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Host Family Articles

Student Adjustment Cycle And How The Host Family Can Help

We are seeking volunteer host families for 2024

Please let us know of any families you think have the willingness and resources to help one of our exchange students. Exchange students come from one of these countries:

Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Paraguay, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam.

The process of adaptation between your family and your student will go through different stages. ETC will be with you during this transition to provide guidance and support. While you may experience some different feelings during certain specific phases, we have some examples that could help you to sail through this experience in a satisfactory and enriching way.

Arrival and First Days

The Host Family feels:

  • Excited about the new
    experience.
  • Pleased to be showing the
    student everything.
  • That their privacy may change.
  • Anxious about another teenager in the house and what that means.

The Host Family should:

  • Communicate often with the student.
  • Try not to overwhelm her/him with too much information the first few days.
  • Encourage the student to ask questions.  
  • English is not the student’s first language, speak slowly and ask the student questions to ensure she/he understood. Patience is key!
  • Allow the student to have some privacy.
  • Share your expectations with the student (Fill the Expectation Worksheets as soon as possible, this will avoid misunderstandings).

Honeymoon Days

The Host Family feels:

  • Everything is going so well.
  • The student needs to make different/more friends.
  • The student is on a pedestal.

The Host Family should:

  • Encourage the student to join clubs and activities. 
  • Talk to the student about his/her friends.
  • Exchange and discuss how you both feel about the differences between cultures and how to better adjust to them.
  • Make sure the student does not spend too much time in her/his room.

Feeling Dissatisfaction

The Host Family feels:

  • The halo effect (feeling
    everything is perfect) is gone.
  • The student and the exchange experience is seen more in the
    light of day to day behaviors.
  • Frustration at the “little things”

The Host Family should:

  • Watch for unresolved conflicts that could lead to more problems.
  • Address concerns with each other as soon as possible.
  • Contact your local coordinator
    with any concerns.
  • Your Local Coordinator is here to help. A roundtable can be organized to address topics with a neutral perspective.
Student Adjustment Cycle And How The Host Family Can Help

Making Adjustments

The Host Family feels:

  • Less responsible for the student’s comings and goings.
  • The student is more independent but still part of the family.

The Host Family should:

  • Encourage the student to cultivate her/his friendships and meet new friends.

Returning Home Anxiety

The Host Family feels:

  • Anxious about sending the
    student back home to her/his
    country
  • Uncertain whether the student
    will remember the family upon
    her/his return
  • An urge to capture every
    moment left with the student
    before departure
  • Jealous of the time others
    demand of the student away
    from the family
  • Sad because they will miss the
    student when she or he leaves

The Host Family should:

  • Set aside time to talk about all
    the student’s feelings
  • Assure the student that all of
    the feelings are normal in this
    situation
  • Reassure the student that
    leaving does not mean
    “goodbye”
  • Organize a fun activity together for the last couple of days to create the warmest memories.
  • Plan out your future communications with your student.
  • Communicate openly with the Local Coordinator your emotions to seek for support

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