Host families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are couples with kids. Some are single parents or just plain single. Some are retirees with empty nests. They are any ethnicity, any religion, and they have houses both big and small.
So which arrangement is best? What is the “ideal” host family?
When it comes down to it, it’s not these external factors that determine a “good” host family. Ultimately, it’s intangible virtues like warm hospitality, patience, care and concern, commitment, and flexibility that turn “the house I live at” into “my family abroad.”
Host Families Are Vital to a Student’s Success
At AmeriStudent, we recognize that a quality homestay experience is absolutely crucial to a student’s success in their studies abroad. For better or worse, the student’s “home life” in their homestay will have a significant impact on their perspective, their happiness, and their academic efforts. That’s why we do everything in our power to ensure that the student has the best homestay possible. We do background checks, home visits, and require regular reporting to ensure that the home environment is safe. We gather profiles of students and host families to try and make the most compatible matches. And if for some reason things aren’t working out, we do our best to mediate issues or find a better placement to fit the student’s needs. We also offer 24/7 support to our host families and foreign exchange students for any issues that arise throughout the stay.
All this happens on our end, but what about the host family’s responsibilities?
A Great Host Family Is…
The best host families exemplify the traits already mentioned – hospitality, patience, and a commitment to the student’s well-being and success. They have an honest desire to make their student “part of the family” to the best of their abilities. They are involved and aware of what is going on with their student, both academically and in their personal lives. They take advantage of opportunities to create memories and bond through shared experiences. They are flexible and patient, recognizing that things won’t always be smooth sailing, but they are willing to persevere through miscommunications and disagreements. They are willing to get out of their comfort zones and are open to learning new ways of doing things from a different cultural perspective. And of course, they want to provide the best environment possible for their student.
No host family is perfect, and there are bound to be bumps in the journey. But these are the qualities we strive to find and help cultivate in our network of host families.
We are so thankful for all our host families and the wonderful job they do, and we are always looking to add to our network of qualified and available families. If you or someone you know is interested, contact us today to find out more information or apply as a host family online here!