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5 Apr, 2018   |   

How To Be An Amazing House Guest

There are many times when you may stay in someone else’s home for the night.  It may be when you stay with family, friends, or with a host family during a study abroad or gap year program.  Being an amazing house guest will leave you and your host family with a great and memorable experience!

How To Be An Amazing House Guest:

  • Learn The House Rules.  It’s important to learn rules that they expect you to follow while staying in their house.  They may have curfews, quiet times, or other rules. Be respectful and follow them.
  • Help Out. Offer to help with cooking, cleaning up, and other items around the house.  They may or may not take you up on it, but they will be grateful for your willingness to lend a hand.
  • Participate in Activities. Even after a long day make sure to interact with your host family. It will be a rewarding experience to spend time with them and get to know them.
  • Limit Your Internet Use. Staying tethered to your computer or phone is not OK. Prioritize the host family experience. You may only get a short amount of time with your host family so it’s important to make the most of it.
  • Learning. Ask questions as much as possible to learn about the culture in which you are staying. This is one of the greatest advantages of staying with a family instead of in a hotel. Here are some great conversation starters:
    • What’s your favorite food?
    • What are some of your family traditions?
    • What are your favorite activities?
    • What is one place I need to see while I’m in town?
    • What’s the best thing that happened to you today?
  • Stay Clean and Neat. Whether you are sleeping on a couch or have a bedroom, be sure to keep the area you are in neat.  Make the bed each morning, and keep your belongings organized.  Also keep common areas neat and clean. 
  • Be Organized When You Leave. Check that you haven’t forgotten anything, and strip the sheets off the bed, fold them, and leave them neatly for your host.



How To Go Above And Beyond:

  • Cook for Your Host Family. Cooking a meal or baking a treat is a great way to share something from your culture and do something nice for your host family! 
  • Say Yes! Challenge yourself even when you are tired. Your host family will be excited to show off their hometown so make sure you join them whenever invited. This is a great way to get to know your host family and see the place they live through their eyes.
  • Listen To Them. Your hosts have wisdom and stories to tell. Make sure you practice active listening to get the most from the experience and make them feel heard.
  • Leave Your Phone In Your Room. When you’re staring at your social media feeds, you’re missing out and likely making your hosts feel bad.
  • Share Photos, Music, or Games From Home. Your host family will appreciate learning from you as well! Plan ahead and bring a few things from home to share with them. 

Thank Your Host Family:

  • Send a Thank You Note. After your stay make sure to mail a handwritten thank you card showing gratitude for opening up their home to you.
  • Bring a Gift. Leave a small gift to thank them. This doesn’t have to be something expensive. It just needs to be something that represents you or where you are from, and says thank you. 

Interested in a host family experience?  In every city we visit, Up with People cast members stay with host families.  This experience is one of the most rewarding benefits of the experience. This is true for not only the participants, but the host families too! Learn more about how you can be part of an Up with People cast at


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