Two exchange students living with the same host family bring double the opportunity to learn about other cultures. This type of placement can be incredibly rewarding and double the fun! Not only does your family gain two new members, but each student has the opportunity to learn about American culture and also the culture of the other student. To enjoy the double placement to the fullest, host families and students should keep the following things in mind.
Host Families, please remember:
The students are individuals. Make an effort to develop relationships with each of them individually, and not just as a unit. Look for opportunities for 1-on-1 time with each student. This can be done in simple ways, such as alternating who helps you prepare dinner.
They are unique. One may be outgoing while the other is shy, or one may be more responsible than the other. Try to identify and appreciate each student’s strengths, and encourage them in those areas. While you may, at times, also need to address each of their weaknesses, avoid comparing them to each other.
They should each carry their own weight. Often, one student is stronger socially or academically. While that student may sometimes assist the other student, it’s important to avoid a situation where one rides the coattails of the other.
Each should have a voice. It’s common for one to be more expressive, articulate, or simply have better English skills than the other. However, it’s important that each student speak for himself. This may mean encouraging a quieter student to speak up, or it may be asking an assertive student to back off a bit so the more passive student can make their own decisions.
Encourage individual interests and friends. It’s great if they get along well with each other, but being together constantly will, over time, become too much of a good thing. Often, students will have a healthier relationship with each other and with the host family, if they don’t do everything together.
Correct in private. If one student needs correction, it should take place privately whenever possible, not in front of the other student.
Avoid favoritism. One student may bond more quickly or easily with your family. Look for ways to draw the other student in so they feel included and valued.
Students, please remember:
You are part of a family. This means you must make an effort to connect with the host family and the other student—not just one or the other.
Take responsibility for yourself. It’s your job to bond with your host family, do your homework, make friends, get involved, and follow the rules regardless of whether or not the other exchange student does.
Don’t gossip. If you have a problem with your host family, discuss it with your host family (and your LC), not with the other exchange student. The goal is to resolve the problem, not make it bigger by involving an additional person.
Adapt to the host family. You and the other student may both find some of your host family’s customs to be different or strange. Remember that you came to experience American culture, so you both should adapt to the family’s lifestyle.
When unsure, ask your host parents. Adapting to a new culture takes time and effort, and can sometimes be confusing. Your host parents are the experts on American culture, and are the best people to give you advice. The other student is still learning too, and their advice will be influenced by their own cultural viewpoint.
If you're interested in learning more about hosting a double placement, check out the Frequently Asked Questions below or contact your Local Coordinator.
Double Placements – FAQs
Q: If my family hosts two students, who decides which two students live with us?
A: Your family gets to choose who you host. Your Local Coordinator can help find students that would be a good fit for your family.
Q: What if a student doesn’t want to be placed in a home with another exchange student?
A: Before the placements are finalized, each student will be given the option to accept or decline a double placement.
Q: If I host two exchange students, can they share a bedroom?
A: Yes. Exchange students may share a room with each other or with one of your teenage children. However, each student must have their own bed, and no more than two teens can share a room.
Q: Can I host a boy and a girl at the same time?
A: Yes! You may host two students of the same gender, or of opposite genders.
Q: Can I host two students that speak the same language?
A: No. State Department regulations do not allow students who speak the same native language to be placed together, even if they are from different countries.
Q: Can I host more than two students at the same time?
A: No. A maximum of two exchange students may be placed with the same host family.
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