Hosting an exchange student from Japan is one of the most rewarding experiences you and your family can have!Besides the hands-on opportunity for learning about a new culture, you and your children will see our American culture through an entirely new lens.

Here are a few tips provided by families who hosted Japanese students:

– Food: Take your exchange student grocery shopping with you and find out what she/he likes. If she/he can’t cook, teach her/him the basics so they are self sufficient. Let her know to be honest on what foods she does and doesn’t like because they’re very respectful and they could say she likes something when she doesn’t. When asking for their preferences, it’s better to give them two or three options (such as eating chicken or beef, going to the city or the beach) rather than asking directly what they want (as they might be too shy to tell you or feel it’s impolite) .

– Communication: Knowing a few words of Japanese will probably go a long way to make them feel welcome also they can start to feel homesick or lonely quite quickly, so keep them busy (it’s easier if there are others exchange students).The best thing is to talk with them regularly and know what is on their mind, especially since some can be very quiet and/or reserved it can be hard to know what they are thinking. Have a notebook handy and write down things you’re saying in case it is obvious she didn’t understand you.

– Cultural Experience: Nobody goes on a homestay to feel like they’re at home. They want to experience everything foreign and new. Give them the most typical American experience you can give!