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Misconceptions About Hosting

January 28, 2011

If you are inexperienced with hosting, the initial thought can be overwhelming and frightening.  Many people ask themselves, “Am I prepared financially and emotionally to invite a complete stranger to be part of my family?”  Instead of looking towards the benefits of hosting, general misconceptions rise up to cause genuine concerns and worries for many prospective hosts.  Take for example the few myths listed below.

It will cost an arm and a leg to host an international student. Hosting a student will definitely increase expenses and utilities in your household.  In order to offset these costs, Heritage Student Foundation offer a monthly stipend to cover the student’s room & board and transportation.  Students will also be responsible for their personal expenses including weekday lunch purchases, and they arrive with medical insurance.

Since I have no knowledge of the native language of the student, I will not be able to understand him/her. International students are fully prepared to study abroad.  Students need to demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension of the English language or the school in attendance offers an ESL (English as Second Language) course.  Many students are taught English from an early age while attending school in their native country.  By the time students enter high school, they have a basic understanding of English.

Host families need to cater to the student’s every need. This myth is completely false.  International students are advised to adapt to their host family’s lifestyles.  They are informed that they are an additional member of the host family.  This means that any house rules regarding curfew, chores, internet usage, etc. also apply to the student.

I will have to become the legal guardian for the student during his/her stay. The student’s legal guardianship does not transfer from the native parents to the host parents.  Hosts will be the guardian for the student for school related purposes such as permission slips, report cards, and emergency contacts.

There are  numerous responsibilities of hosting, but proper international student agencies will advise and prepare the host family.  The cultural exchange can be greatly beneficial to both the host family and student.  Prospective hosts should not be scared away from hosting misconceptions.

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