Breaking the Awkwardness

Authored by:
Skyler F.

Once I really started thinking about meeting my host family, my biggest question was, "How should I greet them?" The thought of whether I should do it in German or English, what I should say, and even what to say afterward raced through my head for many days. And to be honest, I am still unsure of how you should do this. Personally, I think a simple "Hallo" or "Hello" is perfect and worked for me. The car ride to our house was very awkward for me, the silent points in the car of people you have never met before. This feeling continued for a lot of the day until we got to sit down at the table. This was the point at which I realized that just talking to my family would be the best option for breaking the awkwardness.

Over the next few days, it was hard to start conversations, just because I did not know what topics to talk about. Although, with each conversation, I got more and more comfortable with my family. With time, being able to speak to your family gets a lot easier, while also being a fantastic experience. It captures the whole point of the program, learning about the German culture, while still sharing American culture. The best advice I could give is, just to talk, whether or not it is weird. It lets you get comfortable quickly and it also, more than likely, helps your host family feel more comfortable.

Talking to your host family at first is vital, but also to people at school or in extracurricular activities. It lets you meet new people and be able to make friends. While many people may come up to you, going up to others is important to show you are welcoming and want to be there. Everyone around you is as scared as you, so go for it. If you make a mistake or are weird, it will be a joke for a long time or people will forget about it since you’re only there for a year. So, go out, find yourself, and keep on talking.

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