Reasons to Consider Being a Host Family

The advantages of hosting a Japanese student are limitless. From the exposure to another culture to the rewarding sense of fulfillment, here are some of the reasons to open your home to a Japanese student.

Personal and Familial Development
Be it travel, school or work, foreign interaction with diverse cultures is a part of life. When individuals and families open their homes to students, personal development is inevitable. Familiarization with another race, culture and ethnicity expands the mind. It offers the entire family a study on how to be adaptive to intercultural interactions and demonstrates how different yet similar we all are.

New Found Respect and Understanding
Once hosts open their homes to students, a natural family-like relationship transpires between the student and the host family. Learning about another person’s culture and interests represents an understanding of the world as seen through the student. By opening your door, you open a student’s eyes to the real America: real people, real experiences, and real life. At the same time, your generosity of spirit creates a positive view of the United States that crosses borders—and lasts a lifetime.

Inspires New Language Possibilities
Learning another language as a host family can be a lot of fun. Children in host families—even adult children—develop and expand analytical skills and even improve their English when they compare English and Japanese. As globalization redefines the world we live in, learning a new language is a rapidly growing asset in the business world. It can be beneficial for both a host and their family. When children are exposed to Japanese students, they can learn the fun and simplicity of learning a new language.

Lifelong Acquaintance
At the conclusion of a student’s stay, many host families and students remain long-term friends. Saying good-bye represents only the next phase of the newly developed, lifelong relationship.

Learn More about their World
Hosting is an excellent way to learn about the world without leaving home. Host families can learn Japanese phrases, get personal insight into the world beyond their backyards, learn to do origami, and even become excellent international cooks! Living with a student from another culture is an education in itself.

Have Fun
Host families and students laugh. A lot. Whether giggling over the mispronunciation of words or sharing students’ excitement about newfound joys, host families have a tremendous amount of fun.

Change the World
Most important is the rewarding sense of fulfillment you will experience as a host family, knowing that you have played a key part in helping a young person achieve his or her dream. It is only normal to feel that you’ve added a new son or daughter to your family, even if only for a short while. And while the visit may end, the relationship will endure across time and distance.

It’s a cliche, but it’s true: when you host a student, you gain the power to change the world, one student at a time.

Myths on Hosting a Japanese Student

There are innumerous misnomers, myths and misconceptions about being a host family for a Japanese student. While the opportunity may seem exciting, a little extra effort is needed to assure a comfortable stay for both the student and the host family.

Myth #1: Host families must speak the student’s native language—fluently.
On the contrary, the goal is for your student to practice speaking English with you and your family in a friendly and informal manner in order to enhance what they are learning in class. The level of English proficiency of the students varies from intermediate to advanced. If your student has difficulty understanding you, speak a little more slowly but keep your speech grammatically complete.

Myth #2: Host families become the student’s legal guardian during their stay.
A student’s natural parents are always considered the legal guardians of the student. During, the student’s stay with a host family, the student’s parents are legally responsible for the student. The only major task the host family may have to take on is if the student becomes ill. Each student will carry an information card, giving the name of their health care provider, policy number, and contact number In the case of a medical emergency please arrange for whatever immediate care is necessary and then contact our staff as soon as possible.

Myth #3: Host families are financially responsible for the student’s expenses.
Some students have very little spending money. Others will surprise you with the amount of spending money they have. When planning an outing with your student, please tell them if you expect them to cover certain expenses (cost of meal, admission ticket, hotel room) or if you will pay for some or all expenses. The student may need to decide whether or not they can afford to go with you.

Myth #4: Host families are required to placate every whim of the student.
The role of the student in your home is one of guest and family member. The students are expected to act responsibly – just like the other members in one’s home. Students should adapt to their host family’s lifestyle and activities as well as house rules. Because the student is being hosted for academic purposes opposed to a vacation, the student program necessitates both effort and work to enable learning.

Tips for a Successful Experience

Enthusiasm – Sharing cultures means sharing in all the excitement of life. The more enthusiastic you and your family are, the better the experience will be for everyone involved.

Caring – Your student will require heartfelt support while he or she lives and learns far from home. Everything is new and with that comes both excitement and concern.

Involvement – You will demonstrate your desire to make your student part of the family by taking the same interest in his or her academic and social experiences as you would those of your own children.

Adaptability – A new family member will lead to new challenges for you and your family. It is essential that you remain flexible while new dynamics emerge in your home, setting firm rules but also remaining patient and understanding.

Depending on your daily routine, hosting a student may mean a couple more trips in the car, or a few extra helpings at the dinner table. Year after year, however, our host families say that the hardest thing about hosting is having to say goodbye!

If you have any other questions, please contact Todd Sasaki, International Programs Office, at 909-621-8308.