„Welcome to our family – make yourself at home!“ – Kind words like these shape students experience when entering a family’s home in Bonn. Living in a host family is a very important part of cross-cultural learning. The immersion into family life and family networks in a different culture enables students to develop an enriching perspective on German traditions, cuisine, life style and society. Students become part of the family: visiting Uncle George on the countryside, watching soccer together, taking trips to local events – students are immediately integrated into the family’s life, while the host family does their best to make students feel at home.
At the end of a program, more than 90% of students rate their homestay as an excellent and important experience. Thanks to the close relationships they formed while in Bonn, most students say they would like to come back or they would be very happy to welcome their German hosts some day in America.
Aside from family life, interactions with German students in Bonn enable students to communicate at eye-level: from student to student! With over 35,000 students in Bonn, such encounters are very likely to occur and strongly encouraged. This is why 20 energetic student assistants work at AIB to guide, help and consult incoming students as they become better acquainted with life in Germany. Whether it is figuring out the best place for lunch, finding a local sports club, or just hanging out, local student workers do their best to make students feel at home. Student assistants are always available during class hours and additionally also offer fun activities after class or on weekends. Examples of some past activities included German cooking and movie nights, a soccer tournament and a trip to a local art gallery just to name a few.
„One of the things I love most about Bonn is my amazing host family. I cannot say enough nice things about them. […] In all, I don’t think my study abroad experience would have been the same without them. They make me feel like a member of the family and not just a guest.“
Hannah Finlayson, 2012