Staying with a host family can be your best ticket to cultural immersion. However, many foreign students tend to shy away from homestay programs due to the misconceptions surrounding them. 

Want to learn more about staying with a host family as an international student? Here’s are some misconceptions about homestay programs now debunked: 

You Must Be Fluent in Their Language

Communication is vital to building a good relationship with your host family. Language Is a tool to cultivate communication skills, but it could be a barrier between you and your host family. 

Speaking the native tongue of your host country is imperative to fully immerse yourself in the cultural experience. But learning a new language doesn’t happen overnight. 

High proficiency in a language isn’t a requirement to stay with a host family. In fact, it’s the language gap that drives foreign students to choose family stays over other accommodations. 

What you need to learn are basic and common phrases to communicate with your host family. Start with simple greetings then move to more complex sentences in the following weeks.

Communication is a two-way street. You can request your host family to enunciate their words better and slower so you can understand. It’s your responsibility to put in the effort to learn their language at your own pace. 

You’ll Be a Big Financial Burden to the Host Family

Homestay arrangements are possible through two different pathways: a paid homestay program or voluntary hosting.

Having an additional family member will obviously add up to expenses. But not to the point where it financially cripples the host family.

Voluntary host families are expected to cover your food, housing, and transportation needs. They’re not responsible for costs other than those three. 

In most cases, you need to be upfront with your host family with financial arrangements. Clarify which expenses you’re responsible for like medical costs or dining out. 

Financial responsibilities are more obvious if you got a homestay program through an agency. These agencies serve as a liaison between you and a host family, including financial matters.

These homestay companies pay host families to cater to your needs. They also offer a stipend to offset the costs of hosting a foreign student.

The stipend could be given monthly or daily depending on whether you’re staying for a short period or a long-term. So you’re really not giving them financial trouble, you’re even helping them earn extra revenue. 

You’ll Get Special Treatment as a Foreigner

Staying with a host family means you need to adapt to their way of life. You should adjust to their culture and lifestyle, not the other way around.

Being a foreigner in a host family doesn’t warrant special treatment. If they’re accustomed to doing chores in the morning, then you need to do your part too.

Remember that your host family is your second family while studying abroad. Adapting into their life means you’ll receive fair and equal attention as every other family member. 

Staying with a host family is a wonderful way to learn about the culture and lifestyle of your host country. Read our stories here at MSM Unify to learn more about the advantages of staying with a host family while studying overseas. 

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