Submitted by: ISE

21st Century Skill: Communication

a. Students write a letter of introduction to their host family in the target language.
b. Students reach out via Skype, Facebook, email or other social media and practice communicating in the target language with their future host family.

Materials needed: stationary, pen, internet, Skype, Facebook

Time: 1-3 hours

a. For students before they know who their host family will be:

Before you know who your host family will be, write a letter of introduction. First Impressions Count! Your "Dear Host Family" letter is the first impression that you host family will have of you. Write a letter that will show them that you made an effort to share your life with them! Letters should be neatly written or typed on stationary in your target language. Do not write your letter in pencil or on notebook paper.

If your host family will be assigned by ISE, you are required to write this letter as a part of the on-line application process.

Here are some guidelines to help you make a great first impression on your host family:

  • First write a rough draft in the host country language for your teacher to review. Describe where you live, your family members, your parents’ occupations, subjects you study, your extracurricular activities, your job, your favorite music, movies and food, etc. Pose questions you have about them. End your letter by thanking your family for hosting you.

  • Now re-write your letter to submit on-line. Be sure to include your full name, mailing and e-mail addresses, Facebook page or other social media accounts so your host family can contact you. Please limit your letter to 3 pages.

  • Include a current photo of yourself, either alone or with family, with your letter. Be sure to identify yourself in any group photos.

b. After students receive their host family information they can reach out to continue getting acquainted and practice communicating in the target language.

There are a few ways in which you may reach out to communicate with your host family before you leave. You can write another letter and mail it the "old fashioned way." You can write an email or you can reach out through Face Book, Skype, Facetime and other social media.

Your host family will continue to learn about who you are only by how you are presenting yourself. You are an ambassador for your family, school and community and you have so much to share with your new global family. Express yourself as the impressive student that you are. Do not use your introduction as a way to shock your host family and make them worry about who they will be hosting! Remember, you are going abroad to learn just as much as you share.