By on March 21st, 2015
Whether you have been away from home many times or never, when you relocate for weeks or months of studies it can be overwhelming. In fact, some international students say that it is only when they step off the plane and into the bustling airport that they begin to feel that they may be overwhelmed by the great changes ahead. Not only will foreign students studying in the United States need to really master the language, but they now have to get used to customs ranging from the way people drive to the foods served at restaurants and cafes. This can come as a huge shock to even seasoned travelers.
This is one of the most obvious reasons to work with a high quality student housing provider: they can help you get settled quickly and get those feelings of panic under control right away.
A Simple Illustration
Let’s say you decided to study at UCLA Extension, Santa Monica College, New York Film Academy, UC Irvine or another major college or university in Southern California. If so, it is likely that you will be arriving in Los Angeles. This is one of the biggest and busiest cities in all of the United States and a single international student arriving here can easily feel a bit frightened by the newness, noisiness, and confusion. If that same student has to get their luggage, navigate to public transportation, and then find their way to a college campus or rented homestay housing, they can start their experience with tremendous loneliness or even fear.
This is the very heart of culture shock – a sense of strain over the “loss” of the familiar. This is why choosing the right student housing option is often the smartest “first step” in overcoming any sense of culture shock. For instance, a student attending UCLA American Language Center as a foreign exchange student can opt for dorm housing on the summer or work with other housing providers like USH (Universal Student Housing) to get matched up with a local host family or into into an apartment or shared accommodation.
What is Homestay? It is a way of having a private bedroom (and in some cases a private bathroom) and living with a local host family that will be chosen based on a student’s preferences. For example, a student from Japan may be attending a college in Southern California, and though they are confident in their English language skills, they worry that they may experience culture shock that prevents them from achieving goals. They may fear they won’t socialize well, explore the city easily, or take in all that they had hoped of American culture in general.
This sort of culture shock can last for weeks and really impair that student’s success. Rather than struggling, they can take proactive steps to book with a host family that is of Japanese heritage (maybe even speaking Japanese) and get the perfect balance of the familiar with the new. After all, there is nothing better than learning about a new culture from those who have the same perspective as your own – people who did not grow up in a certain country or region and who were introduced to it later.
For anyone considering a semester or school year in the United States, there is little that can compare to the comfort and support of a homestay option. Though you can also elect to use a housing provider that offers independent apartments (or shared accommodations), if you fear culture shock you may do best with a home-like setting. The costs are incredibly reasonable and the benefits are almost countless. Your host family will feel like your own, and this sort of support and comfort will nurture academic success.