What are some general customs that visiting students should follow when living with a U.S. host family? What is expected in terms of helping around the house, eating meals, manners and interactions with the family?
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There is an interesting conversation going on right now in the NSLI-Y group about what type of presents to bring your host family. Karina asked this --
Permalink Reply by Karina Aquino on
"What would you take that's exclusively American though? See, that's the problem I'm having on thinking on gifts if (when!) I get finalist. I can only think of like keychains,t-shirts or postcards from the town I live in. Which I guess is okay, but I'm can't help think I want it to be more thoughtful but not super expensive. You know?"
What do you guys think? What would you bring with you as a host family present when you travel abroad? What kinds of gifts are typically American? What could you bring if you're on a budget?
Customs can vary from region to region, but a pretty common one is that supper is usually the only meal that you sit down with the entire family. Also, kids usually have chores that they have to do each night, for example, setting the table before dinner, cleaning the table after dinner, unloading/loading the dishwasher, etc. These are things that you can or might be expected to help with around the house. Usually sitting down to a meal is a very informal undertaking. Parents and kids alike will converse about how their day was, what they are doing tomorrow, etc. In terms of manners, just be respectful and kind to your host family, do what the parents say, and they should treat you with respect and kindness in return. There are many ways to interact with your host family (and most are specific to the family), but the most interaction time will probably be at the dinner table.