One of the most important and exciting things about studying abroad is the chance to become independent, and the chance to choose your accommodation. International students abroad have various options they can choose from when they study abroad, they can choose on-campus accommodation, a rental, a shared rental, or a homestay.
On-campus accommodations are most of the time the best way to experience the whole university experience. Getting a rental, however, offers more freedom for students, although it might be more expensive unless you have someone to share the rent cost with. Another option, homestay, offers a more unique experience to international students because they get to live with a local host family, giving them more ways to embrace another country’s culture.
Maybe you have already decided on a homestay accommodation, or maybe you’re still thinking about it. Either way, check out our list of pros and cons of staying in a homestay, to know more about it.
Pros of Staying with a Host Family
You Get to Polish Your Language Skills Faster
If you want to study in another country to hone your language skills, being in a homestay can give you an edge compared to your classmates. In this way, you will be compelled to talk in their official language to interact with your host family. The good thing about it is that you probably won’t feel like you are merely studying the language because interacting with other people will just feel like a normal daily situation.
A Fuller Experience of the Culture
One of the best experiences while staying in another country is the chance to experience another culture. Aside from the language, foreign students are sure to experience the everyday practices, celebrations, and even holidays of another culture. They may also get to have a deeper understanding of the country’s politics and values.
Students living in other accommodations may still be able to experience local cultures and practices, but not in the same way as those staying with their host family. In fact, in some cases, many international students also find it hard to befriend locals, so they also just go together with other international students.
You Make Life-long Friends
We get to hear a lot of stories about enduring friendships between a host family and international students. In fact, some students even get invited to some important family celebrations such as weddings, or birthdays with their former host families. This is because it is easier to create bonds with people you get to live, eat, sleep and speak with daily.
Cons of Staying with a Host Family
Adjustments and Abiding by House Rules
Since you are living with another family, it is only normal that you also adjust to their way of life and this includes family rules. For example, if your host family sleeps early or follows curfews, it is better to follow them. If you do have plans of staying late, tell your host family ahead of time.
You Might Feel More Like a Tenant than a Family Member
Not all, but some families make homestay programs like a business. In this case, the student might feel more like a tenant than a family member, which is not a good way of creating meaningful relationships with other people.
It Might Not Work Out
Many homestay programs or organizations usually ensure that students are matched with the right family for them to enjoy their stay in another country. However, in some cases, some matchings might not just work out.
Depending on the student, staying with a host family may work for them or not. Thus, it is always important to know other options and check which ones really suit you.
Learn more about the different types of accommodation for international students by browsing through MSM Unify’s articles. To start, check out MSM Unify’s article on A Guide to Accommodations for International Students.