When it comes to sharing, many of us share our lives with our friends, our families, and our neighbors. We enjoy sharing our experiences as we gain happiness and value through human connections. Rarely, however, do we consider sharing our home life with strangers from countries or cultures other than our own.
Nevertheless, as our lives become increasingly international so too does the desire to have real cultural exchange. Here are the top-6 reasons to share your home with an international student.
1. Gain an international son, daughter or sibling
When you invite an international student into your home you build a unique bond as they share with you their new experiences. Witness your host daughter make new friends, navigate a strange supermarket and take the bus into an unknown city to discover hidden spots that you never knew existed. Seeing your home through fresh eyes is a great way to re-experience your city in a new light.
2. Enjoy the differences
Ask questions, be curious, and learn from each other. Share stories about how you experienced school at their age, learn about your differences, and teach each other about your likes, dislikes, and dreams. Perhaps they’ll introduce you to new customs, new foods, a new author, or your next adventure abroad, and maybe you can do the same.
3. Share your hobbies and interests
Does your local football team need a new fan? Take your host student with you when you head to the game Sharing your passions is a great way to showcase your own culture, not to mention it’s a great opportunity for your host student to collect some new vocabulary while you sing your team’s anthem.
4. Share your favourite food
Food brings people together: watching your host student try fish and chips in a British seaside destination, witnessing them taste their first real Italian pizza in Rome, or be part of their first American diner experience while they try a 6oz burger and cheese fries is a fun way to bridge the cultural gap. Students come from all types of cultural backgrounds, so the chances are they will be excited to try your favourite national dish. Ever wanted to try a Swedish cinnamon bun? If you’re lucky, your host student will cook you their favourite treats at home!
5. Share your language
Whether your student is staying with you for a week, a month, or a year, they’ll be absorbing your language at every opportunity. Watching your favourite films together or listening to your local radio station can be a great way to immerse them into your culture. Witness their language skills grow as they practice the words they are collecting in the classroom. Before you know it, they’ll be communicating in popular colloquialisms and using local slang. Use this opportunity to learn their native language also!
6. Change someone’s life
Studying in a new country and environment can be both intimidating and challenging, and being part of a student’s life while they adapt to new surroundings can be a hugely rewarding experience. At the end of their time abroad, you and your student will take away everlasting memories and a lifelong friendship. Send each other Christmas cards and keep in touch. And who knows, after your student leaves, there may be the opportunity to visit them in their home country!