your student get involved locally
Overcoming challenges and misunderstandings with your student
Navigating religious differences and expectations
My student is struggling academically: how can I help?
American traditions every exchange student wants to try
5 ways to enjoy fall as a family
10 ways to get in the Halloween spirit
5 ways to give back in November
Does your student want to apply for a local drivers license?
Important information when taking your student to the doctor
Health insurance: all EF students arrive with coverage
Student visa information and guidelines on travel