Staying with a host family is a very exciting idea. After all, you are going to meet new people, make friends, learn a new language, eat new food, and a host of other things. You actually cannot wait to go stay with them but going about it with a fixed mindset will spoil the fun and make you a pain to your host family. To avoid such a scenario and make your stay enjoyable for everyone, you have to be open-minded and flexible. Use the following tips to get along well with your hosts.
Bring some photos from home
Your homestay family will feel well considered when you bring photos for them from your country. This can be photos of your family and pets, photos of places you have visited, photos of monuments, and also photos of places they should visit should they travel to your country.
Enquire about the house rules and routines and abide by them
You have joined an already functional family unit that has an organized way of doing things. Don’t take anything for granted and instead ask about how things are done. Things you need to know include; any set meal times, where meals are eaten, any curfews, if alcohol is allowed in the house, if you can you prepare your own meals, if there is a set TV time especially where there are kids because you don’t want them watching TV when they are not supposed to because you put it on unknowingly. Some families also have favorite seats particularly for the father and it is a good idea to inquire about that so that nobody feels displaced.
Give some gifts
Bring your homestay family some gifts from home. If possible keep away from stores’ gifts and instead, go for handmade gifts that are unique to your country. These can be homemade collages of your beloved places, a book about your city or country, board games, t-shirts from your school, your favorite snacks or fabrics with local inscriptions. Similarly, do not forget to leave thank you gifts at the end of your stay. These will be things you can easily find in the stores in your host country. These could be jewelry, toys for the kids, an inspirational book and chocolates among other things.
Have interest in knowing your host family
Your hosts will naturally want to know about your life and where you come from. In reciprocation, spend time with them in their family activities and get to know them. Have a genuine interest in their daily life, language, culture and generally every area of their lives. This will work in your favor because you will appear sociable and this interaction will enable you to learn their language faster.
Respect their culture
If possible learn the culture of the community you are visiting even before you get there. Every society has a culture that is different from yours and it is important to respect theirs. You may have different outlooks on major issues like religion, dressing, and politics but do not show an open bias or try to force your opinions on your homestay family. Because you are a part of this family for the duration of your stay, try to fit in so long as it doesn’t offend you. If anything about their culture puts you off, communicate it in a gracious manner.
Take care of your room
You will have your own room and you should always keep it clean and tidy while also taking care of the things you found in it. Should you break or spoil anything in the room, offer to replace it and actually do it. When you are playing music inside your room, keep the volume down so that you do not disturb other people.
Help with household chores
It is important to help around the house. This could be by performing simple tasks like clearing the table, doing the dishes or it could be bigger tasks like cleaning the house, buying groceries and cooking.
Do not dominate the common areas
Whether it is the kitchen or the sitting room, always remember it is a shared space and other people would like to use it too. If you are in the kitchen making a meal, make it as fast as you can and vacate. Similarly, while watching TV, you should not take it over by controlling the remote and watching for hours on end.
Always inform your host when you have different plans.
If you intend to do something out of your daily routine like come home late or go out for dinner, let your homestay family know so that they are able to plan themselves accordingly. Do not at any one time put their plans into disarray or alarm them by disappearing without notifying them.
Inasmuch as you are abiding by the rules, do not forget to have fun. Ask about the fun places to visit and take a trip there. Learn as much as you can about the culture and adopt any that you love. Learn to cook new meals, speak a new language or even dress differently.
Be polite by always saying thank you for things done for you, saying sorry when you are wrong, saying hello when you come back for the day and goodbye when you leave.