Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the local language. I’ve taken Italian classes before, but I can barely speak the language. Unfortunately, this means that while I’m sitting at dinner or taking a walk with my host mother, I am working double time to try to understand what she is saying and to come up with a reply other than “si.” Try to study the language prior to your departure so that you can hold a basic conversation with your host family. They will see this as a very positive characteristic and therefore like you from the start.
Most importantly, remember to smile and have fun! Your host family will have a hard time getting to know you if you are quiet and reserved the whole time. They are just as excited and nervous as you are, so stop worrying and make the most of your time!