Most of you have been out of your parents’ house for at least a few years, whether in the dorms or off campus housing, the idea of a new Tica mommy asking where you are going and expecting you home for dinner may take a little getting used to.

Here are 3 tips from current and previous study abroad students that will ensure you a pura vida host home experience!

  1. Housewarming gifts

Bring something that represents where you’re from. Just like you would go crazy over little souvenir in Costa Rica, your house family would love a piece of your city. I brought my house mom a Memphis coffee mug and locally made barbecue sauce (if you have ever been to Memphis, you know this is a must!). Things such as t-shirts, picture frames and American candy are also great options!

  1. Discuss rules and expectations early on.

“Some of my friends were frustrated with their host family because they didn’t serve them enough food, but then they told me they felt bad saying anything about it to them. It really put a damper on their study abroad experience,” said Lillie Owns who studied in Costa Rica this past summer.

Be honest with your host family because they want you to be happy, but won’t know if you are or not unless you tell them.

  1. Ask your host family about fun activities and ask if they’ll go with you to do them.

Figuring out a new city is difficult, and finding fun things to do can be more of a challenge than expected. When going to the same restaurants, seeing movies, and visiting malls gets old, ask your host family about fun activities! Most of the time, they are ecstatic that you want to experience their city and will invite you along to all different kinds of activities, giving you a local experience you never could experience on your own.

Adjusting to a host family is one of many adjustments you will make as you transition to this new culture, but your host family may just be the one thing that makes your study abroad experience spectacular.

So be honest, put yourself out there, and enjoy this unique opportunity to really experience a new culture!

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