Author Topic: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time - Update post 39  (Read 6521 times)

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JoyinVirginia

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Youngest DD is 17, senior in high school. A group of British teens is coming to our town next month for a joint arts event, and our family will be hosting a student. They will be here for about 3 weeks, and will have a mostly full schedule. The teacher in charge of hosting told me the student we will host has never traveled to US before, and never traveled without her family, and the student's family is especially nervous about her trip - so we got picked because I do have the reputation of the nosy mom who does not let my DD do anything without my ok first.  We just got name of guest and she and DD have friended each other on Facebook already.

So - other that providing a place to sleep and take a shower - what else would be good to have on hand? Any favorite British snacks that you can't usually get in the US? I only have Lipton tea, I only make ice tea - should I run out and get some Earl Gray? There is a shop in nearby town run by British couple, with some specialty foods you can't usually get locally - i could make a trip there. We have computers that student can use to post to facebook or skype the folks. She will have her own room while here. We have a Wii and lots of games, we sometimes play board games as a family, younger DD is very active in church youth group if guest wants to go, and we usually go to the Methodist church - if guest is interesting in attending. Teacher in charge already asked if I could go with group on a shopping trip to nearby mall, and there is a fun area of Richmond with lots of little shops called Carytown I think they would like.

Any tips from anyone else who has hosted part of a larger school group, or who has been a guest in similar circumstances, would be welcome. Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 11:01:25 PM by JoyinVirginia »

katycoo

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 12:36:11 AM »
I wouldn't assume every British person likes Earl Grey.

Why doesn't DD ask her on FB if there's any favourite foods/drinks that you can source for her?

MummySweet

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 01:36:58 AM »
You are very thoughtful for thinking of these things.  Remember, they are coming to experience the States!   

 If they want tea,  your Lipton will be fine.  The average tea drinker here is drinks standard black tea and normally uses a tea bag.   

Erich L-ster

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2011, 02:29:50 AM »
If I were visiting another country I'd be interested in eating the different food from there, not the same stuff I could get at home. DD could ask through facebook if there are any things she can't go without.

glacio

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2011, 11:18:54 PM »
You might want to offer to take her down to the English shop on her first or second day. That way if she needs to get some comfort items, she'll be able to pick out exactly want she wants, but if she wants to jump into the America experience full force she can say no.


hyzenthlay

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 11:43:59 PM »
Our English friend likes nothing better then to hit the fast food joints when he is here.  And I don't think I have ever seen him drink hot tea.

English cuisine isn't all that different from US is it's basic flavors, I wouldn't worry about stocking up on anything.

And f you have a big mall nearby go there! The British are well familiar with cute little shops, it's the great big malls and sweeping vistas that get them sometimes  ;D

Out friend also LOVES seeing the mountains, the sunsets and the wide open spaces. But we live in the southwest and wide open space is what we do best!

veryfluffy

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 06:58:22 AM »
The visitor might not be a tea-drinker, but if they are they might be best off bringing a pack of their favourite teabags with them...Do you have an electric kettle? Because no one would know how to make tea without one.

Don't worry about English food. They will cope with American cuisine just fine, and probably prefer it. They're going to America to experience that, after all.

As for the church thing, don't be surprised if your guest is not religious. Very few young people regularly attend any church in the UK.
   

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2011, 07:12:48 AM »
Agreed with all PPs.

The one thing to bear in mind is that is is unlikely your visitor will have ever seen a gun before, so be prepared for him/her to be anxious around them.

hyzenthlay

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 07:54:56 PM »
Agreed with all PPs.

The one thing to bear in mind is that is is unlikely your visitor will have ever seen a gun before, so be prepared for him/her to be anxious around them.

Unless they are from a very urban area they may be very familiar with riffles or shotguns. Those are still reasonably common in the English countryside. It's handguns they don't allow, and it's not like the average American is walking around open carrying.

Again referencing our English friend, we took him to the Gun Store in Las Vegas and he had a great time.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 09:04:48 PM »
In general, I would solicit questions from her - "do you have any questions about how that works/do you have any questions for us?

Specifically, I would ask about her eating habits/what she usually eats at home. Maybe take her grocery shopping the first time or two.   

I stayed with a host family in a foreign country and it was actually a pretty terrible experience in terms of food - she didnt eat breakfast, so we didnt, despite the fact that we were out on tours or in classes and didnt eat lunch until 2pm.  Lunch was mostly large pieces of bread with 1 small slice of meat, no condiments or extras, a small piece of fruit, *maybe* a small chocolate. Dinners were usually plentiful, but mostly plain white rice, some ground meat/spices and a pastry bread. She did complain about how much of the meat we ate too...All that to say, the food is a *big* part of the cultural experience, and it's also a comfort issue, when you're away from home. But I wouldnt coddle her too much either! That's also part of not being at home-learning to deal with situations outside your comfort zone.  :)

Also, the shower was cold and kind of drizzled - not full force at all, and then she would be mad at me for taking long showers - I needed a longer time to get all the shampoo out of my hair!!   ::) (I think she was in financial difficulty and she must have goteen some sort of financial compensation for housing us, and was just trying to capitalize on that. She gave us a key to use while we were there and didnt ask about our comings and goings, either.)

good luck, have fun!
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shhh its me

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 10:00:30 PM »
  One tip, UK and US  baked beans are not the same. If she says " Oh some beans would be nice to have with breakfest" she most likely means Heinz (UK version , not even the Canada is the same) not Bush's. I'd guess the store with English goods will have them.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2011, 11:41:05 PM »
Thanks for the info so far, the specific examples like about food for instance the beans, and church attendance - that is something I did not think of. Just everyday differences I just don't know enough to even ask about.
DD has sent some of my questions to guest, but no specific answers from her yet.
Hyzenthlay, thanks for sharing the things your English friend enjoys when visiting.That gives me some ideas.
The kids will not have much unstructured time, but I do want to make sure I have things on hand to make her comfortable.
The teacher in charge of housing did say the parents of our guest are very nervous and worried about her traveling to the US, and the student may be fearful also. I am not going to mention firearms or anything else with even the potential of causing more worry. We live in a quiet rural county so hopefully we will not be so quiet as to be boring.

I will appreciate any more suggestions very much!

Nibsey

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 09:11:37 AM »
I'm Irish so it may not be the same from someone from the UK and I've also told this story here before, but when I was 16 I stayed in America with a family for a week and I went hungry because whenever they offered food or tea etc I would answer, 'No that's ok, I don't want to be a bother' and they'd say ok and make and eat dinner while I sat at the table awkwardly making small talk. It's was just a communication difference, I came from a culture where it was polite to refuse once and they came from a cuture where no means no and I was too young to cop the difference ;) Just be aware that if the UK is similar, 2 no's mean no.  ;D
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Larrabee

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 09:39:16 AM »
Agreed with all PPs.

The one thing to bear in mind is that is is unlikely your visitor will have ever seen a gun before, so be prepared for him/her to be anxious around them.

Unless they are from a very urban area they may be very familiar with riffles or shotguns. Those are still reasonably common in the English countryside. It's handguns they don't allow, and it's not like the average American is walking around open carrying.

Again referencing our English friend, we took him to the Gun Store in Las Vegas and he had a great time.


I grew up in the countryside, I hardly ever saw guns and when I did they were for clay pigeon shooting.  Your average British teen will be a bit unnerved by the fact that ordinary police officers for example are visibly carrying guns. 

As for sprawling malls, they used to be a novelty for Brits but in the last few decades they've sprung up here all over the country, we're completely used to them now.  It won't be the mall they are impressed by but the low prices and the 'American-ness' of the products available, so a shopping trip is still a great idea!

Church attendance is much much lower here than in the US so don't be surprised if your teen us a bit uncomfortable about going and don't assume they have any religious belief.  They should know how to behave appropriately at church though as most of us still go for weddings and funerals.



P-p-p-penguin

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Re: Hosting a British teen coming to US for the first time
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2011, 10:22:15 AM »
<Snipping quote tree>

I grew up in the countryside, I hardly ever saw guns and when I did they were for clay pigeon shooting.  Your average British teen will be a bit unnerved by the fact that ordinary police officers for example are visibly carrying guns. 

As for sprawling malls, they used to be a novelty for Brits but in the last few decades they've sprung up here all over the country, we're completely used to them now.  It won't be the mall they are impressed by but the low prices and the 'American-ness' of the products available, so a shopping trip is still a great idea!

Church attendance is much much lower here than in the US so don't be surprised if your teen us a bit uncomfortable about going and don't assume they have any religious belief.  They should know how to behave appropriately at church though as most of us still go for weddings and funerals.

Agreed with all of this!

My dad shoots and has done pretty much his whole life; it's a big hobby of his.  But despite this, I've only seen his guns a handful of times and I don't even remember ever seeing him shoot them.  The laws surrounding gun ownership here are such that unless you're shooting them yourself, it's not hugely likely that you'll have much contact with them.  I've not visited the US but can imagine it would be a unnerving to see, using Larrabee's example, ordinary police carrying guns, particularly so if you have no experience with them.

NB: All 'you's are generally speaking and not aimed at anyone in particular.

ETA: Tea.  In my experience, people are more likely to drink 'standard' brands of tea, such as PG Tips, rather than Earl Grey.  I'm not a tea drinker but from what I gather Earl Grey is more of an acquired tea taste (?) so it's safer to wait until your guest arrives and see what they prefer.  They might not even like tea!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 10:26:56 AM by P-p-p-penguin »