Etiquette: Your Room

Here are some tips to get settled in your new room while being respectful of your host family and your new home.

Updated over a week ago

You will be provided a private room (or shared room, depending on the package purchased) that includes a bed with linens, dresser, closet space, window and a lamp. You will also have an area to study that has access to the Internet.

The room should be cleared of the host family’s personal belongings so that you have adequate space for your own personal belongings. You should be granted reasonable privacy, but should make an effort to spend time with your host family because they are excited to get to know you!

Here some tips for keeping the peace in your new homestay room:

  • Cleanliness: It is the student’s responsibility to keep their room clean and free of trash. The host family will provide clear instruction to the student as to how to keep their room tidy and where trash should be disposed of.

  • Students staying in their rooms alone: Students staying in their rooms alone with the door closed for endless hours can cause concern to American families. One of the purposes of living with a host family is for students and host families to learn about a different culture! You should try to make an effort to spend a little time each day with their host family. Try not to isolate yourself in your room, apart from your family, for long periods at a time. The dinner meal is usually a good opportunity for host families and students to spend time together talking and sharing a meal.

  • Food in your room: No food or drinks other than water should be taken into your room—unless your host family says it's okay! You may want to start taking food into your room, but, if you do not keep things tidy, this can result in stains or cause pests to appear. Until you ask your host specifically if it is okay to eat in your room, we advise that your room should be restricted to having water only.

  • Bedding: Bedding in an American home can be confusing for students. If you are confused about the bedding, please ask your host family which layer you need to sleep on and which pillows are to be used for sleeping. Your host family wants you to be comfortable!

  • Windows: You might want to open windows for fresh air, but ask your host family what to do if the heat or air conditioning is on. In America, the cost of utilities for heating and cooling can be very expensive. Resist the urge to adjust the thermostat without your host family’s permission.

  • Lights: Students should turn off lights when leaving a room or when not in use. This will help your host family's electricity bill and keep your room cool during hot days.

As always, if you have any questions, ask your host family! You can never ask too many questions, and asking ahead of time will always help to avoid any misunderstandings.

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