CIEE High School USA participants are not allowed to drive. As such, host families are responsible for helping their international students get to and from school and extracurricular activities. However, this does not mean you must personally drive your student wherever they want to go. You are parent, not a chauffeur!
The great thing about living in the city is that there are many alternative and public transportation options available. In fact, many people living in an urban environment don’t drive at all. Hosting an international student doesn’t need to change that. Show your international student how to use modes of alternative or public transportation, which may include:
- Subway: If your international student plans to use the subway, show them where your stop is, how to buy a ticket, and how to navigate the system. You may want to ride with them a few times as they learn.
- Bus: Many cities have far-reaching public bus networks. As with the subway, you should show your student how to use the system before they go it alone. Just ride with your student a few times as they learn! (Alternatively, your school system may provide private bus service to students. If so, check with your school to find the nearest stop.)
- Biking: Biking can be a cost-effective and easy way to get around the city. If your international student plans to bike, be sure they know the rules. Bike laws by state can be found at The League of American Bicyclists.
- Walking: If your international student isn’t traveling a long distance, traveling by foot is probably the best way to get around a city. Show them the way the first few times, then let them explore!
The important thing is to establish expectations around transportation so you and your international student both understand how they will get to and from school and extracurricular activities. It’s also important that you, as the host family, help acquaint your international student with these modes of transportation. Guide them through the process. Go with them the first few times. Help them navigate. Soon enough, they’ll be self-sufficient!
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Start your host family application today!