Gphomestay is welcoming many new international students to host families across the U.S. this month to begin the spring school semester. Host families should understand that your visiting student – like any young person entering a new environment – may experience home-sickness and “culture shock.”
All of our families are expected to provide a warm, secure and healthy environment for their visiting student(s), just as they would for their own children, but be aware there may still be some bumps along the road!
As you and your visiting student(s) go through this new adventure, we wanted to give you some tips for getting to know each other and making the experience a happy memory for your whole family.
When your student arrives, he or she will likely be excited and want to try everything new. Make sure the house rules – including curfews and chores – are clearly communicated up front. Many students, particularly those from eastern cultures, have been brought up in affluent homes with nannies or home staff, so they do not expect to be asked to walk the dog, feed the fish or wash the dishes. Simply be clear and calm about the rules at the beginning of the student’s stay.
After the first few wonderful days of experimenting and exploring are over, your student may feel isolated, lonely and – most definitely – homesick. It’s important that you are compassionate about your student’s potentially unstable temperament and sensitivity. After all, they are teenagers a long way from home. Try to accommodate and encourage regular e-mails and Skype calls to their parents in order to assuage their homesickness.
This is also a time to try to incorporate some of his or her culture into your home in the form of food or observances, like the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 8th.
Eventually, your student will adjust to his or her new environment and accept the differences in cultures. This is when your student will be more open and confident to learn about new lifestyles, cultures and traditions; and perhaps share his or her own with you.
And soon enough, just as you are saying goodbye to your international student, he or she will have started to feel completely comfortable in America, and will take your lessons home with them.
The gphomestay team is available to you at any time to help you through this journey with your international student and to give you tips on how to make the semester a positive experience for all.