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International students residing within the framework of a cultural exchange program in another country should talk with both their families.
When you travel abroad as an exchange student that will live for an extended time at someone else's home in order to integrate yourself within the local culture it will be inevitable that problems will appear because you will be adjusting yourself to an environment that despite appearances, may be quite different to what you know and understand. Save very few and specific cases all those problems can be solved and as they will likely appear within the closest circles, you should be ready for arguments with your host family as well as your own back home.
This fact makes it necessary to keep good communication in both cases. Write and call back home often and tell your problems - being introverted can be a handicap - and ask for advice; remember that you will also have to ask for tips from the people that actually run the exchange program because they will be both willing and in a professional capacity to help. But it is also important that you talk to your host family as you would do with your own. The are in no way something like "the others"; host families make even a bigger sacrifice that you do by having you there. It is expensive, difficult and may even feel invasive if it doesn't go right; so they are even more willing than you to solve any issues that may arise.
Kristin Tellevik, the author and NN on top of Mount Roca del Tiempo.
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