Top 10 First Week Musts
We surveyed past Los Angeles high school exchange students about their "First Week MUSTS." This is a combination of tips to help get you through a scary but fun week with your American family and in school.
- Right off the plane, give your host family a big hug and tell them you are happy to be there.
- Bring a little gift from your country to your host family. This will give you a nice topic of conversation to break the ice.
- At the family meal, make sure you ask questions of your host parents/siblings. It shows you are interested in them. They will ask you lots of questions, too. Don't be one sided!
- Be LOUD & PROUD! When you walk into class to meet the teacher, tell him/her you are an exchange student (be proud!). S/he will introduce you to the class. This might be embarrassing at first but it will spark a lot of interest from the students.
- Ask for directions at school, even if you are 99% sure how to get somewhere or do something. This gives you the opportunity to let people know you're an international exchange student. People love to help!
- Join two clubs at school. The smaller group of teens with your similar interests will help you feel more comfortable speaking and interacting.
- Take an elective class that gets you involved with many students. For example, yearbook photographer, school newspaper reporter/photographer, basketball team, drama, etc. This will give you more opportunities to meet people in a super easy and fun way.
- Try taking the METRO someplace new to explore the area and to feel more confident with trying to get around this big city.
- Make a plan to meet a new friend at the mall, a coffee house, the basketball courts, the movies, etc. It's important that you show interest in your friends and invite them places, too.
- Always have gum. This will make your classmates happy (not your teacher. don't chew gum in class if that's a class rule!) and you will be able to speak some good American English while chomping on bubble gum!
- We lied. The list now has 11. BE HAPPY! Remember, you are here with us in Los Angeles to have a good time. Repeat that to yourself 1,000,000 times per day. When you're happy, the world around you is happy.
To sum it all up - you will have a fabulous first week with your new family and school if you relax, speak to people without worrying about mistakes, are polite and are happy you have the opportunity to be in Los Angeles.
Big mouths and hearts will take you places!
L.A. Cultural Exchange Team