Tips for Students Living with Host Families

Living with a host family can be an amazing experience; however, it can also be difficult at the same time. Hopefully, these tips from study abroad alumni will help you know what to expect with a host family and how to cope with any problems that may occur.

  • DO NOT be surprised if your host family does not consist of what Americans would consider a “traditional” or “nuclear” family. Though the host family selection process is very rigorous for many of the programs, the construction of the host family will vary from between the programs and locations that you
  • If you are going to a non-English speaking country, it is safe to assume that your host family will speak very little English, or may not speak any at But this is good for you! Developing your foreign language skills is part of the reason why you are abroad, isn’t it?
  • The best part of living with a host family is experiencing the culture first hand. Every student seemed to love their host mom’s cooking and the food that they were served. Though you are highly encouraged to try new things, it’s okay to let your host family know if you don’t like something…otherwise, they will keep cooking/serving it to you!
  • DO NOT be afraid to take time to explore your Though your host family may expect you to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with them most days of the week, it is perfectly natural and okay to spend a day or evening out with friends and acquaintances. It is recommended that you let your host family know if you have other plans, so they know whether or not to expect you at home during a certain time or meal.
  • Communication may be difficult and frustrating with your host family during the first few days or weeks; especially, for students in non-English speaking countries. Don’t be discouraged if this happens to The host families are very understanding and know that you are adapting to a new culture and that the host language may not be your first language.
  • If problems do arise, study abroad alumni suggest that you should have open communication with your host family and talk to them about the host family may not even realize that there is a problem, so by talking to them, you will help them, too. Most conflicts are solved simply by talking to the host family about them.
    • If problems do persist after you have addressed them with the host family, talk to the International Office Staff at the host university, or the on-site Program Director/Coordinator. They will be able to help you resolve these issues, or help you with any further steps needed to resolve the DO NOT be shy…this should be nothing less than an amazing experience for you.

Useful links to research about your destinations