If you have decided that your child will spend a few weeks in Ireland for a stay in English, the time has come to choose a host family.
Hebe can help you make this decision by offering a wide selection of host families, many of whom are already accustomed to welcoming foreign students.
Knowing that your child will have to move abroad for a few weeks could give you some anxiety and raise some questions. It's normal, because it's not easy to understand what to expect, especially if it's the first time you've faced this test.
For this it can be important to communicate with the host family and clarify those points that still cause you fear and uncertainty.
Whether you have already made your choice or are still considering it, it is important to write down all these doubts and resolve them before departure, in order to remain calm for the duration of your English holiday. Surely others will be born, but communicating in advance is always a good idea, even just to get to know each other and break the ice. Luckily, thanks to video calls, you can talk and see each other, thus creating a greater interaction that will facilitate the conversation.
It is not necessary to put yourself in a position of distrust, the purpose of the video call is to get to know each other, so it could be useful to talk about yourself and your family naturally. To get an idea of what the living room will be like, try to imagine your child's typical day from morning to evening, so you can get an idea of all the daily activities or situations they will be in.
So take a pen and paper and start marking the points that we list below. But if something else comes to mind, don't be afraid to bring up your questions during the call.
The first question a parent asks is where the child will spend the holiday. Not having knowledge of the place, it is important to ask if the house is located in an urban context or in a village, and how to get around to go to the English courses. Google Maps can give you a general idea, but it's always best to discuss it to confirm. Your child, if he has already reached a certain age, could be independent and use public transport. In this case, it is useful to ask how far the stop is from home and how long it takes to get to school.
An English language stay is usually organized during the summer. Therefore, in the absence of public transport, one wonders whether there is an alternative, such as a bicycle, which could also be an excellent means of exploring the locality in your spare time after the summer English courses.
This is a question that allows you to get a general idea of family life. You can ask, even jokingly, if there are any rules to respect, to understand if the way of thinking is close to yours. Maybe use examples, asking what time you go to bed in the evening and when the day starts, if you can invite friends and so on. The aim is to understand how daily life is organized and who is present in the house. You could also ask if they have any hobbies or if they spend the weekend in another location.
Even if a minimum spirit of adaptation must be foreseen, by asking these questions you will be able to understand if your child will be able to integrate into the new situation without problems.
The more you delve into these points, the more you will be able to remain serene for the duration of your stay in English.
If your child leaves alone, evaluate the choice of a context where there are boys of more or less the same age. Having a peer could help integrate, make friends and make all activities more enjoyable.
After the summer English courses, having someone to spend your free time with is a good way to distract yourself, chase away the sense of isolation and homesickness. The experience may become so immersive that your child will forget to call you.
If your family follows a diet that excludes the consumption of certain foods, such as a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is best to discuss this with the host family immediately.
The same also applies to foods your child doesn't eat or has an allergy to. These are details which, if not clarified in advance, could lead to situations of discomfort for both parties. It is good to remember that the food will not be like the one prepared at home, so it takes a little adaptability and open-mindedness. After all, an English holiday is a new adventure where new things shouldn't be taken as a nuisance, but as an opportunity to experience a different culture.
The last details that we recommend clarifying are those of the accommodation in the house, that is, the spaces reserved for the living room. It is useful to understand if there will be a separate room or if he will have to share the spaces with a family member. Also, take the opportunity to ask how the house is arranged, whether it will have a dedicated bathroom and other details that can come to mind. So you can discuss it with your child, anticipating a description of what the home will be like and what spaces will be reserved for him.
These are just some of the questions you can ask your host family. Try to identify yourself with the new situation to understand if there are other doubts you might have.
The purpose of communicating in English before the stay is to get to know each other, find common points and understand if you think the same way about the basic principles of behavior and family life.
Also, listening is just as important as asking the questions, so watch the answers and if they raise any more questions, don't hesitate to speak up to clarify right away.
Communication with the host family is one of the values Hebe believes in. For years, study trips abroad have taken place with a total lack of interaction between the student's family and the host family. This often created anxiety and concern in the parents, not only during the holiday but also during the planning stage, sometimes leading them to give up this opportunity.
But that is no longer the case, as Hebe encourages communication before departure, aware that only through mutual trust and knowledge can this experience take place peacefully for everyone.