Tips and Suggestions on Hosting

Some Suggestions from Former Hosts

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  • Breakfast is sometimes tricky. They will not eat much cold cereal. They are used to noodles/rice and veggies for breakfast but are usually happy with anything hot (eggs, oatmeal, steel cut oats….) Leftover dinner is often preferred (and appreciated!) to cereal.
  • You will need to pack a healthy lunch for them. Although they are not usually sandwich fans, they will eat them.
    • Peanut butter and jelly is a strictly American thing that most people in the world do not enjoy, by the way. The Australians who visit think that is an extremely odd pair of condiments to put on bread. Do not take it personally if your guest does not finish it. Meat and cheese will be preferred.
    • Generally, enough snacks will suffice (yoghurt, mixed nuts, veggies, fruit, granola bars).


  • They love tea. They will likely bring loose tea with them (or as gift to you- very traditional) Just make sure to NOT serve the “first round”.
    1. Once you fill a pot with tea leaves and hot water, pour out the water once the leaves are slightly expanded.
    2. First round is bitter (and likely dusty!)
    3. Second round is the best.
    4. The tea they gift in fancy tins is usually very high quality.
  • Hot water (to drink! they do not usually like iced water) Helpful to keep a full kettle on the stove and show them how to use it. Many families do not have microwaves, so you will need to teach them about that, if necessary.

Food and Meal Suggestions:

    • Keeping hard-boiled eggs on hand is easy for ANY meal. They like these.
    • Chili with rice
    • Rolled tacos and/ or taco bar
    • Chicken noodle soup
    • They liked spaghetti with meat sauce
    • They love any lightly sautéd vegetables
    • Japanese soba noodles with stir fry. Very quick cooking time and easy. Available in Asian section.
    • Pot roasts and any roasted meat. Although they eat and love cooked vegetables, they are mostly big carnivores! A challenge to a vegetarian family!

Foods They Generally Dislike

    • They won’t eat many raw vegetables (salad).
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Salad or raw vegetables


They will likely present you with a gift. If you can stock up on cheap American flag keychains or flag things (pencils, socks, stickers??), they love these.

Some hosts like to also give a gift to them at some point (an El Capitan t-shirt or sweat pants)

Entertainment and Activities

  • Students will be traveling before or after their school stay. You do not need to formally entertain or spend money on going out to amusement parks and restaurants. Emphasis on just having family time and helping make dinner is expected by the students (especially for those coming from boarding schools, this can be especially appreciated.)
  • On the weekend, they love visiting local areas that are free (Julian, Barona museum, Balboa Park).
  • They will usually want to spend a lot of time at the mall!
  • Have a table set with a big jigsaw puzzle and show them any “independent projects” (coffee table books, cards, games drawer?) that can keep them entertained if your children have a lot of homework.
  • If they have math homework, they are usually very interested it that- it is fun to see the different ways they solve for the equations. Very Common Core!
  • Arts and crafts activities are a fun way for them to create something they can take home as a souvenir.
  • The younger students who lack English skills will be tempted to “hide” with their phones in their rooms.
    • Encourage them to come out in the living room while you are working on homework or preparing dinner.
    • They like to play simple games and watch t.v.
    • Have them help you with chores! Some of these kids are at boarding schools and LOVE to be a part of the family and help you set the table and make dinner. Remember that they are still your guest so if they do not want to do chores, please do not force them.