It’s about connecting
Whether you’re a seasoned host, or expecting your first international student, connecting with your guest is something we all experience with every visitor we welcome in our homes. Then there is that little extra challenge – different languages! A study tour or short homestay is a great way to connect and settle into hosting as they are shorter time framed.
Australia is full of people from different countries, and we are also pretty used to international visitors. In the year ending June 2017, Australia welcomed 8.5 million international visitors! We know how to welcome people into our beautiful country!
We Aussies are pretty easy to get along with, but we need to keep in mind that our ways and routines may be very different to our guests’. They may ordinarily eat larger meals earlier in the day, or may eat late at night. They may do washing daily at home, or may go shopping daily to cook each meal. There are hundreds of differences, and engaging them in our culture is an important part of their experience. So… how do we do this?!
Food is a great way of connecting
Meals are a great start. Any meal time of the day is a good time to have a chat with your guest. While breakfasts are usually rushed, dinner time is ideal to sit and have a chat. Using food as a topic of conversation is a good jump start into other things, such as their country’s food and cultural routines. Asking them questions about their culture and country, keeping topics light, is a great way to get to know them and engage them as well.
Cooking is also an ideal opportunity to engage with your student. Have them help you prepare a meal, and teach them a few recipes that they can take home with them. Perhaps take them shopping for and buy ingredients and have them show you how to cook a dish from their country.
Weekends are also a good time to engage with your guest. Show them some local sites, or take them to a sporting event or shopping. Involve them in any weekend activities that you think they’d enjoy. They may make plans of their own with school friends, but continuing to invite and involve them will make them feel welcome and part of the family.
Remember that they may still be learning English, and may struggle or be a bit shy with discussion. Be patient and help them with words they may not know. It’s always good to be mindful of speaking very clearly and a bit more slowly with international guests. It helps them with comprehension and will give them a bit more confidence.
There are dozens of other ways to make a connection with your student. Feel free to share some ideas with us! If you’re not a host family with GBS yet JOIN TODAY