Deciding to become a host family is probably one of the most rewarding experiences you could have. Being a host means welcoming a stranger, usually a foreign student, into your household for a certain period of time at no cost.
In the US, becoming a host is purely voluntary. Host families do not get paid for what they do. There’s also a basic application criteria that must be met in order to officially be listed as a host. The family must consist of at least one adult and be tolerant to different traditions and cultures. The family must also be able and willing to provide all meals during their visitors’ stay, including a private area for sleeping and changing.
If you’re an international student, looking for high school host families is a practical and enjoyable move to receive your education. But what’s in it for the host family? Here are the top 3 benefits to being one:
- You get to share your own culture
Welcoming someone from another race and culture is a perfect opportunity to share your own. As a host, you become not only a second family to the student, but also their go-to guide in learning and understanding your culture. There are several ways to share your culture. The most effective is to introduce them to your local food scene. Food is definitely something unique in every country. The type of food in your locality is something that sticks to foreigners, and as a host, it’s a must to showcase dishes and specialties that make your town unique.
And It’s not just food, you can also show around key areas and historical places that make up your heritage distinct. Museums, parks, and libraries are all very informative places. Sharing folklores and local myths and legends are interesting too. Language is also something you’ll inevitably share to your au pair. Next to food, language is a powerful cultural aspect that allows you to bond more with your guest.
- You learn about new cultures
Sharing your culture isn’t a one way street. Part of being a host is being open minded and welcoming to new ideas. As you help your guest get comfortable by introducing him to your local culture, you also learn about the country your guest came from. It’s an interesting and definitely enriching experience learning about different types of people, traditions, and beliefs. You get to learn a lot and your mind gets to travels places without leaving the comforts of your home. Being a host expands your horizon and allows you to connect to different lands and cultures.
- You build lifelong friendships
In this world we live in, connections and socialization is vital. Having friends from all over the world and keeping in touch with them is a heartwarming experience. We’re lucky to be in a day and age where diversity is embraced more and there’s no stopping people of different cultures and races from becoming friends. Hosting a student and treating him like family is one step closer to achieving world peace. Becoming a host family not only expands your social circle, but it also expands your family in ways you don’t know.