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By on May 3rd, 2017

Homestay Expectations vs. Reality

No adventure quite compares to a homestay.

You’ll get to visit a new land for a prolonged period of time with the benefit of learning all about it from people who already live there.

Understandably, you probably have some expectations about what this kind of adventure will entail. While there’s no predicting everything a homestay will involve – that’s part of the fun – the following are some examples of where reality may differ from what you expect.

“I am going to immediately hit the ground running.”

Given that you’re about to go on an amazing adventure, it’s understandable that you may think you’ll arrive at your new city, meet your new family and immediately begin exploring the area and having the time of your life.

The reality is that there will most likely be an initial settling in period. You’re going to meet your host family, set up your room, probably go shopping for some necessities, etc.

Furthermore, there will be some culture shock. This is natural, but at first, it may slow your transition down a bit.

“I’m not going to be one of those people who gains weight abroad.”

Well, you probably will. That’s part of the fun of doing a homestay. You’re going to find all kinds of new foods and, yes, a lot of them will be very fattening.

While it’s important that you maintain your health, don’t be unrealistic. Don’t rob yourself of this amazing opportunity by abstaining from all these new foods. It’s okay to indulge a bit.

“I’ll become fluent in the language.”

You’ll definitely learn a lot about the language where your homestay takes place and return to your home with a better ability to speak it.

However, fluency takes time. There will also be strange phrases, clichés and sayings that are initially confusing.

The good news is that your host family and new friends won’t expect that you’re able to master their language overnight, so don’t let that worry you too much.

“Every single day will be an adventure!”

In a way, this is true. Like we mentioned at the beginning, it’s definitely an adventure to travel to a foreign land and learn about a new culture firsthand.

At the same time, there will be plenty of monotony. You’ll fall into a schedule and there will be days you just feel like lying down for a nap or watching TV. This is part of a homestay, as well.

“I know all about this city; I’ve seen it on TV and in movies.”

These expectations never match up. On TV and in movies, the settings serve to make the stories better. Cities are flashier, faster, scarier and, well, just different than they really are.

What you see on TV is never going to be a fair depiction. Just like we talked about earlier, your new host city – even if it’s Los Angeles – will involve plenty of monotony and boring events.

You’ll probably also find that some of your best times have nothing to do with the location, per se, but rather the people you’re with.

“I won’t change.”

Change isn’t a bad thing. You will definitely return from your homestay a changed person. Everyone who takes on this adventure comes back with at least a slightly different perspective. They have a new view of the people who live in the country and city where they stayed and often of the world itself as a whole. This is one of the best parts of these programs because it will stay with you forever.

So now, you know: many of your homestay expectations are completely false. The good news is that you are still going to have an amazing time and should still be extremely excited.