Many individuals host foreign exchange students for different reasons. Some participate in such a program because they feel compelled to take part in something so important in the life of a young person, others host students because they feel it will be a good experience for their own children, and some individuals may decide to welcome a foreign student into their homes because they feel they have something to offer the student. Whatever your reasons for participating in this wonderful program, you will want to do whatever you can to make the student feel welcome in your home.
Likely your foreign exchange student will be with you and your family for some time. So it is important to think about both the short- and long-term arrangements that need to be made. It would be a good idea to learn what you can about the culture of the student that will be staying with you and use what you learn to make him or her more comfortable. In addition, three other preparations can help make your visitor as comfortable as possible.
• Learn the Language – Your first order of business should be to learn at least some of the language the visiting student speaks as their primary language. Likely your foreign exchange student will speak some English, probably learned in preparation for coming to America. But to make your visitor the most comfortable you should learn the language.
There is a good chance that those times when you speak the language are the only times your student hears their native language. This can provide thoughtful comfort for your student who is thousands of miles from home.
• Prepare a Comfortable Room – It is also important to prepare a comfortable room for your foreign exchange student to not only sleep in but also to relax and have personal time. To be sure, everyone in your family will be anxious to spend time with the student staying in your home, but the adventure of visiting another country and being around different people can be overwhelming to say the least.
Try to put more in the room than a simple bed and nightstand. Set up the room with a desk, comfortable chairs to relax in, and maybe even a TV. It may also help to decorate with some things that remind your foreign exchange student of home. This will help significantly in making your foreign exchange student comfortable.
• Prepare Everyone With a Conference Call – Obviously you will speak with your foreign exchange student before they come to stay with you. It may be even more beneficial to hold a conference call with the student and their parents, the current school of the student, and the school the student will be attending in America. You can use a simple free conference calling program you can download from the internet to make the call.
Prior to finalizing the details you should mention a conference call to everyone involved. Likely everyone will agree on the benefits of conferencing in this situation and setting up a conference meeting should not be hard.
You will do wonders for making your foreign exchange student comfortable by giving them personal space, making an effort to speak their language, and by finalizing details with conference calling. Everything will be in order, and your foreign exchange student will enjoy their stay if you simply prepare in these ways.