Traveling across the seas for an extended stay, and not too sure on where to stop and rest your head? Consider staying with a host family.
A host family is a family of at least one parent and child that accepts a foreign traveler into their home as one of their own.
The traveler lives on equal terms with the family, often times partaking in domestic housework in exchange for food, room and board, and sometimes a salary. Hosting is considered a program of cultural exchange, as all participants get to interact with and learn about one another. Below you will find a list of tips that will help you grow to love your host family as your own.
Bring a gift
Your host family spends a lot of time ensuring you are submerged in their culture during your stay. Why not return the favor by brining a thoughtful gift representative of your country? Your gift can range from American candy to an object from your favorite sports team.
Cooking a meal that is not known or popular in your host´s household can be a fun, innovative way to introduce them to a part of your culture that you value back home.
Do your share around the house
Helping your host family with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and running errands shows hospitality.
Practice good manners
Make sure you fully understand the expectations the family has for you during your stay, and uphold them to the fullest extent. It is not unheard of for families to dine at specific times, or to expect their children back in the house by a certain time. If the family does not allow cell phone usage at the dinner table, then refrain from taking the food selfie and put your phone away.
Share your family photographs
As mentioned before, this opportunity is not just about you learning about their culture, but them learning about your culture as well. Sharing pictures of yourself and your family will spark a conversation that is sure to show more similarities between your family and your host family that you probably did not anticipate.
Do not expect your host family to be your personal tour guide. Try to make your own friends and find your own way around time during your stay.
Remind your host family that you are grateful to have them host you! Smile, be polite, and show enthusiasm while staying with your family. Remember, you will be there for a while, so you might as well make the best of it.