Category: BLOG (71)

Christmas ornamentsOne of the biggest benefits of the international student program is the opportunity to bring different cultures together.

Both you and the international student living in your home can learn about the other’s traditions and values. This is especially true during the holidays.d

Celebrating Your Holidays

Your family probably has some holiday traditions that they celebrate every year. These may be religious, secular or a combination of both.

Whatever your international student’s religious or cultural background, there’s no reason to change the way your family celebrates the holidays. You aren’t going to offend your guest by celebrating your religious or cultural heritage. In fact, they are likely to be very interested in learning more about it, as it may be entirely new to them.

Celebrating Their Holidays

At the same time, there’s no reason why your international student shouldn’t celebrate their own holidays just because the are away from home. Encourage your guest to teach you more about their traditions so you can learn and participate as well.

Inclusive Holidays, Not Exclusive

The holidays are a time for families and friends to get together and share good times, good food, and their cultural and religious heritage.

While your international student is staying in your home, treat them as part of your family. Whatever you would do for your own children — buying gifts, including them in the holiday festivities, helping in the preparation of feasts, even watching football on TV — you should include your guest in as well.

Be aware of cultural differences. But rather than being afraid or ignorant of them, make an effort to learn more and make your guest aware that you want to celebrate their holiday traditions as much as your own. The result is often a memorable holiday that can be enjoyed by all.

 

sea turtleResidents of Hawaii have a great advantage when hosting international students. The Hawaiian Islands are filled with natural beauty and wonderful experiences that can be shared with a visitor in your home.

Planning a weekend or day trip to one of Hawaii’s many cultural and natural attractions is the perfect way to both entertain and educate your international student. Each island has places to visit and incredible sights to see that are sure to impress your visiting scholar.

Here are a few suggestions of places to go:

Akaka Falls State Park

Located on the Big Island, Akaka Falls State Park features some of the most visually stunning examples of natural waterfalls found anywhere in the world. Spend the day touring the park, enjoying a picnic lunch next to the falls, or taking incredible natural photos that can be kept forever as happy memories by your international student.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Also on the Big Island is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the state’s most popular attraction bringing more than 3 million visitors per year. And it’s not surprising, given that the park includes the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, as well as the world’s biggest volcano, Mauna Loa.

USS Arizona Memorial

Another popular attraction is the USS Arizona Memorial, which is located in Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Spend an education afternoon touring the memorial and learning about the Japanese surprise attack that launched the US into World War II.

Haleakala National Park

Located on Maui, Haleakala is an enormous dormant volcano. Take the winding, scenic drive up to the summit, where you can see many of the other Hawaiian Islands.

Your international student will marvel at the natural beauty, including pristine freshwater pools, seemingly endless waterfalls, and plenty of natural hiking trails where they can see Hawaii’s natural splendor up close and personal.

 

healthy food choicesAs the host of an international student, you often find yourself serving as their surrogate parent. That means that many of the responsibilities their actual parents have for the student’s health and well-being will temporarily fall to you.

Promoting a Health Diet

One of these responsibilities is making sure your guest student is eating a healthy diet that is filled with nutritious foods. If you are accustomed to eating a lot of fast foods and convenience foods, the semester or school year your student is staying in your home may be a good time to convert you and your family to a better diet.

You can make sure your guest student — as well as you and your family — have plenty of energy and are less likely to get sick by making these changes to your everyday eating:

  • Include More Fresh Vegetables — Make a point of having at least one fresh vegetable with every meal. Vegetables are filled with all-natural vitamins and nutrients that make the body healthy and strong.
  • Cut Down on the Carbs — Carbohydrates that aren’t immediately converted to energy during digestion are stored on the body as fat cells. So when you have a diet that is high in carbs combined with a sedentary lifestyle, you can expect your student to start to add weight relatively quickly.
  • Replace Carbs with Proteins — Carbs and fats should be replaced with proteins, such as those that come from fresh meats, poultry and dairy products. These proteins will give your student more energy and help avoid weight gain.

These simple dietary changes can have a huge influence on the health and well-being of your student visitor, not to mention you and your family.

While hosting an international student, strive to avoid foods that are unhealthy — such as fast foods and prepared convenience foods — and replace them with fresh choices.

Do you have a home in Hawaii and are interested in hosting an international student during the coming school year? Are you a foreign student who is planning on living and studying in Hawaii in the near future?

Then you’ve arrived at the right place!

Hawaii Student Housing is the new all-in-one tool that matches host families and individuals with international students quickly, conveniently, and simply.

find the perfect match

Whether you are a family that would like to host a high school student in your home or a college student looking to take on an international student as an extra roomate, Hawaii Student Housing has the simple, easy-to-navigate tools to connect you with your perfect match.

Hawaii Student Housing is also perfect for international students planning to move to Hawaii to study. Simply log on from anywhere in the world, input some basic information, and our high-tech algorithm will automatically provide you with a list of available housing from which to choose!

Our online tool matches hosting homes with students.

hawaii student housing

Finding a hosting home in Hawaii ihas never been easier!

Now you can find housing that is secure, affordable, close to colleges, and ready to move in! Simply search using your preferences and find the type of house you are looking for in just seconds.

Hawaii Student Housing lets you search by location, per map, or by other features that are most important to you.

How It works

Typically, high school students from other countries will stay with a volunteer host family for free.

College-aged interational students will often look for roomates already living in Hawaii who would be willing to let them split the rent or pay for their own room.

Regardless of whether you are an international student who is in high school or college, if you are planning on studying in Hawaii, then Hawaii Student Housing needs to be your first stop!

Why Hawaii?

Given its natual beauty and exotic locale — Hawaii truly is paradise on Earth — the Aloha State is one of the most popular states for foreign students seeking to study in the United States.

Unfortunately, many Hawaiian colleges and universities lack the housing resources to accomodate their own domestic students, let alone those from overseas. So international students who plan to travel to Hawaii to study often find it difficult — if not impossible — to find a place to stay.

But not anymore!

Thanks to Hawaii Student Housing, now you can find the ideal living arrangements well in advance of your arrival. Our convenient, computerized matching tool connects you with your best options in just a few minutes.

HAwaii Loves International students

Hawaii loves hosting international students. Our strong, loving families often love to learn about new cultures, interact with people from different backgrounds, and embrace diversity.

Not surprisingly, international students are also good for the economy of the Hawaiian Islands:

  • International students in Hawaii contributed $108.5 million to state’s economy in tuition and living expenses in the 2012/13 academic year.
  • International students in Hawaii contributed more than $205 Million Directly to Hawaii’s Economy in 2014 / 2015 academic year.
  • According to one recent report, there currently are 4,450 international students studying in Hawaii, as well as in domestic schools from other states.

the ideal match in just minutes

You can use Hawaii Student Housing to list your apartment, house or room.

Hawaii Student Housing is an online matching tool that connects host families with international students and current students looking for roomates with international college-aged students.

We welcome universities, parents, students and our entire local community to use this tool to learn more about other cultures and to simultaneously help our local economy to grow. We also offer assistance in helping foreign students find the best schools and resources in Hawaii, as wel as help with visas, paperwork, and much, much more!

Want to learn more? Then click on the box on your screen to get started TODAY!!

electric guitarsFor many teenagers, adolescence is a time of creative discovery. Not only are their bodies going through the changes of puberty, but their minds are becoming more aware of their natural talents and abilities.

For your own children, this is the time to encourage their creativity. And the same holds true for teenage international students staying in your home.

Help Kids Be Creative

If your international student expresses any type of interest in anything creative, you should support it wholeheartedly.

For example, they may ask about taking music lessons, such as learning how to play the guitar or drums. While this may require you to patiently allow them to make a racket in your home as they develop their skill, it will be worth it in the long run.

Check with Educators

Ask your international student’s teachers or school administrators if they have expressed an interest in doing anything creative. Then see what options are available at your local school.

In many instances, there are afternoon programs at the school itself where the student can learn such things as acting, dance, how to play a musical instrument, writing, making videos, and other creative activities.

At the very least, your international student’s educators may be able to recommend a program outside of the school that could fit their individual need for a creative outlet.

Keep Their Parents Informed

Sometimes, it’s difficult for the parents of international students who study abroad during their teenage years because many physical, intellectual and emotional changes can occur in a very brief period.

That’s why it’s especially important that you keep your international student’s parents informed and involved in their creative development.

Use Skype, Hangouts or other free and convenient video chat apps to keep in constant contact with your international student’s parents. And make sure that your house guest also speaks with his or her parents at least once per week!

 

EDRWhen you have an international student staying in your home, there are inevitably many cultural differences that need to be overcome. But there also are differences that stem simply from your guest being a young person.

Kids are always into strange, alien things that seem foreign to older adults, regardless of their cultural background. If you have school-aged children at home, you probably already are aware of this. But if you are new to having teenagers living in your home, get ready for a second kind of “culture shock”.

‘Kids Today …!’

Being a little weird and different is a rite of passage for most teenagers. In fact, it’s a natural part of growing up. When children enter their teen years, they often have a psychological need to rebel from the familiarity of their childhood in order to assert their own personalities, ones that will serve them as adults.

Sometimes this takes some strange forms, such as an affinity for loud, seemingly impenetrable music. Electronic dance music (EDM) is the latest in a series of musical genres kids use to create distinctions between themselves and grownups, following in the steps of such parent-alienating musical types as grunge, punk and even rock and roll itself.

Strange Hair and Fashion

Another thing kids today are into is unusual and unlikely hair colors. Where a few generations ago long hair was used to show rebellion and individuality, today’s kids choose to dye their hair blue, green, orange, purple and other strange colors.

Fashion has always been used as a tool teenagers use to set themselves apart. And today’s teens are no different.

Baggy pants, short skirts, tight tops, and especially hooded sweatshirts are fashion choices most of today’s teens gravitate towards.

If your international student starts to choose any or all of these teenage fashions, don’t be alarmed. It’s all a normal part of growing up.

 

 

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We take the traditions surrounding our holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July for granted. But to outsiders who have never experienced theses events before, they can seem baffling and confusing.

Explaining Your Traditions

Some traditions are simple to explain. For example, we traditionally serve turkey on Thanksgiving in commemoration of the similar feast the Pilgrims shared with Native Americans during earliest colonial days in North America.

But others are nearly impossible to explain to international students, such as what Santa Claus has to do with the birth of Christ, or why we pass out handfuls of candy on Halloween.

It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about the holidays themselves while still leaving questions unanswered about the specific connections between what we do and why we do it. Sometimes “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer.

Defending Your Traditions

Our holiday traditions are a part of who we are, even if we don’t fully understand or remember why we do certain things. So don’t feel compelled to defend your traditions to your international students.

After all, their homeland‘s traditions probably would seem very bizarre to you. And if they were asked to explain every little detail about why they do what they do, in all likelihood they would be equally perplexed.

Instead, invite them to share in the enjoyment and comfort of these annual events. Holidays are a time for sharing with family, friends and neighbors. They should be enjoyed as they are without having to think too much about what they mean.

Your international student will return home with some interesting stories to tell about many of our most beloved holiday traditions. Imagining what it will be like for them to describe some of these is amusing.

For many international students, studying abroad is often their first experience being away from home for an extended period of time. No matter how old or young they are, that can be a traumatic experience.

You want your international student to feel as comfortable and welcome as possible in your home. But if they are experiencing homesickness, it can seem like nothing you can do will make a difference.

Yet there are things you can do to overcome homesickness in your international student. Here are some ideas:

  • Coordinate a Care Package — Reach out to your international student’s relatives back home and arrange for them to assemble and send a care package that includes many of the student’s favorite things. These can include the foods they love, cherished personal objects from their home, and family photographs.
  • Keep Communications Lines Open — Thanks to today’s technology, keeping in touch with family and friends members via Skype, Hangouts and other video conferencing tools is easy, even if they are on the other side of the world. Encourage your international student to keep in frequent communication with their people back home. Sometimes just talking with their parents or their BFF is enough to counteract homesickness.
  • Sympathize — Being homesick is a completely normal response to being away from the people you love for the first time. Give your international student time to come to grips with their feelings. Sometimes all it takes is a little time, space and sympathy for them to get over their homesickness so they can start to appreciate the experience of living in a new place.
  • Keep Them Busy — If your international student is distracted by lots of activities, they probably aren’t going to have time to be homesick. Plan lots of sightseeing trips, get them involved in after-school activities and encourage them to make a lot of friends so they have a busy social life.

If your international exchange student participated in athletics at home, they may want to continue to play their favorite sport when staying in your home. But the question is, can they?

It all depends on the rules regulating the school athletics in your area. Some high schools and colleges will allow international students to temporarily join a baseball team, football squad, or some other team sport. But others may require students to live in the district for a specified period of time before they qualify to play.

The rules may be a little less strict when it comes to individual sports, such as tennis, golf or fencing, however.  So if your international student prefers one of these sports, they may be more likely to be able to play.

Asking for an Exception

If your international student is told he or she cannot participate in team sports because of the district’s rules, you can always ask for an exception. The worst thing that can happen is that it is denied.

Ask the coach at your school about the process for appealing for an exception to the rule. Typically, you will be required to plead your case — either in person or in writing — in front of the governing body or school board. After deliberation, a decision usually will be made one way or the other.

If your student is a particularly gifted athlete, you probably will be able to recruit the assistance of your school’s coach in the appeals process. After all, they want the best possible athletes on their squad.

Next Steps

If your international student is not allowed to play in organized sports through the school, you still have some options.

The rules regulating club sports are usually a lot less stringent than NCAA or high school athletic association rules. Or you can look into intramural or pick-up games your student can participate in to stay active and to keep their skills honed.

 

Occasionally, an international student will want to get a pet. This sometimes occurs when your house guest is homesick or needs to find a way to express his or her affection for another creature but can’t connect with other people living in the house.

Unfortunately, allowing a foreign student to get a pet isn’t always such a good idea. For one thing, strict customs laws prevent animals from being taken out of the country in most cases. So your exchange student eventually will have to part with their pet when it’s time to go home, which could cause additional emotional trauma.

Emotional Attachments

Another problem is that getting your foreign exchange student a dog, a cat or another type of pet as a way for them to express themselves emotionally when they aren’t connecting emotionally to you and your family may cause them to shut themselves down even further.

A better plan is to invite your foreign student to become more involved with the care and maintenance of your existing family pet. Give them the daily job of walking the dog. Invite them to take the cat to the groomer for you.

Give Them Pet Responsibilities

When you let your international student be more involved with your family’s pet, it allows them to make an emotional attachment to another member of your family. And that can often serve as a bridge that opens them up to feeling more comfortable and at ease with other members of your family who share their love and affection for your pet.

At the end of their stay, there may still be some separation anxiety between your international student and your family pet, but if they have made other connections with you and your children, it won’t be as severe as it would have been had you allowed them to get their own pet during their stay with you.