I am one of the students, who got their family very soon. It was on February the 22nd when I got the email that CIEE had found a host family for me. I came from school and couldn´t even eat because I was so excited. I read their description, saw the picture and just couldn´t believe how lucky I was. I am going to come to a family of two married women, who are living in huge house with four cats and they seemed so lovely!
The email also said that I should start the first contact... A short time later, I researched the internet and looked for the best way to do it. In most of the blogs I found, it said that I should just call them. I was thinking about it but found also a lot of challenges with it. I mean, we have got 6 hours of time difference and when are they awake? Or when do they have to go to work? So I decided to send them a email. In the email I told them how thankful I was and asked some questions to start the conversation.
Afterwards, we sent a lot of email to each other and figured out a good day and time for a Skype call. When I researched what to do during the first contact, I found a tip to create a list with questions and words, and put them next to the computer! It was a good idea which I can just recommend to you, when you have a call with your future hostfamily, too.
I don´t know whether I attract bad luck, but in the last 2 minutes before I was going to call them, my laptop stopped, because the WIFI dropped. I had to hurry and get another computer and I became more and more nervous. After 3 minutes, I did make it and the call was off and running. I was so confused by the stress that all I could say was “hello“ and than a weird silence happened. When they broke the quiet I was feeling like I wasn´t able to speak english anymore. I saw my list but I didn´t know how to say the things written down but they kept the conversation up. Afterwards, I had a very bad feeling that I made a bad impression.
One week later, we had a second Skype call and it was much better. I had my list and I was more calm. I had a much better feeling than at the call before and all was fine.
So I want to tell you for your travel, do not stress to much! Even when it seems like everyone else is having the perfect first call with their hostfamilies. This is about you and don´t try to copy the others. Even when your english isn´t the best, it is definitely not the worst. So keep calm, try to figure out what is interesting to you both (for example try to find activities you would like to do with them, ask stuff about your future house or school etc.) Just show them that your are interested and that´s all it takes! If you have got questions about your school, just ask them. I am sure they are happy to talk about it with you!