By on May 22nd, 2017

Starting Small with Hosting International Students

Making the decision to host an international student is a big one, but it’s certainly going to be worth it. You’re about to spend a prolonged period of time with someone from another part of the world. It’s going to be amazing!

If you want to see what it will be like, though, one popular option is to open your home to an international student for a shorter period of time, between two and three weeks, for example. This is usually known as a study tour and is the perfect solution to your indecision.

Study Tours Are the Perfect Length of Time

For the vast majority of host parents, two to three weeks won’t be enough time. That is, when the study tour comes to a close, they wish they could spend far more time with their student.

At the same time, even though this is a shorter period of time, you’ll get a real feel for the experience. That way, you will feel confident about picking a longer period of time if you decide to go through with doing it again.

Pick a Student from a Country You’re Familiar With

For a lot of people, part of the fun of hosting an international student is learning about a completely different culture, perhaps one they would otherwise never have the chance to encounter in such an intimate way.

Of course, for your first hosting experience, you may want to choose a student from a culture that you’re familiar with. Even if it’s just for a study tour, it will make a big difference if you already understand their background a bit.

This doesn’t necessarily mean picking someone from a culture that is similar to America’s. You may have traveled abroad yourself, either as a student or for work. In that case, it might make sense to host a student from a country that is nothing like ours, but that you know plenty about.

Look for a Student Who Is Fluent in English

Along the same lines, it will make things a lot easier if your student is 100% fluent in English. In many countries, students begin learning the language in grade school, so by the time they’re older, they’ve completely mastered it.

All international students will have a grasp of the language, of course. Again, though, this is just one more way you can make your first hosting experience a lot easier (and, therefore, even more fun).

Thanks to sites like Skype, you can speak to potential students beforehand and learn all about them by speaking face-to-face. This will also give you an opportunity to gauge how well they can converse in our language.

Fitting More Experiences into Less Time

When you elect to sign up for one of these shorter programs, you’ll have to be a bit more attentive to your student. When you host someone for six months to a year, it’s understandable that you might not take them out for local adventures every single week. You have plenty of time to help them become immersed.

With just a few weeks to work with, though, you’ll need to work a bit harder to show your guest a good time. Considering that it usually takes about a week before everyone is comfortable around each other, you’ll need to be on your game.

Still, the advantage of this shorter period of time is that you won’t take a single moment for granted. You’ll have an easy time appreciating how important it is to make the most out of each day with this person.

Hosting an international student in your home will be one of the best experiences of your life. If you’re not ready to take the leap quite yet, though, shorter programs are a great way to ease into it.