||I was asked to host
a student abroad in a way that I couldn’t refuse.
Because the choice of becoming a host family did not originate
from you, you may possibly think of the situation as a burden. This may cause
you to miss the opportunities hosting a student abroad could bring you. You now need
to find your own motivations for hosting the student that will allow you to enjoy
and learn from this situation.
||Hosting a student
abroad will be a great opportunity for our whole family to learn English.
Remember that the student abroad is studying Japanese and
wants to improve his/her Japanese during the homestay too. So you may have conflicting
goals. Focusing too much on English as the main goal of the homestay may also
cause you to miss other interesting and enjoyable aspects of being a host family.
||We thought hosting
a American/European exchange student would make our family really international.
A homestay is going to require more than just having the
student reside at your house though. “Becoming international” really
means wanting to create and sustain relationships with foreigners like the exchange
students. It also means relating to others besides European/Americans. Do you
feel you want to do this?
||We thought that
having an exchange student in the house would give our young children a chance
for an intercultural experience.
Yes, but you shouldn’t think of the benefits as being
spectacular and immediately visible (such as immediate fluency in English). The
benefits to your children may be quite subtle, such as being able to relate to
foreigners in everyday situations, and thinking that this is “ordinary”.
Developing a relationship with the student, and helping the family host the student
are also definite pluses for the children.
|| We wanted to have
a chance to come in contact with American culture and English first-hand.
Many families report that they gained valuable insights about
language and culture through the process of everyday life with the homestay student.
They also gained insights on their own language and culture as well. But focusing
too exclusively on American culture and English may cause you to miss out on other cultural opportunities that are valuable as well.
||Because our daughter was taken
care of in a homestay abroad, we want to reciprocate.
This is a worthwhile reason for becoming a host family. At
the same time, while your daughter was the primary beneficiary of her homestay,
you are the ones who can now get to know someone from another country directly.
You can be beneficiaries, as well as “paying something back”.
||We wanted to understand
the younger generation, and thought getting to know a 20 year old from another
country would be one way of doing this.
This attitude will probably lead you to very interesting experiences. Many host families report that they were able to get to know, not only their homestay student, but his/her friends as well. These relationships gave both sides windows into worlds that they had never known before, and which they could continue after the homestay was over.