The fact that host families are all volunteers confirms their kindness and dedication to building a good relationship with the student on a daily basis.
Participants can be objectively reassured that in no case is there a financial calculation or advantage for the host family.
Families are sincere and devoted, excited to get to know participants and teach them about the United States, the culture, and the language.
Why do families choose to volunteer?
1. It’s a tradition!
In terms of language programs and student exchange, the American tradition is more about volunteering (which is not the case, for example, in England).
2. Exchange is valuable!
The American hosts are happy as well as honored to be a “foreign” host, to open their home, to share their family, their environment, their country and their culture. They are happy to share their daily lives, their meals, their food, their habits and their customs. This is true in so many situations, even simple things: from a basic meal to a birthday party, from a bike ride to a more exceptional outing (a 4th of July parade for example).
3. Welcoming others brings the world to them!
By hosting a foreign teenager, the family opens its world; they are proud to create a connection abroad with a European student.
4. It’s a mutual commitment!
Host families expect something in return for what they offer: it is the commitment of the teenage participant to participate in activities, be interested in their culture and their “world”, engage, and show excitement. It is common for the participant and his host family to build a real bond of friendship. It is important for all participants to make a real effort to talk and be part of the family. If the participants stay in his room or on his iPhone, the host family will not give back in return.
THE SELECTION OF HOME FAMILIES
- motivation, because it is often synonymous with open-mindedness, kindness and warmth, and because it encourages patience and availability.
- responsibility: OUI-CONNECT verifies that the home meets certain criteria, such as the home being safe and hygienic (see the “Contract” attached to the registration file).
There is no standard family profile or “pattern” of family structure. Every family, like every young person, is unique and special. If, rather rare, there are no children within the family structure, OUI-CONNECT will do their best to ensure that the young foreign participant can meet other adolescents at some point during the stay (neighbors, youth groups, family friends).
No other young students living in the host family will speak the same natural language as the participant except in case of rare emergency placement, and only very briefly. Interaction with another young foreigner is possible (French, Italian, Danish, Spanish …). Even in these situations the communication is then only in English and you benefit from having another new foreign friends.
THE MATCHING OF FAMILY/ PARTICIPANT
In this type of stay, it is possible that the “match” does not end up working very well, that we encounter small relationship problems; which can cause indifference, tension, distance, and even jealousy. It also happens that the young participant is homesick, and that he has difficulties adapting (culture shock, etc.).
Often times simple communication, explanations, and minimal adjustments are necessary (occasionally more substantial adjustments must be made) The organization is there to listen, mediate, and communicate with everyone involved and make the necessary decisions.
In these cases, OUI-CONNECT – who is present on location, and who is in direct contact with families and young people – can act directly.