Access to home-cooked food is just one perk of living in a homestay abroad.
Live with complete strangers in a foreign country? No way.
Regarding the homestay option while studying abroad, that was definitely my initial thought process.
But, boy, was I wrong.
For those deciding among the various housing options or for those who would never consider a homestay, consider these four reasons to step outside your comfort zone by choosing to live with locals:
You’ll learn the language.
More than likely, you’re going to study abroad in a country where the language differs from your native tongue. Whether you’re studying that language at school or not, the ability to communicate bilingually is a great life skill — and may have perks in the workforce.
Merely being in the country doesn’t cut it, mainly because you’ll be surrounded by Americans all the time. Servers and tour guides often speak English too — so you’ll speak English. A lot. Having an hour dinner conversation each night, plus all the small household exchanges, is an invaluable, hands-on experience that will really make you practice.
Inside advice from a resident.
Tour books and websites handle everything touristy. You’ll do your research and know exactly where to go. But at some point, you’ll feel like you’re not a tourist –- you’re actually living in the city for an extended period of time.
After weeks of traveling the same route to class, utilizing public transportation and becoming a regular at your favorite cafés, you want more than just a tourist’s perspective.
No one knows a city like its residents, and in a homestay, you have automatic access to locals. Your host family will likely be in the loop about random festivals and events, and also can offer jogging-route suggestions and recommend off-beat restaurants. Living with people who know the area helps you to get the most out of the city.
You’ll go out to eat more than enough times, but the fact that dinner is served to you every night is quite a treat. After a long day of trekking around the city or studying for an exam, one thing you don’t have to worry about is cooking yourself dinner. It’s like coming back home for winter break –- every night. The food is probably typical to the area, too, so it’s part of the fun of learning the culture.
You’ll build great relationships.
Chances are, you’ll really become part of the family, or at least friends with your hosts. You’ll learn a lot about the locals and leave them with an impression of Americans. Getting to know the family will give you true insight to the country at hand.
Of course, living in close quarters comes with its awkward moments and perhaps even some miscommunications, but it’s all part of the learning.
Many students don’t consider homestays –- I don’t blame them. It sounds like you’re losing the freedoms of college by opting to live with a temporary set of parents.
In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Hosts are used to housing American students and are accustomed to the habits of the youth in their cities. So, yes, you can stay out until 6 a.m. if you please and, yes, you can enjoy the city on your own time. Just be respectful.
Powered by Facebook Comments