Foreign Exchange Students Adjusting to American Life
There are few times in life when people are so unencumbered that they can simply pick up and jet off to another country for several months in search of knowledge, social activities, and adventure. But students are prime candidates for just such an excursion. With no job, mortgage, spouse, kids, or adult responsibilities to hold them back, students can experience the many benefits of spending a significant amount of time in a foreign country. And with a study abroad program, they can do so in an affordable manner and continue their education in the process. It’s a win-win situation for the student looking to expand his or her horizons. Of course, adjusting to life in another country can be a bit tricky. So here are just a few tips for foreign exchange students that want to acclimate as quickly as possible when they travel to America.
The obvious place to start is by researching the geographic region that will serve as a home away from home. Understanding the weather, the population density (small town versus city, for example), and the amenities offered (public transportation, access to outdoor activities, etc.) can help to ensure that students and their families choose a locale that is most likely to provide the experience they are seeking. And of course, selecting an appropriate host family is essential, as well. With programs like AmeriStudent, this process is made simple thanks to the ability to enter search criteria that help students and parents choose a desirable host family.
But these are just the preliminary steps. How can students understand the variety of life and culture they will encounter before they come to America? The Internet can provide scads of useful information pertaining to the building blocks of culture. Students can learn typical American greetings (both verbal and physical), they can find information on religions and holidays, and they can even look at food options available in the city they plan to live in. And of course, students will benefit immensely from gaining a measure of fluency in English before they jet off to the U.S. for their study abroad programs. But their best source of information and aid will almost certainly end up being their host families.
Most families offer hosting services for foreign exchange students because they are interested in sharing their homes and their culture with students looking to see the world in an entirely new way. And they often want to learn more about the student’s culture in exchange. This sharing is what makes foreign exchange programs so valuable for both host families and students.
And the upside is that host family members are often excited to answer any questions their live-in students might have, and they’ll also walk those students through the ins and outs of daily life. And this includes exposing them to the best that their city has to offer. Host families go out of their way to ensure that students who are far from home feel comfortable and have a wonderful homestay in California, yes, when they elect to study abroad. So although foreign exchange students can do a lot of research before they travel to America, they’re bound to adjust quickly once they arrive thanks to the assistance provided by hospitable host families.