Most Americans think that the “ideal” person is someone who is independent and self-reliant. Most American teenagers will try to do things on their own without asking for help unless they really need it. Many teenagers, but not all, prepare their own meals and do their own laundry. The majority of teens move away from home to attend college after high school. Their independence and self-reliance help them adjust easily to living unsupervised by a parent. They are comfortable being responsible for themselves. Still, most parents like it when their son or daughter comes to them for help. Never be afraid to ask your host parents for help, they will always be happy to help you!
*Youth group is a social group for teenagers, which is usually affiliated with a church. They
often go on outings to the movies, camping, or have dances or other functions. Participating in youth
group activities is a great way to meet other teenagers and the activities are usually a lot of fun. You do
not need to be of any certain religion nor do you need to convert to join.
telephone card available locally at department or convenience stores.
If you are going to make a call to your home country, please use a calling card unless you work out an arrangement with the family to pay for the calls once the bill arrives. All calls placed by the student that are direct dial calls go straight to the host family’s phone bill! Calls made in this manner are the sole responsibility of the student. These calls are to be paid for immediately in time for that month’s payment of the phone bill. Thunder Exchange does not condone any student’s disregard of phone responsibility. Failure to adhere to phone rules of the host family could result in the loss of phone privileges in the home. Overseas telephone calls are very expensive and have been a cause of severe shock and financial trauma to exchange students and host families! Phone bills for hundreds and even thousands of dollars have been received in a single month! Exchange students are encouraged to purchase a prepaidtelephone card available locally at department or convenience stores. Most families only have one phone so be considerate and do not be on the phone too long. Many families understand if you talk to your parents once a week for an hour, but if you talk to them that much every day it is too much. Be respectfulof the other people in the family. In addition, most families do not like for someone to call them after 10 PM or before 6:30 AM, please especially let your friends and parents who are in a different time zone know this.
If your host family has a computer, they may set hours for when you will be able to use it. Please respect their wishes. One hour per day on the computer should be more than enough time to complete any homework assignments or to send and receive email. You should NOT spend all of your free time on the computer or telephone, chatting, writing, and speaking in your native language. It will NOT help you to practice and improve your English. Excessive use of the computer, with or without permission, is unacceptable behavior and can result in warning or probation. If you download material that offends members of the host family, this can create problems that will cause tension and be hard to mend. Inappropriate use of the computer can result in a total loss of computer privileges.
If you would like to go out with your friends at night, you will probably be given a curfew. On school nights it is only acceptable to go out on special occasions or to attend an event. On the weekend, your curfew will usually, but not always, be between 10 and midnight. Your host family will discuss your curfew with you. Please be courteous and respect their wishes.
Most Americans are very punctual and have their activities planned on a schedule. Being late is considered rude. If you cannot be on time, you should contact the people that you are meeting to notify them that you will be late. If you arrive late, you should apologize to the person that you kept waiting.
In the United States, you should express gratitude when someone does something for you or gives you something. If you do not say “thank you” after a person gives you a gift, he or she may think that you did not like the gift. If you do not say “thank you” after someone does something for you, he or she may feel unappreciated and may be less likely to help you the next time that you need it. When someone tells YOU thank you, be sure to always say, “You’re welcome.” Always be sure to use “please” when asking for help or anything else. People who do not use these courtesy phrases are often considered ungrateful, disrespectful, or rude.
When speaking with someone, you should try to keep eye contact with him or her. If you do not look into their eyes, they may think that you are not listening, that you are not interested, or that you are not telling the truth.
In the United States, hygiene is VERY important. Body odor and bad breath are considered to be offensive. This is why the American society has so many products to cover up bad smells such as perfumes, scented lotions and candles, deodorants, antiperspirants, toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath mints. Shower at least once daily, and always following rigorous exercise. Change all of your clothing daily, including undergarments and socks. Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before all meals. Sleep between the sheets and wear separate clothing to sleep in. Brush your teeth every day (most Americans brush their teeth 2-3 times a day).
Most American families have one or more children and plan activities together. You should always participate when you are asked to join in the fun. They are wonderful opportunities to learn new things and to get closer to your family. Eat dinner with your family if they eat all together, it is a great time to chat. Sometimes families spend the evenings together watching television or playing games. Parents often use these times to talk with their children (including YOU) about what everyone did during the day and to discuss future plans or other family matters. You are a member of this family so use this time to talk to them!
Try to be open and accept invitations to go new places or do new things. You will learn something new and make new friends in the process. If you accept an invitation, you are expected to be on time. It is considered rude to accept an invitation and then not show up. When you are invited to do something or go somewhere and you are not sure what to wear, always ask beforehand. While most invitations are informal, some invitations are formal and you should wear nice clothing and shoes. Two examples of formal events are church services and school dances.
Interest In You
Most families host students from other countries to learn more about those countries and meet new people. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about the United States and for the host family to learn about your country. During your stay, your host family will encourage you to try new things. You will learn a lot from them. Ask a lot of questions, your host family will be happy to answer them! In addition, you should share with what your life was like for you at home. Tell them about the differences between life here in the U.S. and in your country. Show them pictures and tell them about your family. Share recipes for food from your province. Teach them how to say something in your language. Your host family will be very excited to have someone so different in their home and they will be very eager to learn more about you!
It is very important to communicate with your host family! They cannot read your mind. Let them know if something is bothering you. If you do not feel like you can speak to your host family about something, please talk to your Local Representative or our staff here at the office.