What to Do When Your Exchange Student Placement Isn’t Working Out

All of us, Sara’s Homestay team, hosts, and students want the homestay placement to work. No host decides to host students if they did not enjoy having international students around or an interest in diverse cultures and languages. Students would not choose a homestay as their accommodation if they did not believe that homestays provide more than a room to sleep. Although, we all want your homestay placement to work, sometimes it just doesn’t. Whether you will be hosting a short or a long-term student, your exchange student placement might not work as you wish it would.

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If you believe you have a problem with your student, the first step is talking to the student. Sometimes it is simply a matter of miscommunication that can be resolved without escalating to end the homestay program early. Secondly, call your local homestay representative and listen to their advice on what you can do to make things better. Because there is often a period of adjustment, sometimes all it takes is time. Time for the student to adapt to your family and local culture, to improve the language skills, to become more communicative, more open, and more comfortable being around you and your family.

Keep in mind that students cannot make the call to end the homestay program or request a new host family whenever they please. Students are supposed to work their relationship with the host, and therefore, we expect our hosts to work on their relationship with students as well. Of course, if we believe the student or the host is in danger, or either one has provided serious concerns, we will make the call and remove the student from the homestay, otherwise, we will listen to both parties and make the right call based on the circumstances.

No one wants to terminate a homestay arrangement. When you agreed to accept a student, you made the commitment to make it work. We are certain you don’t wish to give up without trying. If you and your student have talked and you gave it some time to see if there would be improvement, there are still times it doesn’t work. In such cases, it isn’t good for the family or the student to remain together. In such cases were the family and student are incompatible, we would prefer to end things earlier than to place added stress on either the host family or the student.

If your initial exchange student placement wasn’t successful, don’t let that first experience to put you off hosting for good. Remember, each student is unique, and no matter where the student is from, their age, or their cultural background, each student will present a new challenges and wonderful opportunities. Don’t let the worry of having a negative exchange experience stop you from enjoying an exciting future challenge.


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