What Will My Foreign Exchange Student Call Me?

The thought of this never really crossed my mind until our agency representative told us that we should have our student called us Mom and Dad.

My wife and I went along with that theory until we were alone. We looked at each other and said NO WAY. This wasn’t our child so we saw no reason for her to call us Mom or Dad.

Should Your Student Call You Mom or Dad?

My wife and I were not comfortable with this at all. As soon as we picked up our student, we told her she can just call us by our actual names. We went this route because we wouldn’t want our actual daughter calling someone else Mom or Dad. It just seemed odd to us.

Does It Really Matter What They Call You?

As long as our student respects us, my wife and I do not care what she calls us. If you’re the type of person who needs the “power” of being called mom or dad by someone who isn’t your child, I would suggest you rethink your decision on hosting a student.

How Should I Refer to my Foreign Exchange Student?

The easiest way for us was to ask our student what SHE wanted to be called. Her giving name is fairly long and it is recommended that they go by an “American” name.

Our student just simply shortened her name and all is well. If we are talking to other people we do refer to her as our “host daughter” since we are in a sense her “host parents” while she is here.


Don’t make it weird or uncomfortable for your student. They are away from their parents for 9-10 months and it is a very stressful time for them. Just let them call you by your first name to make things smooth.