By on March 30th, 2015

How to Overcome Problems with an Exchange Student

A foreign exchange student coming to a new country will definitely experience some obstacles. It is up to a host family to provide a stable, positive environment for their student, but sometimes no matter how much effort is put forth, an arrangement joust may not be ideal for either party. The following information is designed to help families overcome any issues they might have with their student, in order to facilitate the best possible experience for everyone.
student at the airport

It is not uncommon for an exchange student to become homesick in their new environment. Being homesick is one of the biggest reasons a foreign exchange student may feel sad and wish to return home. Often the prospect of visiting and studying in another country is so exciting, the student may fail to stop and think about the fact they will be away from everything they know and everyone they love.

A host family can help ease homesickness by encouraging the student keep in touch with their family back home via email, Skype calls, and writing letters. It is a good idea to remind your student the visit is only for a short time and leaving early will prevent them from making the most of their opportunity.

Time Differences

A student coming from another country may have trouble adjusting to the time and schedule differences in their new home. By setting up a predictable schedule which allows ample time for rest and fun, an exchange student is less likely to suffer from exhaustion due to trying to adjust to the time difference. Allow your student enough time for education, socializing and relaxing, too many activities at once can be overwhelming.

Be an Extended Family for Your Student

A host family needs to be sensitive of the fact their prospective student will probably arrive feeling tired, anxious and like a fish out of water. There are a few things a host family can do to ease any apprehensions a student might be feeling, but the best way to help them fit in is to make them a part of your family. It is quite different to make your exchange student feel welcome and making them an honorary family member. Do things with your guest, talk to them about how they are feeling, let them know you are there for them if they have any problems and include them in family activities.


A host family should remember the student coming to live with them will not have an easy time for the first few days or weeks after arrival. Some students fit right in and have no trouble adjusting to their new life, but others feel so out of place it brings on culture shock. To ease the fear of culture shock, spend quality time with your guest and ask them how you can make them feel more comfortable. Through open and honest communication, you can find out what to do for your student and make their homestay a pleasurable time.

Home Sweet Home

When your family welcomes a foreign student into your home, expect some obstacles and be realistic about the situation. Foreign exchange students have been traveling around the world and doing homestays for many, many years. These programs are vital at helping people in one country understand and learn respect for the cultural differences of another country. A foreign student is going to need support, understanding and compassion from a host family, because it makes the transition into a new environment much less daunting. If you are interested in becoming a host family, visit, to find out more information.