With the lack of awareness when it comes to foreign exchange programs, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to believe. Let’s walk through some of the common myths surrounding the experience:
“When you take in an exchange student, you have to completely change how you lived before.”
False. Your family will still function the way it always has. There will be a few alterations, but that is to be expected anyway. As people grow and change, the dynamic of their relationship fluctuates. Hosting a foreign exchange student will give your family the opportunity to expand, but it doesn’t force any irrevocable changes.
“You have to send your biological child to another country.”
False. That word “exchange” seems to jump out to a lot of hopeful host families. Some programs operate by swapping students from countries, but it is no way required that you must send your own child overseas to play a role in this experience. If anything, you family is growing.
“It is an unavoidable financial restraint.”
False. Believe it or not, it isn’t completely up to you to foot the bill. The financial burden is split between the host family, the student, and (in many cases) the foreign exchange program itself. While it is, or course, a little extra money on your part, there is no reason to let that cause you to be resistant to host a foreign exchange student if everything else seems to make it a good fit for your family.
“You won’t be able to connect with your foreign exchange student.”
False. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Or maybe you’ve seen Sixteen Candles one too many times. However, cultural differences aren’t as alienating as you might think. You will learn to bond over your similarities and learn from your differences. People from different backgrounds form relationships all the time. If anything, you will grow as a family (and as individuals) from the experience.