Interested in traveling around the world through a homestay? You are in the right place!
Visiting another country through a homestay is a great way to experience the local culture and community. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where you get to learn about their lifestyle, the typical meals they have, and the fun activities you can do that no tour guide can provide!
I had a chance to stay with a host family in Japan and enjoyed every bit of my time there. Here are some common questions about homestay through cultural exchange before you embark on this journey:
A homestay is where tourists have an opportunity to stay with a local host family in the country they are traveling to. Homestays can last as short as a few days to a few years depending on the program. If you are a foreign student attending a local school, your homestay period can range from 1 to 3 years.
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The list is endless when it comes to the many things you can do during your homestay. Some of the things that you can do include:
Many tourists will develop lifelong friendships with their host families. I was crying when it was the last day of my homestay program, how I wish I could relive those times again!
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Staying in an unfamiliar household can be equally exciting and nerve-wracking at times. These are some of my takeaways from my experience as a homestay guest:
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You can check with the foreign embassy in your local country to see if they have any homestay programs available. Host families and guests who apply to the programs linked to the embassy will be evaluated thoroughly to ensure that both parties are in a safe environment.
If you are planning to go abroad to a particular school, you can contact the international student department to see if they have any homestay programs available. You will need to pay a fee upfront for these programs which covers transportation, accommodation, and meals.
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Host families will want their guests to feel at home and most comfortable so they will not usually ask for help. However, any help goes a long way and as a guest, it is courteous to ask if you can help with any chores around the house. Some basic practices include keeping your room tidy and cleaning up the dishes after you are done.
No, you will not be able to choose your host family. Homestay programs will be the matchmaker for homestay placements based on the host family and the guests' personalities, lifestyles, and interests through rigorous screening.
I hope this gives you a clearer picture of what to expect when you travel via a homestay program. Most importantly, always communicate openly with your host family so that you have a pleasant experience while learning about each other's culture!
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