The desire to learn about a new culture inspires many American families to participate in cultural exchange by hosting an international high school exchange student with Academic Year in America (AYA).
Families of all kinds have a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures when they host an exchange student. From the first day of an exchange student’s stay in America to the last, elements of their culture leave a permanent impact on their host family’s traditions – bringing the world a bit closer together.
If you are interested in hosting an exchange student, here are a few things you can expect to learn from this experience.
1. Day-to-Day Customs
Welcoming an exchange student into your home is an exciting opportunity to enrich your life with new customs.
AYA students expose their host families to these customs in many ways, such as sharing delicious recipes from their country, their favorite songs, hobbies/games, and even holiday traditions.
By experiencing these customs on a daily basis, families become more globally aware. In fact, a recent AYA study showed that 95% of host parents reported marked growth in their child’s level of cultural understanding as a result of hosting an international exchange student.
2. New Languages
Exposure to an exchange student’s language is another way that host families immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture.
All AYA exchange students speak English. However, by living with/communicating with these students for many months, families grow familiar with the student’s first language.
Host siblings especially gain international understanding through daily interactions with their new brother or sister. This becomes a valuable asset as they work, travel, and communicate globally throughout their lives.
3. Global Similarities
While learning about cultural differences is incredibly rewarding, one of the best things AYA host families discover is that people around the world have more in common than they might think.
A recent host father reflected on this saying, “In the end, teenagers worry about similar things all over the world. The true lesson for all of us is that different does not mean bad… [Hosting] is my way of contributing toward world peace.”
Hosting a teenager/young adult/student from a foreign country brings the world into your home. Not only will the student become a new family member, but their culture will become part of your family too.
Interested in learning about a new culture? Read on for more information about hosting an exchange student with Academic Year in America.