How To Care For Your Midwest Exchange Student

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Thank you so much for welcoming a Midwest exchange student into your home this upcoming semester! We love being able to provide this sector of the United States with the chance to explore life on the country’s East and West coasts. In preparation for your student’s arrival, we have prepared some helpful tips and tricks to ensure the safest and most enjoyable experience for all: 

  1. Provide them with room and board that will make them feel in their element. We have found that our Midwest students enjoy a twin XL size bed adorned with a no-sew fleece blanket from their home’s collegiate state school. 
  2. Give yourself and the student time to progress and adjust. Please bear in mind that the Midwest is actually split into two different time zones– this could greatly affect when the student expects to experience their culture, such as ‘Survivor’ on CBS. Plan accordingly for these cultural differences, so a Wisconsinite knows exactly when to heat up their bowl of cheese dip in preparation.
  3. Midwest exchange students are accustomed to certain formalities. Minnesotan students, for example, may offer a, “Oh! Hi! Hello! Didn’t see ya there, how ya been?” along with a warm hug. Those from Indiana (particularly Gary, IN) are a little less affectionate and may just vaguely stare at you with cold, lifeless eyes. 
  4. Listening to a foreign language (coastal or southern English) all day can exhaust Midwest students. Allow them adjustment periods throughout the day where they are allowed to listen to re-runs of The Office or cicadas.
  5. Midwest students should be able to participate in the universal language of mathematics. If language allows, implore the students to show how they compute operations in their neck of the woods. It has been shown problems including corn or feet of snow have been effective bridges to any language/cultural barriers. 
  6. Students learn language from each other. We encourage planned time to allow for informal student communications. Please note that for some Ohioans, ‘LeBron James’ can be a polarizing subject. Proceed with caution. 
  7. Address your student naturally and in a normal tone. Speaking loudly will not help the student understand and could cause your Midwesterner to recoil afraid into their fleece no-sew blanket. 
  8. Use all types of audio or visual aids whenever possible. Examples include: Vines or TikTok videos.
  9. Praise Midwest students frequently! For example: “You are just like the Chicago of Illinois.” While this may seem positive, this following ‘compliment’ can be offensive, “you are the Toledo of Ohio.”
  10. Midwesterners believe and like to exclaim shock when their home state experiences all four seasons in the span of a single day. If you are hosting them in a consistent climate, please be aware that the stable weather may cause students to believe they are in a ‘Groundhog’s Day’ spectacular. Make sure your student sees you mark off each day in the calendar with a big red x in dramatic fashion every morning. 
  11. It is custom culture for Midwesterners families to gift them with a variety of items to help protect their identity while traveling– such as a passport holder, a passport chain, a suitcase lock, etc. While we encourage all to be aware of surroundings at all times, please inform your Midwesterner that they do not need their passport in hand while traveling domestically to a new part of the United States. 
  12. Your student may need a little help understanding the “why” behind some of the new rules they will be facing. Back in the Midwest, it is custom that their family have their rules hanging up around the house on painted wood, such as “In this house we do second chances, we do love, we do loud,” or “today is a good day to have a good day.” You may just simply ask them to do the dishes. 
  13. While we encourage you to make the most of your Midwest exchange student’s time on either the West or East Coast, we STRONGLY urge you to ensure they are registered to receive an Absentee Ballot for any upcoming elections. 

Once again, we thank you very kindly for welcoming your Midwest exchange student into your home! We look forward to hearing about all of your adventures together. Ope for all, all for ope!

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