Meeting your new host family
Tips for contacting your host family
Receiving the news of your new host family is one of the most exciting days of your exchange program.
When the long awaited day arrives you will be filled with so much excitement, however, making contact for the first time might feel a little daunting, or at least a bit strange!
For those preparing to make contact soon, we recently caught up with Olivia who is off to Italy later this year, to get some tips for making contact and building a relationship with your new family members.
Written by Olivia, SCCE Student
My First Host Family Contact
Making contact with my host family for the first time was both very exciting and also very nerve racking. This is a big step, but it is also a great step to take to become comfortable with your exchange family.
Remember they are just as excited about you coming to live with them as you are.
After I had been given my placement details I added my host mother on Facebook and from there she messaged me. Don’t worry if they don’t have social media, email is fine.
The best ways to continue the relationship
Following the initial connection on social media, we emailed each other and my host mum sent me some photos across, then she suggested that we should talk on WhatsApp.
Talking on WhatsApp has been great and I suggest you talk to your host family on there if they have it, it is an easy and fun way of communicating, it has been the best contact for me. I have also spoken to one of my host brothers on there too.
How often to contact
When I first started talking to my host family we spoke all the time, learnt about each other and our families. We shared so much.
Not only did this help me but I believe it also helped my host family, they now know who I am so they can enjoy and feel comfortable with the experience too. We both had so many questions.
Tips for building a good relationship
Some of the things I believe helped me were:
- Being open about my life
- Making contact with them as soon as possible
- Answering questions that they had and sharing stories about my family’s way of life
- Coming out of my comfort zone and not being shy
- Being very thankful and making an effort to talk to them regularly
- Being open minded
- Attempting to speak Italian which they appreciated so much as it showed I was making an effort
What can we talk about?
Some of the things we spoke about were:
- My host brothers sports
- Sharing the sports I play
- What we eat for breakfast
- Helping each other with the different languages
- Our school lives
- What we like to do for fun and much more
All of these helped me connect and I now have a great relationship with my host family, all before my exchange.
A little extra tip for those looking for something special
I also sent my host family a few gifts in the mail, they absolutely loved it and were so grateful, they videoed themselves opening it and their reaction was priceless.
Making small gestures can mean so much to some people, I recommend doing this for your host family before and after and during your exchange. Such small things can help you also feel connected and helps when you are trying to relate to your host family.
Olivia’s Family opening her gifts
Last piece of advice
In my experience, the photos that I got from my host family were very reassuring for myself and my family, which made my experience so much fun and less stressful. So share photos as soon as you can.
Also remember, just be open to the new experience, take it as it comes and try your best!