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In being scared about a foreign teenager staying with us for a week?

41 replies

krepsly · 28/03/2011 18:31

DS has been invited to do the German exchange. He's 12 but his partner is 14 and he would be staying with us for a week. I have no confidence with other people's kids and I'm so scared about agreeing to it!! I'll be a nervous wreck but then I don't want to spoil DS's oportunity to travel to Germany for a week!!

AIBU in being a bit nervous about it all??

OP posts:

scuzy · 28/03/2011 18:32

what are you nervous about exactly?


krepsly · 28/03/2011 18:35

I don't know, mainly the thought of being responsible for someone elses child for a week. Also, what if he thinks the house is a dump etc? what if he doesn't like my cooking?!

OP posts:

Batteryhuman · 28/03/2011 18:35

YABU Its only for a week and if its like the ones my DS has done they are out all day. He will probably speak far better english than the english kids speak german and will almost certainly be fluent in the language of Xbox/playstation which is how my DS managed when communication got tiring.

We have done this twice with french boys and they were lovely.


MmeLindt · 28/03/2011 18:39

He will be fine. And so will you.

Couple of tips for meals - ask him (preferably before he arrives - could you email him or his parents) if there is anything that he really dislikes eating, or is allergic to.

In my experience, Germans really like home-cooked meals such as roast chicken or pork. You cannot go wrong with Italian food, spaghetti bolognese or lasagne.

Puddings are always popular so if you can make (or buy a tinned) sticky toffee pudding with custard. And trifle. They adore trifle.

Cooked breakfast one morning, with friend bread and beans.

I know this is a huge generalisation, but these are the things that my DH and his family like.


MmeLindt · 28/03/2011 18:40

Oh, and I have had huge huge successes with dinner party guests by serving Chicken and Ham Pie and Steak Pie.

They RAVED about the pies for ages.


tethersend · 28/03/2011 18:42

You'll be fine. It's not like you've got floor to ceiling swastikas adorning the living room.

Is it?


DarrellRivers · 28/03/2011 18:44

Mme Lindt,
you recommended Friend for breakfast with bread and beans Grin


MmeLindt · 28/03/2011 18:52

[ahem] that should of course be fried not friend.

Unless you are Hannibal Lector.


unitarian · 28/03/2011 19:06

We've had two separate German exchange students staying with us and they were delightful.

They like good plumbing and appreciate spending time in the bathroom. They are used to eating a big lunch rather than evening meal but adapted quite well to school dinners and fitted in happily with our routines.

Make sure he has change for school dinners and bus fares. He might not be prepared for a stroppy bus driver or dinner lady!

The school sent us a form they had filled in about their interests and food likes and dislikes. If you haven't had this information see if you can contact him direct beforehand.

They think breakfast cereals are a bit odd but enjoy toast. Marmalade is a novelty for them and they ended up liking it but have some jam handy.

The school took them on day trips so there were packed lunches to prepare for but that's easy enough.

I agree with MmeLindt. If in doubt, go Italian.

Oh, and they don't have homework and your DC probably will so let your exchange student loose on your computer at those times. They have their own Schulenet - but I forget its proper name. They do find school until 4.00 very tiring so like a bit of chilling time while their partner gets on with homework.


DrNortherner · 28/03/2011 19:10

Ah don't be nervous. We host teenage Swiss exchange students every year (Swiss quite similar to German?) I bet you find he will love whatever you cook, and if he doesn't he won't say.

I always find them quite shy tbh. You'll be fine.


SingingSands · 28/03/2011 19:24

Totally not a help to you but youve reminded me of the gorgeous French Exchange student that my friend at school was lucky enough to house when we were in sixth year. He was beautiful, and spent all his spare time lying on his bed, listening to his walkman and smoking!

DH has German family, they do like home cooked meals, meat & potatoes stuff so can't go wrong with a roast. But teenagers tend to be universal in their appreciation on McDonald's!


theinet · 28/03/2011 20:30

When i was growing up my sister had a German exchange ( it was the 1980s).

My grandmother met the exchange student and starting talking about Hitler and the War. It was very cringeworthy.


Ariesgirl · 28/03/2011 20:34

My first snog was with a German exchange student...


kalo12 · 28/03/2011 20:35

get together with another of ds's friends that is having an exchange student and host a bit of evening activity in a group, takes pressure off the kids as they can chat to their friend in same language, and other parents can take a turn to host an evening.

doesn't have to be a big deal, - bbq and play station
or cinama trip/bowling


MmeLindt · 28/03/2011 22:29

Oh, yes agree on the breakfast cereal thing.

Germans often have ham and cheese for breakfast, and if you can find some rye bread (or similar) then that would be great. The most common complaint I hear is "Do you not have normal bread?".

Funnily enough, that is the most common complaint from the Brits holidaying in Germany as well.


exoticfruits · 28/03/2011 22:49

It is fine-they are out all day and they often have things arranged for groups in the evening. I just served what we would normally eat and ours (French) ate everything. They are supposed to be getting a 'foreign' experience and just take you as they find you.


stleger · 28/03/2011 22:50

I have a 17 year old German girl coming soon - i am hoping she will be easier than the non eating, dog fearing French girl we had last year. So far all I know is that she doesn't like sauerkraut. By rye bread, is it the beige coloured stuff, or pumpernikel?


mummylin2495 · 28/03/2011 22:52

Do not be nervous.I have two young germans here at the moment ,they arrived yesterday.I have had many youngsters here over the years and they can be great fun.Just treat them as you would like someone to treat your children and you will be fine .


BlackandGold · 28/03/2011 22:55

We had a German exchange student - she loved meat and potato type meals.

School tends to organise a lot of things for them to do and then they meet up together in the evenings.

It will be fine!


Schroedinger · 28/03/2011 23:01

My German husband agrees with exotic, don'g do any hoop-jumping after all the kids are here to learn about this country.

Ah, yes the bread issue. We only survive on weekly trips to the farmer's market which luckily has a German baker. My advice would be don't try too hard, it's unlikely you are lucky enough to find 'real bread'.


mummylin2495 · 28/03/2011 23:04

I am lucky ,the school i have arranges mornings,afternoons and evenings !! the evenings are usually over by 9.30pm to 10.Tomorrow is a trip to London.They go at 7.30am and will not be back again until about 9.30 ish tomorrow eve.We have had a lot of fun with them and five weeks ago Dh and I went to a wedding in Finland of one of our students from ten years ago !


Skinit · 28/03/2011 23:10

I agree about the breakfast German friends used to like having fruit, yogurt, nice bread wih a good choice of toppings....cream cheese and peanut butter, jam, ham, butter etc.

And I agree about the trifle...they also seem to like cream cakes!

I think if you remember how starving 14 year olds are...especially boys...then he'll be happy. Feed and feed him...I am often stunned by how much my nephew and his mates can put away.


exoticfruits · 28/03/2011 23:12

I thought the whole point was living with an English family as they live. I did what I do with anyone-asked if they had any dislikes and went from there with our normal diet.


darleneconnor · 28/03/2011 23:26

Unless they have particular dislikes, give them stereotypical English food, it is a cultural exchange after all.

A full English breakfast at least once.
Fish and chips.
Steak Pie.
Bangers and mash.
Egg and chips (for dinner)
Chicken Pie
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.

Who could not be happy with all that?

Dont worry I'm sure it will all go swimmingly.


magicmummy1 · 28/03/2011 23:51

My sister and I did loads of European exchanges as teenagers - my mum never batted an eyelid about having French, German and Russian teenagers wandering in and out of the house. The longest ones were for two months at a time. We had one slightly odd girl (for two months!) but none of them were any trouble.

And it was fabulous for me and my sister to have those experiences - please let your son go, as he will definitely benefit!

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