A host family switch is often seen as the worst case scenario for many exchange students. In preparation for our year, we talked through countless possible host family conflicts and how we could resolve them: the answer was always through direct communication. It causes the least amount of confusion, and ensures that everyone can have their feelings openly expressed.
Sometimes, though, there isn’t a conflict, and direct communication can’t solve the issue. Unfortunately, this was the case with my host family. It simply wasn’t the right match. It doesn’t mean that anyone is to blame, or that there’s something I (or they) should have done different to ensure that I could stay. Because it just wasn’t the right match, I would have left at some point, and I’m thankful for a local coordinator who knew when the time was up. I’m thankful that we didn’t continue to live together when the tension would have just continued to build, and I left feeling angry or upset. I am leaving my host family on good terms, with a promise to keep in touch and an acknowledgement that no one is to blame.
Although I knew that a host family switch was a possibility, I couldn’t help but hope that everything would last the whole year and turn out wonderfully. Even though that didn’t happen, I’m looking forward to meeting my new host family. At the end of the year, I’ll have made connections in different parts of Germany, and a lifetime of memories in both places! Here’s to a great second half.
P.S. As I’m writing this, I’m on the train to my temporary host family, and there is a man who just pulled out a wheel of cheese and a cheese knife and is just cutting off chunks to eat. Granted, it’s a small cheese wheel, but still.