Hello again everybody! I am so happy to write for my second post.
Previously, I have introduced myself and described a vague picture of the high school system in the United States. I hope that information is helpful to you.
This time I want give you some suggestions about how to get along with host families, and at the same time reserve your right for being who you are.
To begin with, before we step into American school, the first thing is to find a suitable host family. The common notion, as you thought, for “family” must be: a harmonious community. However, there is inexhaustible effort behind the harmony of every good community.
I need to point out that host families, as individuals who decide to have one or several foreign students, are not seeking to gain money or simply want to make their house be a hotel. With distinct backgrounds, their reasons vary. Some may hope that the students who come to their home can be good role models for their kids, as well as act as an intermediary bringing diversity into their home. Most of the American families, as I have known, may have a blur of understanding of Chinese culture, either right or not, in some degree through their research or life experience, but as it is not usually the case for them to automatically accept how you are going to behave as a new member in their house. Thus you need to spare time to communicate with them. You need to remember communication is not a one-way-message delivery or requirement , but a mutual connection,like negotiation. What you request and expect may not be the satisfactory outcome to you, but there is still space for you to adjust and improve the way you convey information and make further understandings. Try to be smart and open to discover your host families’ characteristics.
Many times, you have to step out of your comfort zone to achieve the harmony within families. You still need to remember that you reserve all the rights of being a human and for who you are, though from time to time you have to alter for the families. When you realize your host family starts to get tired of your behavior, which seems imprudent to them, but necessary for who you are, there are two options for you: either take action as soon as possible to improve yourself in their aspect, or take your courage to speak with your area-coordinators about host family options(because once again different host families vary in background, what they value might not be what you think as the soundness of life or a proper way toward success. Believe who you are, and do not hesitate or be afraid to voice your opinions and speak up about your preferences.. What way you choose is your right, BUT before doing either of the options, please RETROSPECT both you and the family for what is the origin of the conflict. Do NOT push all the responsibilities to your host families, in that it is a way for you, living by yourselves thousands of miles from home, to grow and become more mature.
Still there is a lot of ways for you to discover about how to live in a harmonious life with American families. I would like to hear about your opinions and experience. Please leave a comment, if you want, and also feel free to ask me questions; I will try my best to respond.
– Xiaoou Chen