If living with a host family is an option for your study abroad trip, pick it. Pick it. Need more confirmation to do it? I’ll give you an exhaustive list of why you should do it. But first, let me tell you the hilarious story of my own experience with meeting my host family.
Homemade, organic and super nutritious. (Pictured right)
2. You get an instant support unit
Have any questions or troubles with something? Turn to your host parents. They save your life.
3. You get your own bedroom
Having your own bedroom is much more spacious than the seminar house dorm rooms that you’re crammed in with another roommate. Did I mention privacy? I love having an enclosed space with only me breathing in it. The seminar house provides no privacy.
4. Cultural Immersion
You get to experience what it’s like living in a Japanese household. Which is fun and positive. (Pictured above is my beautiful house that I call home until the end of my stay.) And you will actually feel like part of Japan. Instead of an isolated student at the dorms, you live in a Japanese neighborhood with Japanese neighbors and local businesses nearby. People start to accept you as a local!
5. Host families got your back
Are you sick? No fear, your host parents will help you get better and you don’t have to feel alone. Also, your host family will sometimes plan trips and events with you to make your experience a more fulfilling one.
Overall, you have people who care about you and are dedicated to keeping you safe and happy for your trip. It puts you at peace, for sure. True, for Japan, you don’t get to meet your Host Family or do any type of interview-ish type thing with them before you enter the country. You go into things pretty blindly, hoping that your family will be nice and not crazy strict. Of course that would spike your blood pressure. It sure did to me.
For instance, when I got a paper in my mailbox at school with a little description of my family. It told me their occupation and names, whether they had pets, etc. I was EXTREMELY excited when I saw “two dogs” on my paper, because dogs are my entire life. But, there was two words on this sheet that confused and terrified my friends and I for the whole week before I actually got to meet my Host parents.
“Civil Officer” were the two words that had me CONVINCED that one of my parents was a cop, and therefore extremely strict. I’m not a party child, I don’t want to be out every night at 2 a.m., but I do like to have a little freedom to explore and be out on occasion. When the time came to meet my host family, I was in full panic mode. Will I have a 9 p.m. curfew? Will they not have WiFi at their house? Will I not be able to certain things that I could do at home?
Turns out, when I met my host parents, they were like fairy godparents. The mother was not a “civil officer,” she was a teacher. (What the heck, paper?! Why did you freak me out for no reason?) They were both kind and very caring and accommodating to me and my housemate. (Sometimes you’ll be paired with another study abroad student for a host family, but don’t worry, you still get your own rooms.) We had no curfew, have WiFi, and honestly no strict rules at all.
Have any questions or concerns or possible fears for joining a family? I can rebut about any concern you have, just let me know in the comments. I swear by host family!