Wry Exchange

My Host Family Sucks!
10-08-07, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Program, Exchange Students, hosting | Tags: , , , , , ,

I hear ‘My host family sucks.’ often from both inbound and outbound students.   For this post, we’ll assume the host family does suck, and the student’s name is Sinéad.

First-Sinéad MUST tell someone outside of the family that she’s unhappy.  Edited to add:  The student needs an advocate.  The situation will not improve by itself.
Second-Sinéad has to decide the seriousness of the problem.  Is she in danger?  Is she afraid?  If the answer is ‘yes’, she must move immediately. End of discussion.  Edited to add:  If the student feels in danger or sexually uncomfortable, the decision to move is out of his/her control.  The program MUST remove the child from the home immediately.
Third-Sinéad must decide what she wants.  This is HER year.  Edited to add:  She shouldn’t feel guilty.  The counselors and host family should put Sin well-being above all else.

She should go to her counselor.  I understand she doesn’t want to be perceived as a ‘problem student.’  I understand that sometimes the counselor and host family are friends.  The counselor’s responsibility is to the student.  If the student is afraid to tell the counselor, she should contact the person above her counselor.  Sinéad should also tell her counselor in her home country about the problems.  If she can’t contact someone from her program, she should contact her parents.  To be frank, Sin’s parents have purchased an experience for their daughter, and they should be satisfied customers.  Some exchange programs cost a ridiculous amount of money.
 What should a student do?  I think there are 3 choices.  The student stays in the home, the student moves immediately, or the student moves as soon as practical.   She moves immediately if she feels in danger.  If she just doesn’t get along, she discreetly asks for a new family, and moves in 3-5 weeks.  Generally to avoid hurt feelings, the family is told a white lie.  Or she decides to suck it up, and stay put.  The unknown is scary, and sometimes the kids would rather stay with the freaks they know instead of breaking in a new family.

Next post: Why your family sucks.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

im pretty interested in this one, since i know it so well! im waiting for the next one too 🙂

Comment by M

well that helped me but ma problem is that ma host family is my counselor so it’s pretty hard and i told my host mom/counselor that i want to change the state but they said i have to saty here a month and the problem is because of me but they dont know that i have to clean toilet seats in the house and scrub the kitchen floor if someone dropped something and clean the cats poo. i think this is unfair.

Comment by Fadi

That’s just gross. Find someone in the organization above your hostparent/counselor. US based exchange programs prohibit the person to serve as both. Get your parents over here involved.

Comment by Wry

hi, i am spending 11 months in germany. i have already been here almost 2 months and right from the beginning i noticed my host family, in particular my mom, are very VERY different from my family back home..my host mom yells and gets this really crazy and frantic voice/tone with my host siblings, dad, and i. and i really don’t like it, she is really high strung and can never be easy going. i am thinking about switching families but i am not sure if i should just stick it out. it’s the end of october and i will switch after december. someone please give me advice..i dont want to make it a big deal if it isn’t, i’m just not sure. i like my host siblings and dad, but my mom is just too upright and gets really mad over the smallest things. please help!

Comment by sally

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