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News - Youth For Understanding USA

Latest news about Youth for Understanding USA student exchange programs worldwide – Events – Partnerships.

16 things to do with your exchange student

Jennifer McKendree

You’ve hosted your exchange student for a few months now, and you may be out of ideas for things to do. Remember that there are reasons your exchange student came to America. Education is paramount; however, they likely want to experience our culture and experience typical American life. When you involve your student in family activities, you help fulfill their goals.

  1. National and state parks. Our parks are a treasure, and there’s one near you. They feature breathtaking beauty and learning opportunities.

  2. Historical sites. Learn about American history at landmarks and monuments.

  3. State or county fairs. What’s more American than a fair? Regions across the nation hold festivals and fairs.

  4. City mouse. If you’re hosting a student in the city, go to the country to experience wide-open spaces. If you live in the country, go to the city to experience the bright lights. This welcome change of pace shows our varied landscape.

  5. Orchard. Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Try cider, pick apples and take a hay ride.

  6. Museum. There may be an exhibit from your student’s country in one of the 35,000 museums in America.

  7. Fishing. Fish from shore, rent a boat or drill a hole in the ice.

  8. Sporting events. Attend a professional, college or high school sporting event. Pick a sport that is played all over the world, like soccer; or choose a sport unique to America. It’s a challenge to explain baseball to someone who has never seen it played before.

  9. Music. Maybe a popular artist is making a tour stop near you, or you can attend a free concert at a local band shell. Make sure it’s music your student likes.

  10. Candy. Exchange students love dessert. Visit a candy or ice cream shop for a treat. Or make a pan of brownies and watch the smile spread across your student’s face.

  11. Meals. Visit a restaurant that features cuisine from your student’s country, or invite your student into your kitchen to help make a traditional dish from their country. They will be glad to experience a taste of home.

  12. Worship. If you attend church or synagogue, invite your exchange student to come along. It may be an interesting experience.

  13. Plays/movies. Attend a play put on by a local company or high school. Go to a popular blockbuster or an off-beat film festival. Experience a drive-in movie theater.

  14. Seasonal activities. Grill out or pack a picnic basket. Rent kayaks. Go leaf watching. Take a sleigh ride, go sledding or ice skating.

  15. The mall. Your student may like to try on clothes.

  16. Visit family. Your student might enjoy meeting your extended family. Bring them along to birthday and holiday celebrations.

Take photos during activities with your exchange student so they can send them home. To help your student feel like a member of your family, put photos on the refrigerator or place them in frames around the house.