Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student

Written by kate bradley
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Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
Be there for your foreign exchange student every step of the way. (students image by Ivanna Buldakova from Fotolia.com)

Hosting a foreign exchange student can be incredibly rewarding for you, but the experience can often be overwhelming for the student. Ease his mind and set him on the path to success by creating an environment that is kind, supportive, helpful and nurturing.

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The Welcome

Meet your foreign exchange student at the airport and start making her feel welcome right away. Ask her how she's feeling; if she's tired or homesick, go home and let her rest and get acclimated. Give her a small gift in celebration of her arrival. If she's feeling excited, be excited with her. Take her to a bed and bath supply store on the way home and tell her to pick out new sheets and a comforter for her bed. Treat her to a welcome dinner at a family restaurant on her first night. You could also hold a small party to officially welcome her to your home or neighbourhood. Invite neighbourhood kids of the same age and give her a head start on a new social life.

Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
Treat your foreign exchange student like a new family member. (family image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Extra-curricular Activities

Exchange student hosts are never expected to provide anything beyond room and board, but you can give your student a richer experience by being more generous and involved. Support your foreign exchange student when he wants to take up an activity such as baseball, piano or debate. Pay the registration or uniform fees. Go to his events and cheer him on. Volunteer to be a coach or assistant. Never make him feel that he has to pass up a chance to experience something for lack of funds or transportation. Treat him as much as possible like your own child -- help him grow and become more well-rounded in any way you can.

Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
Encourage your student's interest in America's pastime. (baseball in glove image by leafy from Fotolia.com)

Cultural Education

Take a genuine interest in your student's culture and language. Ask her to teach you some of her language; have actual lessons and provide her with spending money in exchange. Ask her about her favourite native dishes, then research one or two and cook them for her as a surprise. Or, create a new tradition and cook a meal from her home country twice a week. Observe her country and/or religion's holidays while she is living with you. Decorate your home appropriately and ask what you can do to make the occasion authentic and special for her.

Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
Cook your student's favourite native dish. (cooking image by Daria Miroshnikova from Fotolia.com)

Nuts and Bolts

There are many small details that make life easier when you know your exchange student. Prepare a "how-to" list before he arrives. Include details about things like buying an international phone card (unless he'll be using an online service to make calls) and using your city's public transportation. Take him on a tour of the city and point out relevant places like the post office, pharmacy and park. Show him his new school and introduce him to his teachers. Jump-start his social life by preparing a list of possible clubs to join, volunteer activities, church social groups or academic societies.

Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
A city map can help your student get oriented quickly. (Map image by Stephen VanHorn from Fotolia.com)

Gifts

Keep your eyes open during your exchange student's stay and buy her things that you think would help make life easier or more enjoyable. For example, you could purchase a small book light for reading at night, a prepaid cell phone for calling her new friends or even an inexpensive bicycle. You don't have to spend a lot of money to help your student feel welcome and comfortable.

Nice things to do for your foreign exchange student
Give your exchange student her own set of wheels. (bicycle image by david harding from Fotolia.com)

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