31 days until Daniëlle arrives. But much like when we hosted Naomi we have most of the big questions out of the way. It’s important to know some stuff before your exchange student arrives. Whether or not you’ve been communicating, consider drafting an email to find out some of the major stuff. Before asking, though, realize that this is an exhaustive list. We learn a great deal by taking time to review an incoming student’s application. It’s a good idea to read all of it because sometimes there’s information in there that is separate from the question. For example, we knew Daniëlle had a dog so we didn’t have to ask about sharing a house with two. We learned, however, that roosters are totally out of the question. Here are some good questions to get answers to before your student arrives:
What is your school schedule like? What time do you get up? How do you get to school? Chances are good your student’s experience of school is way different than an American experience. Send a link to the high school’s bell schedule.
What type of chores do you do at home? Some students do lots at home. Others don’t do anything. Send your anticipated list of chores.
At what time do you eat meals? In the Netherlands dinner is at 6. In our house dinner is usually closer to 7:30 most nights. Explain that your student should feel free to snack between school/practice if you eat dinner late. Our kids always eat lunch at school early so it’s important for them to fuel up after school.
Do you exercise at home? Share opportunities for continuing. Is there a good running route for kids who run? Nearby nature areas for hikes?
Do you share a room? Do you share a bathroom? Many Dutch have one bathroom for everyone. Share the logistics of sleeping and bathroom issues. Our kid gets her own room and bathroom. Some families have the exchange student share a room.
Are you on birth control? European girls are often on the pill to regulate their periods or help their skin, or both. You’ll need to understand this. It is not a place for judgement or concern. No girl should ever feel shamed for this. Our organization tells the girls to keep this fact under wraps and to hide their birth control. Students should feel comfortable with any medication they take being a topic that is judgement free. You need to know in case there is a medical issue. If your religious beliefs conflict, consider hosting a boy if you really take issue.
Do you have allergies? From pets to pollen it’s good to know. And don’t forget about food allergies.
Do you know how to do laundry? Some do and some don’t. Do you have a plan? I do all of the laundry in the house but if a student had a problem with that I would be fine letting them do it. I just don’t like anyone doing my laundry.
Some other questions that are helpful are foods your kid likes and hates, and whether or not they make their bed at home. We don’t make them make their bed daily but do like it made if friends will be over. Oh, off topic but…
Explain the flat sheet. No one but Americans use a flat sheet.
What questions are you most curious to hear your student’s answers to??