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View Full Version : Has anyone hosted an exchange student, or been one?


ttaM
Jan 21st, 2003, 07:48 PM
I'm studying German this semester and might go to Germany for 4 weeks as an exchange student through my university. I would be going to Darmstadt, Germany. I've been to Munich twice, but only for 2 days each time. Can anyone tell me anything about being an exchange student or the city Darmstadt. :D

gentenaire
Jan 21st, 2003, 07:56 PM
We've hosted dozens of exchange students from all over the world. My eldest brother went to Australia for a year, my second to the USA for a year, my sister spent one year in Japan. I've done three short term exchanges, one to Australia, South Africa and Japan. I've only had good experiences. The students staying with us have all been wonderful as well, only one negative experience to report. I'll post some more about it later.

ttaM
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:04 PM
Ok. Thanks

gentenaire
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:10 PM
First things first: Go for it! It's a wonderful experience.

We've never had problems with any of the American exchange students. They felt comfortable pretty quicly. It's important that you see your host family as 'family' which means that if you help around the house (dishes, just do what the other kids do), you'll be greatly appreciated and you'll feel at home in no time. My host brothers and sisters were teasing me after a while, we were bickering and taunting eachother as if we'd known eachother our entire life! I felt it was wonderful.
Japanese students are quite different, after 6 weeks, they're still guests, they still don't dare ask for a glass of water. Americans OTOH generally take it from the fridge themselves right away ;) That's so much easier for the host family! I must confess we were surprised at how quickly the Americans made themselves at home, but we didn't mind, quite the contrary.

Don't expect a replica of the USA, Germany is a different country, don't focus on the good things American has that Germany hasn't, but on the good things Germany has that America hasn't.

Out of politeness, eat whatever your host mom is serving for dinner. Even if you don't really like it, just eat a little of it.

Try to learn the language a little (but I see you already are). You don't have to be very good at the language, just showing that you're trying, that you're willing to learn is greatly appreciated.

gentenaire
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:25 PM
And I know it's a cliché, but just be yourself. No one's expecting you to act like Germans. It's a two-way culture trading experience. While you learn about the German culture, your host family will learn about the American culture through you.

ttaM
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:27 PM
Cool. Thank you. My German teacher is from Hungary and is really nice. He told our class about this and I jumped up to get an application. He said I would just need to pay for the ticket to get there. Obviously I need money to spend, etc. I don't really have any problems living with a family. That is a selling point IMO. I think I would be a little nervous about just going through their stuff (refrigerator, etc.) But I'm sure they would tell me it's OK. Damn I want to leave today! LOL. Sounds like you've had fun with your exchange students. Thanks again for sharing.

Tammy
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:39 PM
um i haven't exactly hosted one for a long period of time but i was basically a "mentor" to a gal from germany back in high school.. (ie: i had to show her around, get her aquainted with her teachers, help her with homework, or anything else to the extent if she was having trouble with anything, more so just someone to talk to if she needed too...)

.. she was actually staying with the german teacher until he ended up breaking his leg and ended up in the hospital for a couple of weeks (in which she stayed at my house during his surgery, ect..) .. and i didn't mind it in the least :)- but that said idk if i would even be able to host a student for a long period of time :o ..its just too bad she got stuck with my dysfunctional family for 2 weeks poor gal :o

..anyhow go for it :) - im sure you'll find it to be eye opening ...

irma
Jan 21st, 2003, 08:42 PM
have fun and take as much as possible from it gomonica:)

I never did these things when I was young. I think it's important though to see other parts of the world :)

MartianJoeyWinson
Jan 21st, 2003, 10:28 PM
"Out of politeness, eat whatever your host mom is serving for dinner. Even if you don't really like it, just eat a little of it. "

That's true, I went on the french exchange with school in summer '99 (the week Marti lost 1st rd at wimby :()

Anyway, things to do, if none of them can speak the language well, you have to really push the boat out with your linguistical skills.

But regarding food, when I was asked "do you like tomatoes", I said "yes!". I presumed they were going to put tomatoes in stuff. Imagine my horror when I got a plate of tomatoes for my lunch. Yes, a place of sliced tomatoes and some bread. I eat it all, and to be honest that's a bit unfair cos they did cook me some good stuff too.

But another incident was when I was asked if I liked Tea. Now I love tea, I love the drink which comprises of tea, milk, sugar and hot water. I very rarely turn down a cuppa.

Imagine my horror when they come back from shopping with 8 litres of ICED TEA. I had to drink it, well, I go through one bottle before I just had to tell them. I think iced tea is awful... (I said it more politely than that). Plus one of me mates unbelievably got uncooked bacon in their butties from their exchange parents.

But ya, it's worth doing...

ttaM
Jan 21st, 2003, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by JoeyWinson
"Out of politeness, eat whatever your host mom is serving for dinner. Even if you don't really like it, just eat a little of it. "

That's true, I went on the french exchange with school in summer '99 (the week Marti lost 1st rd at wimby :()

Anyway, things to do, if none of them can speak the language well, you have to really push the boat out with your linguistical skills.

But regarding food, when I was asked "do you like tomatoes", I said "yes!". I presumed they were going to put tomatoes in stuff. Imagine my horror when I got a plate of tomatoes for my lunch. Yes, a place of sliced tomatoes and some bread. I eat it all, and to be honest that's a bit unfair cos they did cook me some good stuff too.

But another incident was when I was asked if I liked Tea. Now I love tea, I love the drink which comprises of tea, milk, sugar and hot water. I very rarely turn down a cuppa.

Imagine my horror when they come back from shopping with 8 litres of ICED TEA. I had to drink it, well, I go through one bottle before I just had to tell them. I think iced tea is awful... (I said it more politely than that). Plus one of me mates unbelievably got uncooked bacon in their butties from their exchange parents.

But ya, it's worth doing...

Well, what if you know they are making something you know you really don't like, and might make you sick. I'm sure it would be more polite to say you don't like than barf during dinner. ;) I understand what you're saying. Though I'm not sure if I can eat a plate full of tomatos. I HATE tomatos. ;)

Scotso
Jan 21st, 2003, 11:43 PM
We Americans do make ourselves at home wherever we want, don't we ;)

I think it would be neat to have an exchange student stay with me.

2284
Jan 22nd, 2003, 06:08 AM
I've never actually been an exchange student, but I have been billeted for shorter amounts ( on 3 week tours and stuff) of time both here (Australia) and in NZ. My experiences were all positive, but I have heard some pretty bad stories from other people

i-girl
Jan 22nd, 2003, 07:01 AM
we had an american student from NYU in our house. she was lovely, no trouble at all. I was in the 12th grade then, and we had loads of fun. she hardly ate, though, which made my mom constantly try to feed her. she chased her around with plates of food;) :D . but I think that's an Israeli thing, I'm sure they aren't as obssesive as my mom in Germany.

Caoimhe
Jan 22nd, 2003, 10:51 AM
I went to Spain when I was 14.
It was the best experience EVER! I didn't know much Spanish at the time but after a few days there I had already learned more than I could have in a few weeks at school.
The family I stayed with spoke no English so I had to speak the language!
Couldn't handle the eating dinner so late at night though.

spiceboy
Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:04 PM
Originally posted by Caoimhe
Couldn't handle the eating dinner so late at night though.

That's the only bad thing about my 3 months in US, the dinner time: for me it was so weird to have dinner with sunlight at 6.30 pm used to eat dinner about 4 hours later in Spain ;)

On the other way, I spent such a wonderful summer in which I took trips to NYC, Boston, Niagara Falls, Toronto and the beautiful New England :)

Emola
Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:14 PM
I wish I had :( but I havent but I can tell you that one of my best friends from another school went on a Spanish exchange and now those 2 girls are best friends,they talk every day on the phone or msn and regularly go and visit each other.So Id say you have nothing to lose!I just wish I had the chance :(

ttaM
Jan 23rd, 2003, 06:19 PM
Cool. :)

My German teacher asked me if I was going to Germany later this year. I said, "I hope so." But him mentioning that to me is a very positive sign I will be going. :)

Master Lu
Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:10 PM
Originally posted by King Scotso of Aragon
I think it would be neat to have an exchange student stay with me.

I imagine the student would get quite an education from you, if it happened to be a he. :devil:


Back to the point, my best friend spent a year in a host family in America, a he still considers it his other family. Even I got to know them, and they're fantastic. He still goes to vacations with them, spends breaks in Sant Luis (he's in a Uni in Washington now) and talkes to the all the time. They've become litteraly a part of his family. The host mum even came to Croatia, and had a great time. ;)

I did hear some horror stories, which is why I was never keen on trying it. It'd probably do me good, but oh well...

ttaM
Jan 23rd, 2003, 07:54 PM
Thanks.

I've heard some horror stories too. But I heard you fill something out about your personality, and things you like to do, so that they can match with a family that has some what of an identical liking. So...guess I have to wait and see.

NJjeff
Jan 23rd, 2003, 09:13 PM
I was an exchange student in Japan for a year when I was 18. It was an incredible experience I would recommend to everyone.

One caution.... most students are prepared for culture shock when they move to a new country, but are not warned of the difficulties of returning to their own country. In my case, this is much more difficult!!

Scotso
Jan 23rd, 2003, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by Master Lu
I imagine the student would get quite an education from you, if it happened to be a he. :devil:

lmao!

I'm a good boy :p

splat
Jan 28th, 2003, 06:37 PM
I've done both. I had a student from Australia come to live with me for 3 months, and that was amazing. Then, I went to live with her for a school year when I was 15. I also spent 2 months in Quebec two summers ago. I would recommend exchanges to anyone who is a little nervous, but excited. I am planning on spending a year in France in 3rd year university, and I can hardly wait. I agree though, sometimes it is harder to come back to your own country afterwards. i Know I changed a whole lot and was somewhat resentful when I came back.

Big Fat Pink Elephant
Jan 28th, 2003, 06:52 PM
i have 7 friends who have been exchange students in US (one was in ecuador) during high school and they all loved it! their host families were great. all of them still ahve contact with them actually :)
some friends of mine has also been host families, not a problem at all, as long as ppl are relaxed and not afraid of new enviroments, i'm sure things will work out just fine! The exchange students at my former HS all had a great time, they got used to the norwegian ppl, food and traditions, and most of the didn't mind it being - 20 C outside :D

Tine - what you said about the japanese is true.. i think that goes for the rest of the asian population... lol i find it quite hard and uncomfortable coz i am not like that, and ppl kinda expects me to be.... :o