For the weekend, we are recycling our number one most popular Blog post. Since this post went live on August 9, 2009 it has been viewed over 4000 times. If you have joined the Conversation Corps, if you are headed abroad to be a Conversation Partner, or if your volunteer project includes a homestay, this post is for you. It's fun, and very instructive. _______________________________________________________ So you've joined The Conversation Corps! Next item on the "Things To Do" list is write a "Host Family" letter. Here is one recently submitted to us: Dear Potential Host Family, I love French fashion and French food. I want to come to Paris and spend my time learning how to design French clothes and show the French fashion industry what I know about French fashion. I'm also a really good cook so I think that will help me fit in to the culture. 1. Your "Dear Family" letter is the most important part of your packet. GeoVisions is out there "marketing" you to families seeking tutors. Tell them why you have a passion to visit their country. Explain why you have a keen interest in languages and communication. Write something funny about conversational English and that you know it's not only difficult but most of the time doesn't make any sense...even to Americans. Let them know something about your own family and what you've been doing the last few years with your life. Tell them how friendly you are and that you know one of your "duties" is to respect their family's rules. You are eager to try all kinds of things and you look forward to meeting them. 2. When you submit your five photos you want us to show your prospective host family, keep in mind only your closest of friends are interested in your tattoos, piercings and your talent of holding 5 beer bottles with your toes while standing on your head...on the bar. Mom and Dad are not especially interested in showing your bikini-clad body at spring break to their teen-aged sons. They don't care what you look like asleep with the marker drawings on your body that your friends drew on you when you were passed out. They want to see you with clothes on, with your own family, with your friends doing ordinary activities. 3. Use humor, but don't go overboard. Don't do this, which is an actual letter we were asked to share with a potential host family: Dear Host Family, I want to come live with you because I hate my own family and living with you could not suck more than the family I live with now. I am embarrassed about my own family and since no one here knows you...you have to be a step up. My father is gone and I have no idea where he is nor do I care. My mother dates an undersea welder who's main function it is not to get blown up. My sister dates every man in [location left out to protect the innocent]. 4. Don't demand Paris, Rome, Rio, Barcelona, Bangkok, or San Jose. Tell your potential family you are eager to go where you are needed. It's OK to tell them you hope it is easy to find public transportation where they live because one of the reasons you want to come to their country is to learn as much as you can about their COUNTRY. You don't want to tell them you want a central apartment in Madrid to allow you to stay in the clubs until 4:00 a.m. making your return to awaken them early in the morning much easier and safer. 5. Let the family know you hope to travel as much as possible and that if they choose you, you would love to set up a tutoring schedule that matches their expectations to learn Conversational English and also takes into your consideration how much you want to experience their country. Don't go thinking you are going to SIT in their home all week. Plan the activities you want to do, read up on the area and make a list of things to do, ask GeoVisions for other hints and ideas to make your 1, 2 or 3 months rewarding...to your host family and to you. GeoVisions can help you prepare the very best Dear Family letter and packet to guarantee your placement. Our staff has a lot of experience and are available to help you when you decide to join the Conversation Corps.