How to Have Fun with a Host Student

Ever thought of hosting an exchange student? It was the best month Hubby and I have had in a long time. We planned a ton of activities each weekend that allowed us to view our neighborhood, and city. It was great seeing the sparkle in the student’s eye when she saw something that her home country doesn’t have. For example, we took her to a drive-in movie theater. They have movie theaters in China, but she has never seen a drive-in other than in American movies. Her eyes sparkled to see rows of cars, bbq grills and large screens.

So if you have decided to open your doors to a student, please do so. It will a life altering experience. Try this ideas on for size to give the student a taste of your corner of your country.

1. Ask the student what she does on her day off. This will give you an idea of how she spends her time. You will find out if she is a home-body or a social butterfly. You will also get to see if you over-planned her free time or under-planned her free time. 

2. Ask her what she does not like to do. This simple question can come loaded with responses so grab some paper. We were pleasantly surprised that our student does not like sports of any kind. Her school scheduled sport related things so we figured she would be enjoy those type of activities. She grumbled each time she had to follow the school's plan.  We were glad that we took those activities off the list. 

3. Ask if she is shy. Being shy can put a damper on what you do with a student. No need to take her to a crafting party with 15 ladies that will quiz her about her home country when a quiet theater fits the bill. 

4. Do home country/city-related activities. Many 1st and 2nd world countries are advanced enough in technology. If she is coming from China or Japan, you might be surprised at their technology and how this effects the activities you planned. Do things that we take for granted or even considered old fashioned. Movies and music in the park, making ice cream in a ice cream maker, Trampoline park, indoor water parks and even put-put golfing can be unique to people around the world. 

5. Eating can be an activity. Think about a taco, hamburger, frozen yogurt and salad bar. Many countries around the world do not have the concept of buying a "plain" item and allowing you to fill it up with as main goodies as you want. It's a two for one. 

6. Everyday activities can be different. Don't forget to include her into your weekly shopping trips. My student learned a new word, "errands" one Saturday as I traveled from the farmer's market, grocery store, drug store and then a thrift store. She loved the farmer's market as it reminded her of home. And the thrift store deserved a full explanation as this concept was new to her. She walked out the store with a purse, toy and camera.

7. Pictures last a lifetime. Students are busy taking pictures, but dont forget to take her camera and get her in the action. She will be glad to have the memory. Also, ask her to show you pictures of her life. Her camera is also filled with her hometown, favorite meals, best friends being silly and parents caught in the action. 

I hope you take the moment to consider hosting an exchange student. The first time I was an exchange student, I was 14 years old. It was the first of many times, but unique in it's own right. Make a difference today!


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