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The pros and cons of living with a host family

Posted 21 August 2013
Living with a host family

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Arranging new accommodation can be a nightmare. The intensity of which increases tenfold when you have to arrange accommodation in a different country, sometimes a different continent. Choosing accommodation is one of the toughest decisions an international student has to make even before he or she boards the plane. You find yourself mulling over many questions, trying to make the right decisions. Staying with a host family abroad is a popular option for international students. But students should also be aware of the downsides along with the perks of homestay to make sure that they are satisfied with their choice. Below are the benefits of living with a host family:

Arranging new accommodation can be a nightmare The intensity of which increases tenfold when you have to arrange accommodation in a different country, sometimes a different continent. Choosing accommodation is one of the toughest decisions an international student has to make even before he or she boards the plane. You find yourself mulling over many questions, trying to make the right decisions. Staying with a host family abroad is a popular option for international students. But students should also be aware of the downsides along with the perks of homestay to make sure that they are satisfied with their choice. Below are the benefits of living with a host family:

 

The pros of living with a host family


1.    You can perfect your language skills

Living with a host family is the best way for you to truly master English. You have no other options but to use English. You are immersed in English 24/7; you cannot easily resort to speak other languages. Better yet, your host family will be the best English teachers you can ever get. While the English you learn at school is sufficient for your academic needs, it may not be suitable for daily conversational situations. I have lost count of all the times I feel perplexed, left out and frustrated by simple but slang-laden daily conversations. From your host family, you will learn all the idioms and slang that appear in most everyday conversations but never show up in your text book.

 

2.    You can immerse yourself in local culture

There is no better way to experience the ‘British way of life’ than involving yourself in it as much as possible. By living like a local, you completely soak up  the culture that is so famous all around the world without even stepping out of the house.

 

3.    You don’t have to worry about house chores

It is tiring to have to worry about doing the washing up after a busy day at school. If you live on your own, you may find yourself skipping meals and subsisting on instant noodles during exam periods, because you cannot afford to spare an hour to go grocery shopping. You may not even have time to wash the bedding as often as your mother would prefer. That’s why living with a host family is an attractive choice for parents, who want their children to be fed piping hot food and to sleep on fresh clean linens.

 

4.    It is more economical

Living with a host family usually is cheaper than staying in dorms. You may spend a bit more on transportation, but with hot proper meals ready and rooms that are possibly bigger than most standard dorm rooms, it is better value for money.


5.    You have a family away from home

When you study abroad, you don’t just move from one place to another; you move from one lifestyle to another, usually a totally different lifestyle. When you study abroad, you no longer live with your parents, who look after you with love and care. You speak your mother tongue no more; you can’t find the ingredients to cook your comfort hot pot and you are exasperated by the two separate taps in the sink. In times like these, you will crave for support. The host family will be available for you (together with a few other students if any) whenever you need some help.

 

The cons of living with a host family


1.    You are far away from the city centre

Most host families live in residential areas, which are more often than not on the outskirts of town. It took me 45 minutes by bus to get to the city centre, plus another 15 minute walk to get to school. If you want to roll out of bed 5 minutes before school starts and still be able to make it on time, staying with a host family may not be for you.

 

2.    You may have less privacy

You will certainly have your own room (unless you choose to share). But you will have to share the rest of the house (including bathroom, kitchens, internet etc.) with your host family.

 

3.    You have to follow house rules

If your host family always sits down and has dinner at 6, you may be expected to do so as well. Your host family may have a set of house rules totally different from what you are familiar with. It will be difficult to part from the house rules with which you grew up, but you have to be prepared for it if you choose to live with a host family. Additionally, if you are under 18, expect strict curfews. After all, your host family is contractually obliged to ensure your safety.

 

4.    The food

Britain is famous for everything but great cuisine. Some of us may find British food bland, boring and containing much more potatoes than necessary. The home-cooked food in your host family hence may not be to your liking. If you have any dietary requirements (for example if you are lactose-intolerant) make your host family aware and they will do their best to prepare suitable meals for you.

 

5.    You have less interaction with your friends

If you want to invite your friends over, you will have to ask your host parents for permission. It will also be challenging to visit your friends after school if they live on the other side of town.

 

BELLERBYS’ HOME STAY ACCOMMODATION

At Bellerbys, you have the option to live with a host family if you so choose. All Bellebys’ homestay accommodations are carefully chosen for their friendliness and security. The host families will always welcome you with open arms and provide you with everything you need.

Bellerbys also offer Homestay Plus Accommodation for students under 16. Homestay Plus families a greater level of support and supervision to guarantee the safety and comfort of younger students. As Bellerbys colleges are also boarding scholls in England students can also choose to live in the comfortable dorms.

Autumn Hoang

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