Activities for Long Term Visitors to the USA
When family visits from halfway around the world, they stay for as long as possible—sometimes for months. Staying for a longer time might be because they can’t afford to travel back and forth, or because they want to help out with a new baby or other major life change, or they simply miss you and want to spend as much time as they can with you.
After catching up with relatives from out of the country, however, most people eventually run out of vacation time and have to return to work before their guests return home. Isolation by staying at home alone is not healthy even for older adults. What can your long-term guests do while you are at work and the kids are at school?
Your guests might want to consider some of these activities for when you and the kids return to your usual schedule.
Meet up with other people they know who are local
The world seems so small now. Many years ago I lived in a small town in Japan to teach English, and my own English conversation students ended up introducing me to a woman I knew from high school! Who knows how many people your house guests know in the area unless they reach out and look? Facebook, LinkedIn, Ancestry.com and other online sources can help them find people from their past who are nearby.
Attend a cultural/religious center
Cultural and religious centers often offer religion, language, exercise, and health classes. Many community centers have volunteer opportunities. Encourage your house guests to enter the name of their religion or philosophy in a search engine to locate a place near where they are.
Volunteer in a classroom or at a local non-profit
Volunteering at a school is a great way to learn about how children in a country are taught, the values of the host country, and people who may have a different culture. The children also learn to respect and interact with people from different backgrounds and different ages. Your house guests can help give your children a broader world view.When a person volunteers at a public school, certain requirements have to be met. Read more about becoming a volunteer:
Some volunteer opportunities require fingerprinting and a background check, but other volunteer positions do not. Also, you can choose to support an organization that helps things that you are passionate about, such as wild animal rescue, child welfare, or the homeless.
Participate in a neighborhood watch program
- Learn how to be safe at home and in the community through information available at the National Crime Prevention Council
- San Jose Police Department neighborhood safety information (available in many languages)
Help with the day-to-day maintenance at home
- Repair a piece of furniture or replace something that is worn out or broken
Other ideas for activities
- Plan day trips for weekends or days off that you spend together
- Cook a traditional or new meal for the family
- Make a paper-based or digital scrapbook of their stay in the USA
- Learn a new skill, such as CPR or first aid
- Meet some like-minded people through an online service, such as Meet Up
- Watch the birds (https://www.sfbaywildlife.info) and identify animals in the area
- Help a child with a school project or homework or read to them (in any language)
When they are ready to return home, they can interview people to be their return travel companion and hire them through the TripCompanion app!