During study abroad, one of the places where you will spend a considerable amount of time is at your homestay. In order for your experience to be as amazing as possible, it is also important that your homestay experience is an amazing one too.
Living abroad can be difficult at first, but making a positive connection to your homestay can impact your experience for the better.
From my personal experience in Lima, after having done a homestay through EdOdyssey, here are four keys for you make the most of your homestay:
1. Embracing Common Spaces
In your homestay, you should not feel like a stranger! You should spend as much time as possible in common spaces with your host family. Avoid locking yourself in your room all the time!
In a homestay, you are essentially becoming a member of your homestay family. Therefore, you should want to spend time in common areas, ask your host parent or parents questions, and make conversation.
2. Creating Connections
Creating a social and natural environment in the homestay is what lended to myself enjoying every second of my homestay experience. I would have long conversations (all in Spanish!) over meals about Peru’s history, my hosts’ lives, and life in general. It was very comforting to me that I could come back after a day of classes to a place that felt so much like home.
Your host family is always there to talk to you! Let your host family know what is going on in your life. This could include your plans, travel plans, or anything as personal as you so choose. It is understandable if you want your own space sometimes, but interaction is encouraged for everyone to have a mutual understanding and respect of one another.
3. Fostering Mutual Respect
Remember that you are staying in another person’s home and you’ll have the best experience if you treat their house that way from the start. If you had a student from another country staying at your house in the United States, how would you want them to treat your home?
It is completely fine to make yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable. You should always ask permission if you want to have friends over the house. It is unreasonable to expect the luxuries and services of somewhere like a hotel. Keep your spaces clean and always be respectful of the home you are living in.
4. Finding Balance During Your Homestay
During your time abroad, you’ll enjoy your time if you strike a balance between alone time, time with your homestay, and activities outside of the home. If you constantly are spending time by yourself or locked in your room, you’ll probably develop cabin fever and feel less connected to your new home.
At the same time, you shouldn’t spend all of your time at your homestay, as it is important to go outside and experience the city, but the time that you do spend there should be valuable.
Your homestay family is there for you with whatever you may need and EdOdyssey is there to help you if you have any questions as you get settled in your home away from home. As you build a good and respectful relationship with your host parents, you’ll find that you’ll always have family in a new part of the world.