Living with a host family – good questions to ask

American Customs

Americans speak to one another very directly.

American society is made up of immigrants from many different countries. Each American family will have customs and traditions that reflect their family’s individual heritage. Because of this there are many types of families in America and your family may be different than what you were expecting.

Men and women in American households share equal responsibilities. Women should be treated with the same respect, attention and consideration as shown to men.

Some host families have a relaxed schedule, while other families are very busy. Some families will have lots of time to sit down and talk with you and other families may be too busy to talk other than at dinnertime.

In the United States, it is okay to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand. If your host family says something that you don’t understand, please ask them to repeat it or write it down. Most homestay problems occur because of a miscommunication between students and host families. Please talk with your host family if something is bothering you.

Your host parents may be young or they may be retired. They may have children or they may not. Some American families are “single parent families” where there is only one parent in the household.

Your family will want to know about you, your family, and your home life in your country. They will enjoy seeing photos of your family and friends.

It is considered polite to ask your host parents about their work and their interests. Your host brothers and sisters will be pleased if you ask them about their friends, and the things that they like to do.

Family members normally greet one another in the morning, such as “good morning”, and whenever they return home. They will also say “goodnight” when going to bed.

Use “please” when you need help with something, and “thank you” when your host family or anyone else shows you kindness. It is very polite to use these words.

Your host family will need to know your day-to-day plans. It is very polite to let them know if you will be coming home late at night or if you will be participating in an after-school activity and you will not be home when expected. Please call home to tell them so that they will not worry about you.