Typical Host Family

Here is a letter from a typical American host family hosting an RYE exchange student:

Our family is a very typical middle class American family. Both parents work: The mother works 4 days per week from 7:30-4:30; the father works at least 5 days a week. The father is often away on business trips lasting up to one month 3 times per year.

We expect to treat our exchange student in a similar way to our own children, giving our student his or her fair share of attention and time. We look forward to meeting the student and learning about his or her life and country. We also look forward to helping our student adapt to the USA and his or her new community. Our children have always assumed some of the household chores, most typically to help with family meal preparation and then to help clean up afterward. Our children are in charge of cleaning their own rooms and doing their own laundry.  Keeping a clean and neat room is encouraged, but it is up to the exchange student and how he or she wants to live.  We will ask our student to vacuum and clean some areas of the home and also to keep the bathroom neat and clean. Although we believe that school work and extra-curricular activities are important to our student, we expect the student to participate in our family life, too. Our own children are expected to help with household chores so it is considered fair for our exchange sister or brother to help out, too.

We are happy to provide room and board when an exchange student is living in our home, but we do expect that student to use his or her own money for personal items and clothing, for entertainment when out with friends, or for costs incurred when participating in Rotary functions and trips.

When we go on trips or to a restaurant for a meal, we will normally pay for the expenses of the exchange student. When the student is traveling with school or other Rotarians, we expect the student or the Host Rotary Club to cover expenses. When the student chooses to go places with friends, such as the movies, we expect the student to use the monthly Rotary allowance for expenses. When the student goes shopping for clothes, accessories, school required athletic equipment, and other items in the U.S., we expect that student to use the Rotary allowance or money from home. We expect that the topic of money would be a matter for discussion between the exchange student and the Rotary Counselor, but that the student would let the host family know about expenses for school and clubs. We believe that using the Rotary Club allowance wisely is a valuable experience for any young person.