Top 10 Questions About Hosting Exchange Students
I get quite a few questions at this time of year about what are the expectations for a family looking to host a high school exchange student. This blog discusses our top ten most asked questions.
- How long is the typical exchange experience for students?
High school students coming to the U.S. to study come for one or two semesters; students generally arrive in August in time for school to start, and leave at the end of the semester (either at the end of the calendar year or towards the end of January, depending on the location) or at the end of the school year in May or June. Some students come for the second semester only.
- What makes a good host family? Host families are volunteers and represent the diversity of American culture with varied economic, religious and racial backgrounds. Many host families do not have children, while others have adult children who no longer live at home. Some have teens, some have young children. Host families undergo a screening process to make sure that they are suited for an exchange experience. To become a host family, one adult in the household must be at least 25 years old.
- What are the expectations for a host family?
Host families provide room, board, and a family environment. “Room” requires a bed, storage space, and a place somewhere in the home to study, but does not necessarily require a separate bedroom. “Board” requires three meals/day and reasonable snacks. “Family environment” means the student is a member of your family, not a guest! They go shopping with the family, they go to the farmers’ market with the family, and they go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving with the family. And if they stay out past curfew, they can be grounded like any other teen member of the family.
- Are host families paid?
The U.S. government does not allow payments to host families. Host families are eligible to receive a charitable tax deduction on their U.S. federal tax return of $50/month for each month the student lives in the home.
- How expensive is it to host a student?
Host families are required to cover costs associated with at-home meals, any packed school lunches, transportation to reasonable social and extra-curricular activities, and shelter. Students bring their own pocket money to cover routine expenses including cell phone bills, school expenses, clothing and recreation such as trips to the movies. If the student travels with the host family, the student is expected to pay for any airfare or additional hotel costs, etc. Students are required to have their own medical insurance and pay for any medical expenses and insurance copayments.
- How are students selected?
Students must go through a screening process for motivation, character, grades, and proficiency in written and spoken English language skills. Student applications include a letter of recommendation, academic transcripts, an essay written in English, and short-answer questions about the student’s family life. Per U.S. Department of State regulations, students must be between the ages of 15 to 18 to take part in the one-semester or academic year program.
- How are students prepared for life in an American home?
Before traveling to the United States, students will attend orientation meetings to learn about living with a host family, cultural aspects of American life and practical advice and tips related to travel logistics. The exchange program will probably also provide students and their families with information on American customs and traditions. Another orientation occurs shortly after students arrive in the country. These connections help get your relationship started and help prepare the student for the lifestyle of his or her host family.
- Are families allowed to contact students before they arrive?
Once a placement has been finalized with all host family, student, and school authorizations signed and filed, the host family and student can contact one another so that they can establish a relationship before the student arrives in the United States. Contact can be occasional emails, telephone calls, or (more common in today’s world) by Skype or other online connections.
- What if it does not work out?
All approved exchange programs are required to have a support system for counseling and advice. As a host family, you should choose your program carefully; make sure you feel comfortable with the local coordinator or liaison, since it is likely that this is the person who will continue to be your primary advisor and contact point. If problems arise between the host family and student, the local coordinator should be available to provide support, with guidance from the program’s national office. Ask your coordinator tough questions: are they available evenings and weekends if you have a problem? What happens if the student or host family needs to call late at night with a significant problem? If it turns out that differences cannot be resolved, the coordinator should be able to help the student transition to a new home – not something people want to think about, but it’s important to know that help is available
- Where do I sign up?
For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become a host family today, complete our free application here:
To meet our 2020-21 students, visit our photo listing site here:
While there is so much to do in exploring a new country and new culture, certain boundaries and rules must be respected to have an entertaining holiday. The USA is filled with adventure of all sorts, and to enjoy them uninterruptedly here a few things that you must NOT do-
It’s surely is tempting to leave your footprints on most of the places in the US. But here is the fun fact, the continental United States is larger than Europe, and thus, travelling everywhere in a short span could make you ready to drop. It has gorgeous cities like Arizona, Washington and New York, and wrapping all the tours in one go could overload.
2.Drink and Drive
It is not acceptable at all! If the police find you guilty, a hefty fine is issued right on your face.
It is everyone’s right to breathe clean air and with this philosophy, many places in the USA have banned smoking. The workplaces and public places are witnessing a great initiative of being smoke-free.
4.Showing a middle finger
OH, It’s the USA- everything is cool here! If you are visiting with this mentality, you might get a setback. Pointing a middle finger to someone can get you killed in the USA. And we ain’t kidding. While other gestures like putting a thumbs up, having hands in the pocket or using a left hand are perfectly common.
5.Getting too much into other space
Hugs are not one of the favourite gestures of Americans. Greeting with handshakes are acceptable but don’t go forward to kissing and hugging people around. If you find the other person taking a step back, you can recognise that you are entering into his space. Avoid confrontations like peeping into other’s phones, wearing dark glasses, etc. Also, be careful of how you hold your limbs in a crowded bus or train.
It is not your local restaurant where you can skip without tipping at all. Tipping in large could be culturally sensitive in many European or Asian countries, but American culture doesn’t work that way. Whenever you are receiving any kind of service, you must tip about 12-20 per cent of the amount.
7.Silence in conversation
The uncomfortable zone builds up with Americans when a conversation is followed by a long silence. They appreciate the effort taken to have a mindful and interesting conversation. A silence of more than 3 seconds could be weird and if you are tending to have a problem with language, make use of the fillers like, Oh Sure, Yeah, And then, etc.
8.Jokes on race and gender
Few things can catch the eyes of the locals. One of these is discussing race, gender, sexuality, colour or weight. Your strong opinions on any of these topics could not end well, because someone or the other is bound to get offended. So, the best escape is simply nodding or carrying a pleasant smile.
9.Talking about politics
When you are interacting with people you know very well, taking a side could not harm. But being an outsider, sitting with a group of strangers, and taking a strong stance on a political candidate could arise issues. Nothing is better than enjoying the conversation.
10.Staring at woman
Making women uncomfortable with staring, gawking and flirting can invite the police. If you are interested, approaching them kindly and with courtesy is the key. If a woman is inviting you over, take it as a friendly invitation. Do not get misled with such requests by a female.
11.Talking about disliking football
Soccer is better than football, you say it and you get a pitiful look. You have to like football here as no one would hear anything against it. Also, nobody will take your lecture on football. Do not preach your virtues of what you know extra besides American football. Just love the game and people will love you back.
12.Comparing your country with America
Americans have a belief that their country is the best. And if you combat this thought bringing in your country and your values to be top-notch, you might get it back. So, go with the flow and do not intervene in their “we are superior” chats.
The USA is a masterpiece and one can spend a lavish holiday, only with certain inhibitions in mind. Find yourself a great deal with Rayna and revel in a magical trip.
Original article by USA Travel Blog: https://go.shr.lc/2RUFOkc
The start of New Year’s Day, at midnight on January 1st, is heralded by fireworks, parties and special events, which are often televised. Very few people have to work on the day itself. For many it is a day of recovery from the New Year’s Eve celebrations the previous night. In some towns and cities, parades are held and special football games are played. The birth of the first baby in the New Year is often celebrated with gifts to his or her parents and appearances in local newspapers and on local news shows. Many people make New Year’s resolutions. These are usually promises to themselves that they will improve something in their own lives. Common New Year’s resolutions are to stop smoking or drinking alcohol, to lose weight, exercise more or to live a healthier lifestyle.
Martin Luther King Day, January 20th is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years, federal legislation has encouraged Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups.
Things you can do to celebrate this January!
- Make a list of resolutions to try to keep in the new year
- Share with your host family what you do for new years in your home country and when it is
- Eat food considered lucky to eat going into the New Year! In America, these include black eyed peas, cabbage, and pork.
- Listen to Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech