Deep Dive Into Cultural Exchange Through Homestay

By Anna Tan | 13, Feb, 2023
Deep Dive Into Cultural Exchange Through Homestay

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:


First, What Is A Homestay?

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.


What Are The Things You Can Do During A Homestay?what are the things you can do during a homestay

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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:

  • Visiting a local quaint cafe that has not gone viral on social media before.
  • Walking or cycling around a quiet neighborhood in a safe environment.
  • Learning how to farm or harvest vegetables for your dinner consumption.
  • Visiting the local bar scene with your host would have been difficult if you were traveling on your own.
  • Eat in local restaurants instead of popular tourist spots.
  • Become friends with your host's neighbors and friends (or even the lady in the local market!)
  • Watch the sunrise or the city skyline from a hidden location that only locals know.
  • Become fluent in your host family's language.

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!


Tips To Get Comfortable In Your HomestayTips To Get Comfortable In Your Homestay

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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:

  • Bring a gift or a book about your life in your own country. This is, after all, a cultural experience. My host gave me an entire album of her school life!
  • Learn the local language and practice conversing with your host family. Not everyone will speak fluently in English so you will need to make the extra effort!
  • Be open to new experiences and be respectful of the local culture, food, and customs. If it is not something you are comfortable with, for example, you may dislike eating a certain food, communicate it to your host family so they will make arrangements.
  • Like every family, there will be times when host families quarrel with each other. Do not be alarmed and respect their boundaries where necessary.


Where Can I Find Homestay Programs?Where Can I Find Homestay Programs?

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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.


Common FAQs

Should I Help With My Host Family's House Chores?Should I Help With My Host Family's House Chores?

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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.

Can I Choose My Host Family?

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!

Interested in studying abroad? Here are the best Western cities to stay in for Muslim students!

Anna is an upbeat travel writer who is constantly hungry for adventure (and food). She writes about her climbing adventures on

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