Wry Exchange

1 Week After Arrival & Table Manners
08-18-07, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, hosting | Tags: , , , , ,

Your students have been here a week.  Their language skills are improving daily.  Everything’s good, and their quirks are cute.  Are we all happy?  Are you certain?  Fix small problems before they grow into  ‘get that kid out of my house now!’ issues. 
 It’s the small, petty things that drive me crazy.  I hate wet towels left in the bedroom draped over a bureau or bed to dry.  I can’t stand when the bathroom door is closed when no one is in there.  Sparky always wadded up his sweaty tennis socks into a ball, and I loathed opening them up.  If I didn’t separate the socks, they wouldn’t get clean, and they wouldn’t dry.  These issues are all cultural difference matters.  They’re good manners in the students’ cultures. 
  Table manners are different, too.  We keep elbows off the table, pass food from serving dishes to each person, keep one hand in our laps, chew with our mouths closed, wait until everyone is served to begin eating, we use utensils, and place our napkins on our laps.  Ask your student what is proper etiquette in his home country.  You can always Google or buy one of the superb ‘Culture Shock’ books.  The Culture Shock ‘America’ is good to see yourself through your student’s eyes.
Your house is the FES’s home this year, not a hotel.  Don’t treat your student as a guest.  If you begin by letting your student be a guest, he’ll be very surprised when you finally blow up and scream that you aren’t the maid.  Your student is your child.  If she breaks curfew, ground her.  If he leaves the dogs out when he leaves the house, put him on restriction for a week.


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