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Tips for Success as a Homestay Visitor

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Global Immersions welcomes visitors from all over the world into their Homestay program consistently throughout the year. Many come to homestay as part of a group for a short-term cultural immersion experience. Others stay in homestay while studying at private high schools or colleges in the Boston area. Young professionals learning English, students touring the U.S., and researchers from all over the world decide to become a part of our homestay experience. While ultimately all our visitors do well and achieve the experience of American culture first hand while living with our host families, some visitors adapt to this huge transition from their home country to the United States more easily than others. Here are some tips many of our most successfully adaptable visitors have used during their time in Boston to gain the most positive homestay experience possible. 

1. Take charge of your experience and pay attention to the details. Some successful visitors have brought a notebook with a pen attached. In this, writing important contacts before leaving your home country is extremely helpful, such as:

  • The name and address of the language school or your daily destination 
  •  Phone number and email of the host family
  •  Name and address of the homestay and host family  
  •  Your home contact information written in English 
  •  Your passport number (in case you lose it)

2. Contact and establish a connection with your host family before arrival. This allows you to be better acquainted with the family in which you will be living before you actually live there making the adaptation to a new home and family easier. Sending a quick email introducing yourself (in English of course) is a great way to break the ice before you even arrive to Boston.

3. Know why you are staying in homestay and coming to Boston. In your notebook, make a note of the top three reasons you are leaving your home, and all that is familiar, to travel far away and stay with an American family. When you are feeling unsure of yourself after arriving, you can remind yourself what you had hoped to gain by going on this adventure!

4. Research Boston and where you will be studying/attending on the web. If you know a bit about the school, city and state are moving to, you will begin to feel at home when you recognize things upon arrival. Did you know for example, Boston has the country's oldest public park (the Boston Common), first ever public beach (Revere Beach), the oldest baseball stadium (Fenway Park in the photo above) and first subway system? Here are some more Boston fun facts

5. When you first arrive- recognize and accept that Americans are very open, friendly and curious people. They appreciate and enjoy outgoing people who smile and ask questions. You may not be naturally open and talkative – but to be successful, give it a try! Practice with your host family. Ask them how long they have lived in Boston; have they visited your country or any other countries outside of the USA; ask them about their animals; ask them about things to do in Boston. Asking questions is a big key to success!

6. Practice saying yes to (almost) everything. Start as you wish to continue – by allowing new experiences in. Try the food (such as lobster in the photo above), drink the water, accept offers of help.

7. And get involved! Engage your host family and ask them about things to do in the city. Make dinner with your host family and attend family events, church, check out an American grocery store, or see a local sports team. Explore the many exciting and beautiful aspects of Boston, from Newbury St. to Chinatown to the Boston Public Garden (in the photo above) and the neighborhood where your homestay is located and share those experiences with others!

8. Be grateful! Even when times are tough, this will be an astonishing opportunity and time in your life. Thank your family for supporting your journey here, your teachers, coworkers, friends and especially thank your host family. Know that you have taken a great opportunity and have been helped by many! A group of Japanese visitors even made this creative 'thank u!' photo for us at Global Immersions, featured in the photo above.  

 So look over these tips before you come to Boston- or if you're already here see what else you can do to even further improve your homestay experience based on these tips!  

What do you think? Are these helpful for you as a visitor? As a host, what else would you consider helpful for visitors to do to ensure a positive homestay? Do you have any input? 
We want to know!

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