Extended Living in American Homes
We Don't Recommend It!
A number of students ask us every year for the names of American families with whom they can make arrangements for living with them on an extended basis. We regret that ISI does not make these arrangements. Neither does ISI recommend that students seek such arrangements. There are some important reasons for you to consider also.
Serious Factors for You to Weigh
We are not talking here about an overnight or even a weekend visit but, rather, a situation where the student moves into the home. Sometimes these extended arrangements work out really well! But history has shown us that the opposite happens too: either the student or the Americans - or both parties - can become surprised and disappointed.
Sometimes disappointment turns in even more difficult directions, such as conflict and disputes. What makes this so difficult is that difficulties such as these don't become clear until after the student has moved into the home! Only then - as people live closely together day in and day out - do the parties discover that living together might not be as easy as it first appeared. Some problems can be worked out and solved, of course. And this is the ideal outcome. But when they can't, where does the student go next?
This really should not surprise anyone. Living together with other people is challenging in the best circumstances. And moving in with people who seem nice but who are largely strangers only heightens the possibilities for problems.
A Better Alternative
The answer for the student?
Find other ways to spend time with Americans. Many Americans love having international students in their homes for meals or for an evening of fun and friendship. So if your goal is to spend time with native speakers or see an American family "up close and personally" this is a great way to go!
Don't know Americans like this? Join some of the many programs offered in the Chicago area for international students and Americans, such as the ones on this site or others in town or at your university. Americans in ISI's programs are people who have already shown a strong desire to meet you AND they have been specfically trained in befriending international students!