Making your student feel at home

Once your exchange student has had a chance to settle in, take some time to help them adjust to your home. Share your house rules, explain what life is like in your community and discuss some important family activities.

House tour

Soon after your student arrives, take them on a guided tour of your home. Show them each room in your house, explain how to operate any appliances and share the normal day-to-day schedule in your home. Be patient while reviewing these items on your house tour, and take time to ensure your student is following along. You could even write down any important things to remember like instructions for the washing machine or wifi password. Providing your student with this information in the first few days will help them adjust to daily life in your home.

House rules

It’s important to treat your student like a family member, not a guest. They should be expected to follow the rules and help out with household chores. Make sure to explain to your student why you’ve set certain rules in your home. Due to different cultural and family backgrounds, your student may not automatically understand why certain guidelines are in place. Knowing the reasons behind your rules will help your student appreciate your guidance and make them more committed to fitting into your home. It may also be important to demonstrate how to do a particular chore, as it might be different from what your student does at home. In some cultures, parents’ rules are more negotiable, so don’t be surprised if your student questions your rules at first, or even asks for adjustments.

Welcome to the neighbourhood

In the first few days, take your student on a tour of your community. Show them the way to school so they feel prepared when their first day comes. Show them the local hangouts for teens and your favorite spots in town. Plan a welcome party for a few weeks after your student arrives. Invite family and friends to meet your student and help them get acquainted with community members. Doing this shortly after your student arrives gives them some time to adjust before meeting new faces, and it gives your family an activity to plan together!

Share your traditions

Think of some family customs and traditions that are important to you or are a part of your regular routine. Does your family sit down together for dinner in your assigned seats at the table and share stories? Do you have a regular family game night at home? Do you follow a sports team and wear their team colours on game day? Do you do anything special to celebrate holidays? Whatever your traditions, share them with your student, express why they’re important to you and make sure to include your student at every turn. Incorporating your student into your routine is a great way to make them feel part of the family.

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