Do´s and Don’ts in a Host Family
Are you going to stay in a host family during your time in Dublin and don’t really know how to behave there or what are important things to remember? Well, because of this we made a list for you of Do´s and Don´ts in a host family.
It´s easy to live with a host family, if you follow some of these simple rules. If you do so, you will have a pleasant and enjoyable stay with your host family in Dublin!
Communicate with your host family: Communication is key, so don’t hesitate to ask for anything and talk about your day when you’re having dinner together. Try to find something out about your host family. Such as how they live, their Irish culture and so on. Also introduce yourself. For example, tell them what your hobbies. If you’re unhappy with something, talk to your host family first and try to solve the problem together. They will be happy to help you or just to have a nice chat with you.
- Keep the noise down: If your host parents already went to bed, don´t play music as loud as you would be in a disco. Also, pay attention if you’re coming home late that you don’t wake them up.
Be respectful and show some good manners: You don’t stay in a hotel so it isn’t the task of the family to clean after you every time. So be respectful and offer your help with the dishes or else. Treat them as they would be your own parents and make use of the words “thank you” and “please”.
- Be patient: If things don’t work out in the first few days, don’t worry about it. You have to adjust yourself to the family and the family to you. After you overcome the culture shock it will be much better and you know the lifestyle of your host family. You will become a full member of the family quicker than you think.
- Make rules clear from the beginning: When does the family usually have dinner? When do you have to be at home? How is the bathroom schedule in the morning? All of these sorts of questions are important to living together in a good way. So inform yourself about rules from the beginning in order to avoid conflicts. They may be different from those at your home country, but try to adapt to them as good as possible. It will make it easier to live together.
- Join them for meals: Food connects people and that isn´t different if you’re staying in a host family. Join them for dinner and talk about how you´re day went or about everything that comes to your mind. You will learn loads about Dublin and Ireland and improve your English by doing that. It’s always nice to have an interesting conversation at dinner time, isn’t it?
Bring a gift: This is a nice gesture to your host family and will make it easier to start the first conversation with them. Try to think of something that is typical to your city or country and explain what it´s about. Your host family will be happy about that and you make a good first impression.
- Spend time with your host family: Try to plan activities with your host family and be an active member of their family. You will learn the language best when you’re taking part in everyday activities or enjoy a nice day out with them, for example in Dublin Zoo.
- Keep your room clean: Your host parents won´t be your personal maid, and it´s disrespectful if you leave everything dirty. So make a bit of an effort and try to keep your room clean and don´t let dirty dishes on their own.
- Stay in touch: You will experience that you became an actual member of the family and it will be weird when you leave them. So try to stay in touch afterwards or even visit them again after your stay in Dublin. Most of the host families and students become really good friends during that time which is no miracle if you see each other day for day.
Go into private rooms: Don’t just go into the bedroom of your host parents or in any other room you should not be. Even if you’re living together now, it´s important to respect the privacy of the other person.
- Block the bathroom: It´s self-explainitory that is isn’t good if you block the bathroom for 2 hours in the morning. Try to be as quick as possible or make a bathroom schedule with your host family. Set fixed times when it’s your turn to use the bathroom.
- Take food that is lying around: Don’t just take anything out of the refrigerator, ask first. You´re still a guest in their house, but if the host family says you can take everything that you want it´s fine. Most families will have a snack bowl or something else ready for you, where you can take something from if you are too hungry to make it until dinner.
Use the telephone without permission: Ask first if you want to make a call from the telephone of your host family. Otherwise, there could accrue immense costs if you’re phoning someone in a foreign country. If they allow you to do this, make sure you pay them back afterwards.
- Be too picky: Especially with the food. Don´t be afraid to try something. You can still say you don´t like it afterwards. Be open-minded about the common food in Ireland and about the customs and culture of Ireland.
- Be embarrassed to use the language: Try to speak as much as you can with your host family, even if you don’t know the language that well. You’re here to improve your skills, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The host family will help you to improve or correct you. It´s like a free English course for you, so make the best out of it.
- Have unrealistic expectations: Your life in a host family won’t be like a stay in a hotel. Maybe your room isn’t that big or you don’t have a three-course menu every evening, but potatoes 5 times a week, so you have to be ready for some changes and the motivation to adapt yourself to it.
- Hide in your room the whole time: You can’t learn the language if you’re staying in your room all day long and text your friends at home. Join your host family watching TV or play some board games with them. This is a fun and very effective way to improve your english skills and you socialise even further with your host family.
I hope these simple Do’s and Don’ts are going to make your stay in a host family in Dublin even more pleasant and enjoyable!!