Got the winter blues? This is the time of year that host families often feel burnt out and ready for the school year to come to an end. It is easy to feel taken for granted by your exchange student, too, because many students have finally started to really integrate into their school community and are much more busy. While they used to spend more family time on the weekends, now they are asking if they can stay over at a friend’s house for the weekend. There are some cases, too, when students are less busy with friends and more focused on their academics in order to prepare for their return to their home country education system; this type of student may be spending more time alone in their room.
However things are playing out in your home, this is a good time of the year to reflect on what you have learned in the past few months and make a plan on how you can best use your time hosting before the student goes home. Have a family meeting or sit down with your exchange student and encourage them to discuss what initial goals they have had at the start of their program, and what they have done to accomplish those goals. Sometimes it is good to have them do this in writing first. Next, brain storm with them about what goals you both have for the final few months spent together. Is there a local attraction you have been meaning to visit together but just haven’t found the time to go to? Is there cultural event coming up that would be fun to experience together? Does the student hope to go to prom? Has the student completed their community service hours this semester, and is that something you would want to do together? Do you want to travel somewhere for Spring Break? Some common cultural activities and events that happen in the Spring include:
- Spring weddings
- Professional baseball games (Opening Day!)
- Fish frys
- Strawberry festivals
- Mother’s Day
- Easter egg hunts
- Memorial Day parades
- National Arbor Day
- Marathons and charity walks
To make the most out of your hosting experience, it helps to pause and make a plan. There are so many more things for both you and your student to look forward to before they finish their school year!