Ways to be a great guest and enjoy your exchange program
Taste everything you are offered by your host family and others associated with the exchange. If you don’t like it, be polite, keeping your opinion to yourself unless asked.
Keep all phone calls and computer time very short. Your hosts may pay per minute of use and it generally is quite expensive compared to our costs. Take an international calling card with you for calls home and use an internet cafe for longer usage.
Bring a gift for your host family and give it to them soon after your arrival. Also, take small gifts for the host student and any siblings too.
Be willing to try and participate in every activity the host parents plans for you. You may opt out after giving it a try, if necessary.
If you attend your host’s school you may be a curiosity and the center of attention. Pay close attention and be polite to all. Be prepared to respond when asked how your school compares to theirs.
Keep all negative judgmental opinions to yourself. It is okay to comment that we do this and that differently, but don’t say that we do things better. No one wants to hear that!
Keep your sleeping area orderly even if you don’t do it at home. If your host family is typical, they will have a neat, orderly home with less space that you are accustomed to. They will appreciate you following their lead.
Don’t hog the bathroom. Most apartments/homes have a single bathroom that the entire family must share. Be thoughtful of the others. You will likely use the same towel on multiple days.
Be ON TIME for everything. Punctuality is important to our hosts.
Follow any house rules. Remember, it’s their house, and you are the guest.
Ask how you may help around the house but don’t be surprised if they decline your offer. Get enough sleep so you have energy to fully participate in ALL ACTIVITIES.
Your host family may offer to do your laundry. Understand that their clothes washers are typically small and may take 1.5 hour per load. Not all families will have dryers.
Recycle, recycle, recycle!