When moving to a foreign country to pursue your studies or career goals, you generally leave behind your family and loved ones. Soon, you’ll meet new people, make new friends and sometimes get invited to their families. They’ll have their own culture and ways of life. It’ll be your time to adapt. In this article, we’ll depict a few practices you can apply when invited in a family from a different culture.
The basic behavior to adopt when invited in someone’s family is to be polite. That includes the basics: saying ‘yes please’, ‘thank you’, etc., but also to observe your surroundings and mimic your hosts’ behavior. For example, if they take their shoes off when entering their home, do the same.
Generally speaking, ask before you do or try anything that involves their home. To be polite, hosts will often say “make yourself at home”. However, it would be better if you kept some kind of reserve, especially in the beginning. Ask if you can serve yourself more food, ask if you can use their washing machine, ask where you can leave your stuff.
Regarding the food, make sure to try everything or to politely decline trying something you truly dislike. If you are really picky about food and staying in the family for some time, consider buying your own groceries.
Try to not make a mess. Especially if you are a messy person, do your best to keep your room, table or whatever space you are given as clean as possible. Make sure you adapt to the house’s rules and ways. For instance, if they do the laundry every Tuesday, make sure to have it ready for that day. If they sleep around 9pm, don’t start cleaning or moving stuff at night, etc.
When staying at someone’s place, it’s a good idea to bring some gifts to thank the family for having you. It can be as simple as flowers or chocolates, as the intention is what matters. (As long as you don’t bring wine to a Muslim or Jewish family, you should be fine.) Often, products and food from your own region or country are really appreciated.
Another way to show your appreciation is to bring along gifts for the children or the elderly in the family. If you have no idea what to buy, we listed a few present ideas that can help you choose.
Try to act with respect and consideration. This is an important aspect many people forget about. Be considerate of the family’s time and money. For instance, doing things as simple as helping with the chores, or letting them know when you won’t eat at home is essential.
Plan your own time
Do not expect too much from the family. Remember that although you are their guest, they are not here to serve you. Of course, they can have you visit a few places and organize some activities for you, but don’t expect them to do everything. Understand that while you’re here, they have their own lives to live on the side. Sometimes, that doesn’t include you.
Spend time with the family
Spend time with the family. Keep in mind you’re not in a hotel, you’re staying at people’s houses. Help out with the chores, give a hand to cook (or offer to cook the meal once a week), play with the children, talk with the elderly… Creating bonds is also a part of the experience! 🙂
This is the little plus that will make the family love you: offer to pitch in! As mentioned previously, you can pitch in by helping out with chores, such as cleaning the table after dinner. However, you can also pitch in financially speaking.
Some families won’t accept money. Instead, you can buy groceries for the whole family once a month or decide you’ll be the one cooking for a week. To help you with spendings on a family level, you can invite them to be part of your family on Finnt App. There, you’ll be able to refund them instantaneously through the app.
You can also use the Finnt MasterCard Debit Card to buy groceries and help you monitor your spendings. All your transactions will be reported and labeled automatically in the app. You can then adapt and perfect your saving and spending habits.