Sample Student Welcome Letter and Guidelines
This is a sample of the letter we give our own students in the McConnell household, and you may adapt it for your own use–
We are very happy to have you come live in our home while you are studying at ELS. Our wish is that you feel very welcome and a part of our family. We have attached a page outlining some guidelines that we feel will be helpful in knowing what is expected of you and from us. Please do not hesitate to approach us about anything you want to know – we are here to help you learn our customs and language.
We would like to tell you a little about us. Our names are Bill and Denny McConnell. We have been married 37 years and moved to this wonderful home in December, 2002. We have three sons, Russ (41), Mark (37) and Matt (32) who is married to Kelly, (31). Russ lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Dana and our two grandsons, Zack and Vince. A few years ago Mark returned from a 12,000 mile trip to the Washington-Oregon area on his Vespa Scooter. He thought he would live there, but has decided to returned to Oklahoma City to live. Matt and Kelly live about four miles from here and have a precious little girl named Madelyn Joy (4 1/2).They also have a little boy named Owen Matthew (10 months). Denny keeps them a day or two each week.
We have been a Homestay Host Family for about 13 years and have enjoyed so many young people from all over the world – maybe even as many as 75-80 students. In 2005, we also became the Coordinators for the Homestay Program – meaning we are the ones who find the wonderful homes for the students to live in while they study at ELS.
Denny and I are also owners of the 23rd Street Antique Mall. We have been in the antique business since 1990. It is very time-consuming, but we love the business.
We would like to share with you about the most important thing in our lives. We are a Christian family. By that, we mean that we are followers of Jesus Christ – he is our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus was born the son of God on this earth to a virgin girl named Mary. His purpose in coming to this earth was to die on a cross for the sins of the world – which includes you and me. This is a miraculous thing and you can read about all creation and about the life of Jesus in the Holy Bible. When you accept Jesus into your life, He promises us life ever after in Heaven.
We would like for you to know Jesus, also. If you have any questions, please come to us and we will do our best to help you understand who Jesus is and how you can come to know his love. Our church has several International Ministries (International Church, Korean Church, Native American, Hispanic and All-Nations Church). We would love you to attend our church with us each Sunday morning. There are many ELS students who attend.
Once again, we are happy to welcome you to the United States. We consider it our privilege to have you here and to assist you in every way that we can.
Bill and Denny McConnell
McConnell Host Home Guidelines
Below are guidelines just to let you know what our expectations and wishes are for you. We are very happy to have you in our home and want you to feel a part of our family.
BREAKFAST: We will always have cold and hot cereal, English Muffins, Bagels or bread for toast, milk, fresh fruit and/or juice on hand and would like you to make yourself at home in our kitchen. We will be glad to show you where everything is stored and how to run the dishwasher, microwave, etc. Please rinse your dishes and put them into the dishwasher. We ask that you be conservative with the water when rinsing dishes, remembering to turn the water off when you are not actually rinsing a dish–so as not to run up the water bill. If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, please rinse your dishes and place them in the vinyl holder in the left sink. Also, if time allows, please help by putting away the clean dishes if the light is on — be sure to turn the red light off only after you have unloaded the dishes. On some occasions, Denny will fix a special breakfast and have it available at about 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. Also, you may cook anything you like for breakfast or dinner.
LUNCH: You will need to be responsible for your own lunch on campus; or buy your own food to prepare and take to school.
DINNER: We own our own business and devote a great deal of time to it, so by the time we close our store, and get home, dinner will usually be ready around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. Occasionally, we have to work late. When that is the case, there will be food available for you to help yourself. Always, after dinner, all of us help cleaning the kitchen, so please join in and help us by clearing the dishes off the table help, rinsing and loading the dishwasher, wiping off the stove, counter tops and the dining table. It’s a fun “family time” together.
WEEKEND MEALS: Because of the nature of our business, our very busiest day is Saturday and we will never be home on Saturday. Therefore, breakfast as usual; and dinner – there will always be food in the refrigerator – please help yourself. Sunday we will sometimes eat a meal together by 1:00 p.m., but most times we eat at a restaurant with our friends after church. When you attend church with us, we would love you to go with us to eat out. Otherwise, just “raid” the refrigerator.
OUR HOME – YOUR HOME: You are welcome to make yourself at home in the “common areas” of our house — watch TV anytime you want, watch movies, play the piano, read, play board or card games, etc. There is also a TV and VCR/DVD player in the basement for your convenience. We do respectfully ask that you not smoke or drink any alcoholic beverages at our home. Also, since we work six days a week, our normal bedtime is 10:30. Thank you for respecting our time at night by keeping your music or TV volumes low, and asking your friends to not call after 10:30pm. If you have any problems or questions, please come to us and we will help you in any way we can.
YOUR ROOM: We respect your privacy and will never enter your room without first knocking. We want you to feel at home in your room – this is your space. If there is anything we have forgotten that will make your stay more comfortable, please talk with us about it. We have provided a vacuum cleaner (stored in my sitting room closet) for you to use in your room along with a dust rag and furniture polish. Please try to run it about once a week and do a little dusting just to help keep everything nice and orderly.
We have provided a towel bar on your closet or room door to hang your wet bath towel and wash cloth on. Please do not leave wet towels or wash cloths on the furniture, nor on the bed. Also, please put any drink glasses on the coasters provided to keep water spots from damaging the furniture. We prefer that you not take food to your room – crumbs and left-over food can cause bug infestation.
***Each morning before you leave for school, please neatly make up your bed smoothing out all wrinkles, pick up your clothing and hang them in the closet, open your blinds or shutters, and leave your door open to help the ventilation in your room.
LAUNDRY: The washer and dryer are located in the basement. We will be glad to show you how to use the washer and dryer. Please remember to launder your bed sheets, towels and wash cloths regularly. There is a laundry hamper provided inside your closet to place your dirty clothes in.
BATHROOM: As a courtesy, please keep the bathroom as picked up and clean as possible for your suite-mate(s). Cleaning supplies are under the bathroom sink. You should work out a cleaning routine for the bathroom with our other students – it should be cleaned every week!! (Mop the floor, clean the toilet, clean mirror, scrub the tub and sink, etc.) Plumbing in American homes is very good and you can flush reasonable amounts of toilet paper in the toilet. Too much toilet paper can stop up the toilet and cause costly repairs. It is not necessary to have to put your soiled toilet paper in the trash can.
LEISURE TIME: We hope you will make many new friends from many countries while you are in ELS. We encourage you to go on all the planned ELS activities. Anytime you go out with friends, just let us know how we can reach you in case of emergency, and when you will return home. You may text or call us to let us know. Anytime we are home, you are welcome to have a friend over to visit at reasonable hours, but we respectfully ask that you not have friends over when we are not at home. Under no circumstances should you ever have a female in your room.
TRASH DAY: Tuesdays are the day the trash men come to pick up the neighborhood trash. Every Monday evening, please help us round up all the trash in the entire house into plastic bags, put them in the large trash cans outside, and roll them to the front curb. Your help is appreciated.
This is a lot of information – but we hope it will help you feel more at home and give you guidance in what is expected of you. We will treat you like part of our family!!!
Information you will need to know:
Bill and Denny McConnell
Home Address: Your address
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (your zip)
Home Phone: (405)604-8780 — Cell Phone: (405)203-6536
23rd Street Antique Mall
3023 N.W. 23rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
**Work Phone: (405)947-3800 (call this one 1st)