Dear AHLI Students,
For many of you, you’ve already completed 1 month of school. How was the start of school? Was it easier than you expected or more difficult? No matter how much you prepare before your arrival, the adjustment to a new routine with the start of a school year can be different than expected. The staff of AHLI, including your Coordinator, are here to help you when you need a listening ear or have questions about American school or homestay.
This month, I’d like to talk about an important aspect of American culture: Gratitude. Gratitude is the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It is an essential American value, which Americans display with frequent, friendly words and gestures.
Ask yourself, in what circumstances do people show gratitude in your culture? Is it typical to say thank you after small interactions such as buying a snack at a 7-Eleven convenience store? Would you say thank you to your teacher after an interesting lesson in the classroom? Or how about saying thanks when your mom prepares the family dinner? In the United States, Americans show appreciation by saying thank you not just for big things, like being given a birthday gift, but also for small, everyday acts of kindness, such as holding the door open for someone else to enter, getting a ride home from sports practice, or washing the dishes. In American culture, we are extra-expressive in saying thanks… in fact, you probably can’t say or show it enough!
In your country, how would you show gratitude to your family members? It’s important to take a minute and think about how you can demonstrate gratitude to your host family who has welcomed you into their family. To help you be appreciative “American style,” let’s look at 3 easy ways to show gratitude.
- Say it: Say thank you often and consistently. You can also express appreciation by saying, “I really appreciate it when you…” pick me up from school, help me with my laundry, or take me to the store.
- Write it: Americans love sending and receiving cards! You can buy a card for all sorts of occasions in the United States, including thank you and appreciation cards. Many Americans keep such cards as good memories and to show friendship with those around them. Surprise a member of your host family by writing a simple thank you note. You don’t need to mail it… just leave it at a place where they will find it.
- Show it: Gratitude is not just an emotion; it’s also an action! Americans show their appreciation by helping each other. When you see one person setting the table for a meal, jump in and help with the task! If you notice that the trash can is full, empty it! After returning from the store, offer to carry the bags into the house. There are a million ways that you can show thanks to your host family!
This week, find 2 ways that you can say, write, or show your appreciation to your host family. Your family will appreciate it, and you will be on your way to adapting to American Culture!
Also to all of our Asian students and friends, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay