Chinese language student Celeste spent 6 months staying with a local host family in Shanghai as part of the Homestay Tutor program.
Even though I’ve lived with my current host family for the past six and a half months, I still believe it’s such a hard question to answer properly, because I could think about so many things that it’s impossible to piece everything together in such a short time!
The first thing, living with a host family is an absolutely incredible and rewarding experience I could not recommend enough to anyone interested.
Before moving to China, I already decided that if I had the opportunity I would love to live with a family, engage with the culture and the environment, and put as much of my English environment within a Chinese environment to get the cultural exchange that really does create incredible bonds between people.
Even though initially it may feel uncomfortable and overwhelming, it really does make you feel so much more confident and made me become independent, and most importantly make you engage with the culture in a way that living alone or with your friends could not possibly be able to offer you.
It’s such a big opportunity, especially for young people that have just come here for studying or an internship, and they’re really looking for that engagement in a way that is very different from what they can do at home.
I also think that, because it’s such a personal thing to invest in, you’re always gaining from it, because there’s so much that you’re learning from it every day and so much that you’re gaining that’s going to enrich your life and your experience with living with people who are from a different culture, that really nothing else would give you.
It’s really, really fun, it basically feels like I’ve moved back in with my parents! I feel incredibly safe all the time, I have a very supportive network of people that I can rely on all the time and that is incredibly helpful, especially initially when you’re unfamiliar with places and not really know what you’re supposed to do and say around Chinese people.
Playing with children is amazing, I miss my siblings back in Sweden very, very much, so having that kind of environment here is incredibly helpful and I’m never homesick at all. The kids I live with are eight years old, they’re two twins and are absolutely adorable. They’re just amazing, I love them so much – they are my siblings, basically!
Our EduCare programs provide an unparalleled insight into Chinese culture, with a fully immersive homestay experience supplemented by language classes and cultural activities.
In return for teaching the child of your host family English, and occasionally assisting with light housework, you will receive all this for free, as well as a small monthly allowance or flight tickets!