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Benefits of Homestay While Studying in a Foreign Country

July 18, 2014 in Homestay

Renting with a friendly local family might do wonders in helping a college student adapt. These are a few advantages.

There is no better way for cultural immersion than staying with a host family. Living in another country is challenging, but living in a whole new culture is tremendously more so. It is possible to steer clear of the locals to avoid vulnerability; but an opportunity like that does not come by everyday, and not everyone is fortunate enough to get such an experience. So, for those who find culture immersion appealing, homestay is an adequate crash course with tons of benefits. If you’re looking into providing homestay for a foreign student for the first time, be sure to refer to the article: What the Host Should Prepare for Homestay Students.

Making Friends with the Family

Getting to know new people back home is easy but it becomes a huge problem abroad. Actively looking to build a new social network is one thing, actually having the contacts and group functions to do so is another. Students who stay outside of the campus dorms have learned the hard way that finding friends can be exhausting.

Therefore, one of the top benefits of homestay is having a whole family to rely on. Families who register to be on homestay lists are often classified into categories, for example, a couple with no children, families with young or teenage children or retired couples. This way, applicants can pick what’s most suitable for them.

Learning the New Culture

Through the host family, students can be exposed to their way of life and absorb quickly. In addition, this is not a one-way learning process – both the host and the visitor get to experience each other’s habits and traditions. Regardless of nationality, age, religion or race, everyone will stand to gain a full insight into another culture.

One thing to be aware of is that cultures can vary drastically, so don’t be surprised if they appear offended when you politely excuse yourself from family events. Dive in and be a part of the family; chat, listen, ask questions, even offer to help in the kitchen. Treat them as friends, learning partners and as a source of support and soon you’ll be fitting in without a hitch.

Getting Acquainted With a New Language

Even if there’s no change in language spoken, accent can still serve as a form of barrier, and the only way to “master” a particular accent is to keep listening to it. As mentioned previously, engage in chitchat as much as possible with the family. It may take a while to get used to how certain words sound, but it will stick soon enough. Moreover, it eliminates the worry of sounding weird to them: this family took you in and they would be more than happy to help.

Things are just slightly trickier if there is a need to switch to a completely different dialect but it’s pretty much the same. Keep practicing at home so when amidst classmates in school, the accent would not sound so foreign anymore.

No Worrying About Meals

Students generally tend to skip meals or eat unhealthily when exams are approaching – this doesn’t come as a surprise. However, staying with a family will ensure you three full meals everyday, probably with snacks in-between. Although you might be content with chocolate bars as sustenance while burning the midnight oil, chances are your host would not let that happen.

Trying Local Dishes

Ordering take-out can get very bland after a week or so and on top of that, they are expensive and probably not as nutritious. Eat whatever food the family sets on the table and try every flavour they have. Not only is this a gesture of respect, it guarantees a balanced diet. If the taste doesn’t really appeal to you, just think of it this way: even the kids staying on campus have trouble maintaining a proper diet while you get served warm, home-cooked meals everyday.

Author: Yan Hong Ng

Source: https://suite.io/yan-hong-ng/40b22s4

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