Cultivate an Open Mindset
Your foreign guest is coming to learn about living in a different country; about its strengths and weaknesses, and about the variety of people and ways of thinking here.
His impression of the USA will be formed mainly through his relationships with his family. Similarly, your opinion or impressions of their culture will be influenced by your guest.
The purpose of our program is not to convince your student that the United States is in any way better than his country, or to turn the student into an American. It is a natural human tendency to feel that one’s own customs, beliefs, morals, and behaviors are the “normal” ones.
We encourage you to accept that “different” does not necessarily mean “better” or “worse.” Withhold value judgments and ask ques- tions instead. This will help create an environment of mutual respect that will allow for greater understanding.
Another tendency to avoid is stereotyping. All of us tend to use such generalizations, although they are very unreliable and more often than not, gross caricatures of the true character of a nation.
The homestay experience can bring endless new insights. It involves change, questioning and sometimes frustration. Openness and respect will ensure a valuable experience for all.