Tips for Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student

Guest's picture

Every single year, there are thousands of students from around the world that enter into student foreign exchange programs.  Basically, students travel to other countries to learn other languages or cultures while attending a year at school in that country.  Going to the United Kingdom as a student has some specific challenges, but if you are hosting a student from the United States or any country, there are a few tips that can help you get through the process. Hosting a student does require some diplomacy as things are going to be new for the both of you.  Hopefully, these tips can help you.

Remember the Student Is the Guest

One thing that you will have to remember is that the student you are hosting is the guest in your home and they may not be ready for the challenges coming at them.  Even if you have a great family with a husband and kids of your own, the student may not be used to that style of family life.  Keep an open mind and make sure the student feels at home and that feeling must come from all the host family members. 

Ground Rules Help with Awkwardness

If you can lay down the ground rules for your home and for the student to follow there will be less chance of any awkward situations coming up for either party.  Ground rules do not have to be strict, but they should lay out how your family works and what is expected of a guest or the children.  Hosting the student is like adding another child to your home, so realizing that should help the situation.  If you have children, you should expect they will all act like siblings in one way or another throughout the year you are hosting.  Ground rules should not just be for the student but for the entire hosting family.

Plan and Spend Time with the Student

You have another person in your house that you are semi-responsible for.  Make sure that when you are planning trips or any other activity that you include them.  Do not make them feel left out and if they happen to be shy about certain things, the diplomatic side of you should realize this and consider this when making plans.  It's great to have a diplomacy graduate degree, but you should be considering the feelings of the student you are hosting. 

Give Him or Her Space

Even though you are going to feel like the exchange student has to be with your family all of the time, space is essential to them experiencing the program the best they can.  Allow them to get out into the world where you live and experience things on their own time and schedule. 

Hosting a foreign exchange student can be a lot of fun for everyone involved, but it can also bring some challenges at the same time.  Using these tips are a great start to making sure your experience, and that of the student is the best possible while they are staying with you. And if you get a taste for diplomacy, sign up for an online MDY degree!



Share with friends