Some students may initially suffer from stress. Most families should expect
an adjustment period. Let your coordinator know if your student is eating
poorly or not communicating for more than 2 or 3 days, but do not panic. Culture
shock is common; usually it will not last long. Culture shock, jet lag and
language fatigue go together. They may involve exhaustion and a desire in
the student to isolate him or herself. Some students may also be
overwhelmed by the space of American homes.
Students from other cultures usually have had limited exposure to our types
of food. We have found with our Asian students that they like noodles,
rice, potatoes, chicken, pork, cooked vegetables and fresh fruit. European
and Latin American students have had more exposure to our diet, but they
also have their own food preferences and cooking styles. When your student
arrives, talk to him or her about what sorts of foods he/she prefers.
Remember, however, that they are here to experience American culture and to
try new foods.
Pets may be a new experience for your student. Introduce your student to
your pet by controlling the pet and observing your student's reaction. Many
people, including other Americans, do not appreciate dogs, for example,
jumping on them or licking their hands and faces. Be sensitive to any
anxieties or fears that the student displays. Respect boundaries that the
student may wish to establish with your pet. Recognize that cultural
differences and individual preferences exist.
Some of our exchange students may be allergic to dust or animal hair.
Please check your student's application and see if there is anything in
your house that may bother him.
Emergency telephone numbers will be printed at the top of the name list
which you will receive at the Host Family Orientation. It will include
where to take students to the hospital if necessary. In an emergency, the
NISE office or your Group Coordinator also has access to an interpreter 24
hours a day.
Students already have two to five years of English grammar and reading.
However, when they first arrive, allow them time to hear and speak English.
Write out your words if there is a problem. However, even if your student
is shy at first, talk to him/her. We emphasize listening skills at the
beginning of the program, and then speaking after that.
Note: "Hearing" another language is difficult and requires
hard work. Some students have natural abilities in this area, while others
donít. Other problems sometimes arise because a studentís command of
English isnít good enough to use courtesy language, such as "may
I" or "please", as a regular part of the conversation.
Host families are encouraged to participate in certain program activities,
including the Welcome and Farewell parties.
Students come here insured for medical emergencies and dental accidents
only, e.g. falling and breaking a tooth or bone. Host families should not
pay medical or dental bills! NISE will provide you with the appropriate
information for payment of the hospital or physician. For routine
medical/dental services, students know that they will have to pay. (Each
student comes with an insurance card.)
The list of day-to-day activities from the day of the students' arrival to
the day of departure will be handed out at orientation. Please post on your
refrigerator. You need to know when to supply a bag lunch and when to pick
up your student.
You will receive a list of the participating American families. That list
will be useful for carpooling as well as for information sharing. (You will
also receive a phone tree for emergency phoning.)
Your student may bring gifts from his or her family. Please accept them
graciously, but do not feel that you have to reciprocate. After all, you
are providing the student with room and board. If you want to give the
student something small, a collection of photographs or a tee-shirt, for
example, it is okay. It is not expected for you to send return gifts to the
Your student will bring spending money. He/she should be cautioned not to
carry too much around (unless itís in travelerís checks) and to be sure it
is secured at your home.
The host family should let the Group Coordinator know where theyíll be if
they travel for the weekend. As long as the Coordinator knows, it is
permissible for students to spend extra days away from their home
community; this might be a three-day trip to the Coast or to the mountains.
Leave your phone number and address in case there is an emergency, and we
need to contact you.