Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family:
Use a positive tone.“The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive.
Go deeper than the application form.Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a chance to talk about why you do what you do. It is also an opportunity to provide more details about your interests. Do you love science fiction, for example? Do you enjoy indie rock or heavy metal or hip hop? That said, avoid details like which specific bands you like, books you read, movies you watch, or video games you play. These details are often very meaningful to the student, but not so much to the family, who might not be familiar with your favorite bands or movies.
Describe your personality.What kind of person are you? What’s your outlook on life? How would others describe you? Your host family wants to know! Describe your family, but don't spend time on physical descriptions. Sometimes students don’t know what to write about, so they focus on facts. “A number of families passed on a French student because all he did was describe his parents and siblings’ height, hair and eye colors in his letter,” says Ian Goff, Recruitment Coordinator for ANDEO. "When we asked him to rewrite his letter, we found a placement for him right away." Rather than highlighting physical characteristics, describe rituals or routines you do with your family. Do you all have dinner together? What do you do on weekends? What makes your family unique? Are you particularly close with any of your family members? Families will likely be especially interested in what you like to do with your own family.
Explain why you are excited about the experience.
Have fun writing your letter!
Living with a host family is a key part of every ANDEO program. Ready to start your adventure? Check out our programs here.