By definition, a cultural exchange programme allows young people to be hosted by a family and become a member of it. The idea is that they should be introduced to a new culture and take part in their everyday life.
Such a temporary extended family will require some time to come to know a guest and the way she differs culturally from them. Conversely, a host family will have to find out and tress what they have in common with her. Both a host family and a guest should be flexible and open-minded, and pay attention to their mutual privacy. On top of this, they should discuss, openly and in a civilised manner, any possible problem or misunderstanding that may crop up.
You must never forget that communication, mutual respect and the ability to listen to one another represent the most crucial factors of a successful cultural exchange experience. In this respect, there are certain rules to bear in mind.
THE GOLDEN RULES OF HOSPITALITY:
A host family, which provides board and lodging for a guest, is supposed to:
• Give the agreed pocket money to their au pair once a week (Not applicable to tutors).
• Increase the au pair’s pocket money if she is asked to be available for a greater number of hours during a specific period. (Not applicable to tutors)
• Make sure that their au pair receives three meals a day. This applies even when a guest has her days off, or whenever a host family is away.
• Pay attention to her dietary habits.
• Make sure that their au pair has freedom of worship.
• Explain the guest how make use of everyday household appliances.
• Respect guest’s privacy and free time.
• Discuss general schedule in advance so that their guest’s language classes will not clash with family needs.
• Help their guest with the host family’s native language even at home.
• Take care of their guest in case of illness. For this reason, the au pair are supposed to be provided with pocket money for at least one week, even when she cannot help her host family because of her illness.
• Give their guest at least one day off per week, which no less than once a month should fall on Sundays. (Not applicable to Tutors).
• Make sure their guest gets at least three free evenings a week (not applicable to Tutors).
• Give a two weeks’ notice if they intend to bring to an end the cultural exchange experience before its agreed date. Also promptly inform the Association about this decision.
Au pairs and tutors are expected to:
• Get up-to-date on local rules and customs which regulates areas of common social life, and always try to stick with them.
• Conform to the habits and behaviour of their host family.
• Do not interfere with host family rules which govern children’s upbringing.
• Teach the required language(deve puntare a RAP-I&O-Insegnamento della lingua-en) according to family requests and keep the parents informed about children’s language knowledge progress.
• NEVER beat the children in her care.
• NEVER invite a friend without having first asked permission from their host family.
• Always keep neat and clean, and have their room in a tidy condition.
• Plan their holidays in conformity with the needs of their host family (not applicable to tutors).
• Give a two weeks’ notice if they intend to terminate the cultural exchange experience before an agreed date, and be prompt to inform your Association about your decision.