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Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Colorado, Aug 20, 2019.
I've lived there. It's not easy.
Yeah, that's different. I first read that as Colorado.
I’ve heard horror stories of their fans and students following, harassing, and throwing rocks at opposing teams busses after losses in every sport.
As far as I know, that's after my time, but I wouldn't consider it a surprise. It's a surprisingly rough little town/district.
I was an exchange student and our family has hosted 6 students. Our kids are grown now and we don’t want to be tied down but I really miss hosting. It is a wonderful lifelong experience. We visited one of our “daughters” this summer and one last summer. Here’s a bit of advice:
Be flexible. They lived differently, maybe a lot, depending on where they are from.
I treated them like my own child, no better, no worse. I did everyone’s laundry, I did their’s too. If you’re high school daughter does her own laundry, your student can too.
I required they be in at least one school activity each semester. It’s how they make friends. Making friends takes awhile. Be patient. I suggested to them to reach out to kids they meet and invite themselves. A simple “can I join you tonight?” Kids don’t always think about how hard it is to be included.
Don’t put too much pressure on your daughter to be her social outlet. Hopefully it works, but it may not.
Communicate. A lot. Tell her to let you know when something isn’t working and you need to do the same. Don’t think an issue is going to just disappear. It just festers until a small issue becomes a big one.
Smart phones. If she is communicating with her home friends and family a lot, talk to her about it. It is hard to be 100% living and participating here when her brain is regularly communicating with home. I think it’s the toughest part today with students.
Enjoy. Embrace all of it. Hosting made us better parents because we did far more family activities and trips, even just Saturday day trips nearby. We spent many more hours sitting around the dinner table eating and talking instead of everyone grabbing food on the run around busy schedules.
Wish I was hosting.
They sent a foreign exchange student to Colo? Might as well have sent the poor kid to Pyongyang.
The only explanation we were given was "family emergency" as to the reason why the other family couldn't take her. This is a 9 month commitment and everything needs to work for all 9 months. The ES is living with the local coordinator for the exchange program and will move to our house this week.
What KCClone put up is just about everything that they covered during our orientation. We are approaching this as a temporary twin sibling. The ES will be doing the same chores that our daughter does and they will have separate rooms. I'm hoping that since the ES has been here a couple of weeks already, some of the edges have already started to soften in terms of language, culture, etc. Of course, moving into another house will start some of the process all over again. One concern that I do have is my daughter acting as chauffeur for the ES. They're at the same school but their schedules don't exactly line up. It will help that school is only a mile away. And I love the tip about asking what their motivation is for entering the program. That can tell a lot.
My daughter and the ES have already connected on social media and hang out at lunch at school. We're letting that relationship happen organically but expect each of them to include/invite the other with social things like football games and hanging out. At least in the early stages, they seem to have a lot in common with similar personalities.
My parents hosted 3 or 4, after I was out of the house. And my best friend's family in school hosted at least 2 every year for 20+ years. So I got to know a lot of foreign exchange students over the years.
The adjustment was hard. Especially for those from a cosmopolitan European city, coming to live on a farm in Iowa. The culture shock was worse than though coming from a smaller town/rural home, for obvious reasons.
I agree with the other posters who said treat them like your child, not your guest. Give them chores, make them stick to curfew, etc.
It's a fun experience, but just like anything, it's kinda a crap shoot.
Knew of one girl that came to our school from Azerbaijan. Unfortunately it didn't work out as she very good looking. I think the story was she was kind of stuck up as she came from a very wealthy family and for whatever dumb reason the family she was originally placed with had no similar age kids and just had a baby.
I knew several in high school and they were all very nice and I enjoyed hanging out with them. I remember giving one a ride home one day and he was supposed to be giving me directions. We are in a neighborhood and the road split so I asked him which way to go this german smart ass (one reason we got along) just said "I don't care you pick".
My wife has family that has hosted a couple of girls and one just clicked and it was like she was a long lost sister/daughter to the entire family and extended family. Last year she came back and was in one of the biological sisters wedding.
Another benefit of the program that we're a part of is that there are 8 exchange students from that program at my daughter's school. All of those kids occasionally get together and do things all year long. There is a lot of support built into this program.
Next thing you know, there is money missing off your dresser and your daughter is knocked up!
Never hosted but got along pretty well with a lot of the exchange students our small town school had in high school. A couple clicked very well with the school and one in particular comes back to Iowa about once every other year cause he loves it so much. There was also one very attractive girl from Norway my senior year that pretty much every guy had a crush on. According to her Instagram it looks like she does some modeling back in Norway now. No I won’t share
Our hostings were before the internet and smart phones. We let them make a call to let their parents know they had arrived, and a couple of them had pre-arranged calls from their parents on Sunday afternoons - those dwindled to once a month or so once the kids got more acclimated. For their birthdays and for Christmas, we gave each of them a call home.
I’m assuming it’ll be just like Long Duk Dong in 16 Candles....
We had one last year at the school that I teach at that changed families 3 times during the school year. He was from Germany, and really struggled living in rural Iowa.
I had him for class and seemed like a good kid, but when talking about him to the other kids, they said he was totally different when school was out. Very sexist to the gals, talking down to them.
I’ll tackle this from a slight different angle since I was a ES here in the US back in high school. These are things that really helped my transition to American culture and also made my ES year an awesome experience.
1) Like most people have said, treat your ES like family. I did dishes, laundry, rake leaves in the fall, mow yard, etc... the family that I stayed with expected the same from me as they did their kids, and that really helped me feel like part of the family.
2) Encourage your ES to be involved in an activity every quarter. Theater, sports, clubs... making friends becomes a lot easier when you are involved in school activities.
3) I made a personal decision to completely cut out my mother tongue from my life for the first month to moth and a half. No reading news, texts, or talking... only exception was talking to my family about every other weekend. My English was not the greatest, so that really helped me improve fast.
4) Be honest with them and ask them to be honest with you. My family had a straight up no dating allowed, but I started dating my now wife half way through my ES year. I kept a secret at first, but eventually had an honest talk with my host family about it. They weren’t thrilled about it, but in the end they accept the relationship. Having that conversation made things a lot simpler going forward.
I can keep blabbering, but these are the big ones I think.
Oh one last thing, be respectful of their culture... when they are telling you about it be open minded and curious. Culture shock will vary depending where they are from, but hopefully both you and your ES will have a great experience.
Never had one but a guy in a town in my area hosted one and then divorced his wife and married the FES.
So did the 2nd marriage work out?
Ya know the more you talk the more North Central Iowa seems like a different state.