There are lots of advantages to living abroad for a little while. You get to experience tons of fun things, make lots of incredible memories, and learn a new language. Plus, you get to know new people and a new culture.
You might also sometimes encounter things you aren’t used to here at home. You might help out at home with your host family more than you’re used to, and you might have to be home earlier at night. The food might be different, and maybe you have to ask for permission to take part in other activities. But that’s also the charm: every country has a different culture, and that’s exactly what you get to experience during your year as an exchange student.
By having an open dialogue with your host family and understanding what is expected of you, there will be fewer misunderstandings and less culture clash. Your host family is there for you and responsible for you throughout your stay. By having a clear dialogue, you will understand one another. Together, you will find a good path forward, even if the rules may be different from the rules at home.
No matter where in the world you go on exchange, you will live with a local host family. You might be a little nervous about going to a new place and living with people you’ve never met before, but the fact is that your host family will often become the most memorable and meaningful part of your entire exchange experience. That is why we carefully choose our host families and we do our best to find the right family for you, often in collaboration with local organizations and employees in the area.
All host families are different, just like here at home. There are sporty families and families that spend a lot of time on their house and garden. There are families who are involved in volunteer work or in the local congregation, and there are host families with and without children. But they all always have a genuine interest in their students, and your arrival will very likely be the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
Feel at home. Communicate. Help out with household chores and respect the rules of the home, just like you would at home with your own family. In return, you will gain unique insight into a new lifestyle and culture, which is different from the mass tourism you would typically experience when traveling. Maybe you want to experience Thanksgiving in the US, afternoon tea in the UK, or watch a soccer game in Italy? Every country has its own charm, and we promise that you will have lots of wonderful memories together!
Your host family is responsible for you and for food and lodging throughout your stay. You are responsible for other costs, such as hygiene products, bus passes, leisure activities, travel, clothing and more. Your host family decides things like when you should be home and what you are expected to help out with in the home. They will appreciate your participation in various activities and family traditions, but of course, you will also have time for your own free-time activities. Always tell your host family where you’re going and remember that your host family would very much like to meet your new friends.