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ABODE® AN AMERICAN HOMESTAY EXPERIENCE FEW WORDS FROM RYOKO May 2011 I hope we are having warm spring days by contributed for the cause, but if you are the time this newsletter reaches all of interested in supporting Japan, here is you! one local resource: First of all, I’d like to thank those who contacted Tomoe and me to make sure that our families in Japan are OK after the earthquake in Tohoku area. We were very relieved that both Tomoe’s and my families are OK though Tomoe’s family had to go through difficulties such as power outage as her hometown is much closer to the disaster area. As far as we know, our Japanese students’ families are OK, but I am sure the students had hard time reaching their families and I appreciate you for supporting your students. I am sure many of you have already Seattle Japan Relief: http://seattlejapanrelief.com/ Please note: ABODE is not associated with the organization. At ABODE, we are getting ready for our short stay group season and Fall quarter. We have lots of information to share with you on this newsletter about our summer plans– please get in touch with us if you are interested or if you have any questions about our summer programs or Fall quarter students! We are counting all of you to have the best homestay experiences for all of our homestay participants this summer again! Inside this issue: Summer Group Schedule & Fall Quarter Preparation 2 Bring Varieties to Breakfast and Lunch 3 House Rules- a Cultural Comparison & Approach 4 WE NEED MORE HOSTS! PLEASE KEEP US IN THE LOOP! Is your son or daughter going off to college? New family member? Any students from other programs, new job, new pets, or new contact information (phone #, emails, etc)? Please contact us and update us on any changes at your home. We really want to send the most accurate homestay profile of you to students so students can trust you and ABODE work as a team! If your student is going on vacation this summer, please also let us know. We can help you calculate the vacation payment or we may be able to offer you a short‐stay student for that time. Thank you! ABODE is always looking for good homestay hosts. Please refer your friends, colleagues, neighbors, or anybody you know who may be interested in hosting students with ABODE! Our current biggest needs are: ‐Magnolia/Queen Anne/Fremont area ‐On a good bus line to the University of Washington (1 bus, within 30 minutes is always ideal) ‐Hosts in West Seattle who are willing to host male students. ‐Hosts in Shoreline who can welcome Chinese students this Fall. ‐Hosts in Puyallup who can host male students for Clover Park South Hill campus (17214 110th Ave E, Puyallup) We are offering the $50 referral bonus upon the successful placement of a student. Please make sure to have them mention your name on the application form (there is a section to do so). Please have them contact us: ABODE Homestays Phone: 206‐527‐8654 E‐mail: [email protected] Page 2 Page 2 SUMMER GROUP SCHEDULE AND FALL QUARTER PREPARATION We are going into our busy season! Please take this information into consideration as you make your summer plans, and let us know of your availability for Summer and Fall. iLEAP (Japan) August 2nd to August 29th Antioch University/Internship $625 for the stay, double placement Notes on hosting short‐stay students: ‐You must be in town duration of the program in order for you to host short‐stay students (no vacation); ‐Double placement means: two Ritsumeikan University (Japan) separate rooms or one room with two August 6th to September 3rd Summer Quarter: beds (NO air mattress or mattress on University of Washington Summer quarter students will be the floor please); $625 for the stay, double placement arriving between the 2nd and 3rd ‐Unless otherwise noted, all the week of June. Please keep us updated (Mostly Male Students) programs are Traditional Homestay (3 on your availability. If you have plans Nakanippon Aviation College (Japan) meals included). for a vacation in June or July, the September 1st to September 14th placement may not work with you. South Seattle Community College Fall Quarter: Summer short‐stay group: $25/night, double‐placement For Everett and Here are the groups that (Male Students) Shoreline Community have been confirmed so far: Colleges, Fall students will be arriving * Schedules are subject to We are still getting inquiries anytime after Labor Day weekend change regarding groups. we will let you (September 6th and on). For other know of any additional groups. schools, students will be arriving from Ajou Automotive (Korea) September 9th and mid September. Even if you can only do single July 1st to July 15th We ask hosts not to leave the new placement, please contact us as we Shoreline Community College students alone overnight during the also work with individual summer $25/night, double‐placement first month. Please make your students coming to various areas in (Mostly Male Students) vacation plans accordingly. Seattle. Zhejiang University (China) July 9th to August 7th Thank you for your effort in working University of Washington with ABODE! $625 for the stay, double placement BRING VARIETIES TO BREAKFAST AND LUNCH MEET YOUR STUDENT’S NEEDS AND KEEP THEM HAPPY! Food is definitely a challenge for international students in the homestays. Trying new foods is part of the homestay experience and I hope your students have already found their favorite “American” dish! When it comes to breakfast and lunch, most Americans tend to go with quick and easy items such as cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. While in Asian countries, where the majority of our students come from, their mothers fix warm meals for them. We’d like to share some ideas and tips from our experienced hosts, so that you can bring variety to your student’s breakfasts and lunches. Thank you to those who shared ideas and tips with us! In ABODE’s traditional homestay program, breakfast and lunch are self‐served, so you are not expected to cook these meals for them. However, it’s very important that you show them what foods they can eat for these meals and where they can find them. The phrase “help yourself” can be a very new concept to them. Here are some popular items for breakfast: bagels, breads, frozen waffles, yogurt, fruits, cereals, toast with various spreads such as jelly, Nutella, peanut butter, or jam. Many hosts have found that bagels are a big hit; students like to use them for sandwiches or eat them with cream cheese. Cereals are also commonly served, and can be both popular and not so popular items. Most hosts have a few kinds of fruit available for their students; sometimes seasonal fruits, although apples, oranges, (continue to page 3) Page 3 (Continued from page 2) and bananas are typical. Apart from cereals and fruits, frozen foods such as waffles, hot pockets, corndogs, or burritos also seem to be popular! fish for breakfast, but as they stay with us a while they will transition to more of what we typically think of as breakfast foods.” Many hosts find that their students just roll out of bed in time to catch the bus or eat as they are running out the door. These hosts stock up on granola bars, fruits, muffins, hard‐boiled eggs, and string‐cheese for their “grab‐and‐ go” items. Sandwiches are the most common item for lunch, but can be versatile, too! The bread can be replaced with bagels, croissants, baguettes or tortillas. One host shared home‐made “spread” ideas for sandwiches ‐ egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad instead of the traditional lunch meat and sliced cheese. On the other hand, some students make a nice breakfast or brunch before they leave for school. These students seem to often request items such as eggs, cheese, sausage, ham, green onions etc. Since packaged ramen noodles are also a favorite among them, some hosts say they have a large stock on hand. They are inexpensive and can be found in many flavors at any Asian market. You can also buy them in bulk at Costco. The students tend to cook the noodles with eggs and veggies. It may surprise you, but some students don’t even know how to fry eggs. So it might be a good idea to teach them how to make something quick and easy like French toast or omelet. This will give them a greater variety to choose from than eating cereals every day. During the homestay, some hosts have noticed that their students (often female students) are on a diet and are health conscious. And so, they may request soy milk instead of regular milk, or a specific kind of yogurt. One of our more experienced hosts says, “I buy lots of fresh vegetables because so many students are on diets, so they like to take salads. All their mothers tell them they'll get fat here, so they're always surprised to get healthy foods.” Cold meals vs. hot meals – as mentioned earlier, the majority of our students come from Asian countries, where they often eat warm dishes for each meal of the day. You may have already noticed that many students like a hot meal or salty food even for Leftovers are also one of the students’ favorite first meals breakfast. To those students, cereals, of the day. This was a bit surprising to me, as eating sandwiches, and salads are “cold” food. Even though we leftovers can be an issue among students. Even though they are not accustomed to eating the same food over and sometimes eat salad as a meal especially in summer, it was a big surprise to some Chinese students! over, many hosts have said that their students have adopted the leftover method which has been very One our hosts who often receives the complement of “the successful. Thus, hosts seem to make extra servings for greatest food” from their former students, said “I guess that purpose in mind. Then right after dinner, they have that translates into lots available.” Breakfast and lunch can the students pack the leftovers. Some hosts have pointed sometimes get in a rut, and having some variety will help out to us that unlike most Americans, students seem to keep your students happy! Another host says, “I think it's prefer a salty or spicy dish for breakfast. Therefore, all about taking time to communicate, to make them feel leftovers may be a good alternative, as warm cooked comfortable, and show them all they need to be successful meals are something they are used to eating for breakfast in finding and making their breakfast and lunch.” Yes, in their home country. communication is always the key to a successful homestay experience! Ask your students about their likes and One of our host says, “When they first arrive, they tend to eat leftovers from dinner, rice, potatoes, pasta, meat and dislikes. It’s also good to be aware of their class schedule so that you can get items that best suit their needs. Tips: Here are some quotes from the hosts: ‐“Rice is a must‐ some of my students made a huge batch and froze it in serving size in baggies. That way they could just “nuke” them in a microwave at school or at home.” ‐ “Let your student know where the shopping list is and encourage them to put on the list they would like for their lunch and breakfast” ‐“I always ask students to come shopping with me soon after they arrive and let them pick out foods they’d like.” Page 4 HOUSE RULES– A CULTURAL COMPARISON AND APPROACH You've recently welcomed a new student to your home. You have given them a little time to recover from jet‐lag and gain initial acclamation. Now, you are ready to go over the home stay guidelines for students which includes your house rules, meal time, and other aspects of your household. Pretty straight‐forward and clear, right? As you prepare to have that discussion, here's something to keep in mind. International students will strive to make sense of and adapt in their new environment, especially from a cultural perspective. Your approach on how you talk with them about your household will be just as important to their understanding and adjusting. You may be amazed to see how things we take for granted such as "simple house rules", can be big cultural hurdles for some international students to comprehend. The following cross‐cultural examples were based on situations that have come in discussion with both students and families: American Households Asian Households Students from some Asian countries are used to taking a On average, take showers once a day and long shower (20‐30 minutes) and some students may take 2 showers per day. Some may also be used to tak‐ at 10 ‐ 15 minutes. The heating water Shower time systems are via water tanks, which stores ing baths (long soaks in the tub) versus showers. Water the hot water and can run low or out. heating systems tend to be direct gas which prevents hot water from running low or out. Many Asian washers are much smaller than those in the America. For that reason, families in Asia are used to do‐ laundry on average are done about 1‐3 ing their laundry every day. Some may not even have Laundry times per week. dryers in their home and are used to hanging them up to dry. Many countries are solely dependent on public transpor‐ For the most part, Americans depend on tation. This includes trains, subways, and buses. These driving cars as the main mode of trans‐ systems are also extremely accessible and much much Transportation portation. Buses come every 30 minutes more frequent than those in the US. For example, trains in residential area. in Tokyo runs as often as every 5 minutes and schedules are not necessary. Many families highly value education. For this reason, Usually, household chores are distributed children may be limited or even exempt from doing Household Chores or shared in varying degrees throughout chores so focus can be placed on their studies. Doing chores in a host family’s home can actually be a first for a all family members. student. By illustrating a few cultural comparisons / differences, we are by no means asking host families to change their rules. The knowledge of this perspective can then be reflected in your conversations with them. You can empathize with students by letting them know you are aware of the challenges of adapting to a new environment. Also using opening verbage such as “In American, people usually...” can help to give a student another perspective as well. When assigning a household chore, showing as well and telling them “how” to do the chores could be very helpful to get them to fully grasp the expectation. Reminding them that it is perfectly OK to ask questions can give them some reassurance of your support. Taking a little time to put yourself in "their shoes" can really prove to be a great learning experience in cultural understanding for both student and host family.