You’ve decided to become a Roomdock host and open up a room in your home to rent to an international student studying in the United States. That’s wonderful news! We’ve covered some of the reasons it’s great to rent a room to international students in this blog post, and we’re sure you’ll create some lasting memories and maybe even strike up a new friendship.
If this is your first time renting as a host family, we’ve got some tips to help you be successful.
1. Take lots of photos of the space you’re renting out
Many students are coming here from another country so won’t have a chance to see prospective rooms before they come to the United States. When you’re making the ad for Roomdock, try to put yourself in their shoes. Help give them a feel by taking lots of great photos of the space and describing the amenities and dimensions of the room.
2. Consider doing an airport pickup
Imagine how overwhelming it might be for international students, many of whom are away from home for the first time, to land in the airport and navigate a foreign transportation system to your rental. While it’s not required, it’s certainly a friendly gesture to offer airport pick-up. You can even include this service in your advertisement on Roomdock and it might set you apart. Here, you have the opportunity to be the first person that an international student meets when they come to the United States. It will surely be a relief to have a friendly face waiting at the airport as they prepare to start college in a foreign country!
3. Be open to sharing your culture
What makes many landlords on Roomdock special is their excitement to learn about another culture. Many students coming to the United States also want to better understand the American way of life. Many student renters will be excited to have dinner with your or to join you and your family at the museum on a Saturday afternoon. Helping them pick up on the nuances of the English language or introducing them to some pop culture, whether that’s your favorite television show or band, will help round out their experience here in America.
4. Introduce your student to others in the community
Again, while it’s certainly not necessary, a little gesture could go a long way. Consider organizing a small barbecue or a game night so that the student whom you’re hosting has a chance to meet other students or others in the community, as well as pick up on some American gestures at the start of their stay.
5. Give a tour of the campus or community
Again, this is an extra service that you can advertise on Roomdock. While student-renters may have already gotten a standard campus tour, many will appreciate a more personalized one. Show them that coffee shop that stays open late during finals. Take them to the field where people tailgate before football games. Point out your favorite place to grab a slice of pizza. Maybe, there’s a neighborhood park where you love to read or a grocery store that stocks the best produce. Helping your student-renter feel at home not just in their new home, but also their community, is something he or she will deeply value.
6. Learn a new language
Doesn’t it feel good when people want to learn something about you? It helps you feel valued and acknowledged. With that said, it would be super-thoughtful to learn even just a few expressions or sayings in your student’s native language. This shows that you’re interested in learning more about their culture. If you’re interested in learning another language, which, of course, is a valuable skill to have, ask the student renting from you for some help. Who knows, by the end of his stay, you might be having conversations at the dinner table in a new language you’ve learned.
7. Outline some household expectations
One of the most important tips to help things run smoothly is having a conversation early on about shared expectations. Think about what household rules and courtesies are especially important to you. Is it taking turns taking out the trash? Or, is it ensuring the living room remains clutter-free? What hours do you want to be designated as quiet ones. If smoking isn’t allowed in the house, is it OK to smoke in the back yard? Addressing these expectations early on, before they even come up, is the best way to go.
8. Furnish your living space
If you’re able to furnish the room you’re renting out with some basic furniture, like a bed, desk, dresser and lamp, you can really set your rental apart. When students come here from another state, and another country, many times they won’t be lugging furniture or household appliances. If you’re able to offer a furnished room, you’ll save them the costs of having to purchase these items and then the hassle of unloading them before they move home. You can also think of this as a way to help the environment since new furniture won’t need to be purchased year after year. Also, an up-front investment in furnishings will help you attract renters year after year.
9. Help your student understand transportation options
Again, most students coming to the states won’t have a car. If you can, help them navigate their transportation options. This might include showing them some local bikeshare stations or helping them get acquainted with the local bus route. You can also point them to our blog post on the 9 best transportation options for college students.
10. Stay in touch
After your student graduates and moves away, stay in touch! You’ve made a life-long friend and can continue sharing your culture. Wouldn’t it be cool to even go visit your former student in their home country? We’re willing to bet you’ll have a place to stay.