Homestay Tutor Louisa from the UK shares her experiences staying with a host family, explaining why you should consider doing a homestay too! Don’t forget to check out our full scholarship to see how you could fully fund your gap year!
It is a common knowledge that immersion into a language is the most effective way of learning, so it stands to reason that a homestay is an excellent opportunity to hone your language skills. Every day is a learning opportunity, as you swap titbits of language with your host family and practise those elusive Chinese pronunciations.
Plus the language you learn in the classroom is often super formal, so living with native speakers gives you the chance to practise the way people ACTUALLY speak. You will be speaking like a native in no time!
Before moving to Shanghai, I lived in Beijing for a year. In my first week of being in my Shanghai homestay I was exposed to more Chinese culture than my entire previous year in China. If you want to become more culturally aware and to expose yourself to a different way of life, a homestay is for you.
In Shanghai, it is possible to live a fully ‘expat’ life; eating in western restaurants, socialising with other expats and attending any of the many events aimed at foreigners. But why would you want to do that? A homestay is a great way to avoid the expat trap and to truly experience all that China has to offer.
It is no secret that Shanghai is the most expensive city in China for expats, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it as your new home. Simply put, a homestay is the most cost effective way to live in Shanghai. Accommodation, utilities and food are included in the majority of homestay arrangements so that your largest expenses are covered. And as you don’t have many expenses, you have more time to focus on your studies, work placement, or simply enjoying yourself…
With the Homestay Tutor program you also receive pocket money, enough change to easily cover travel with some left over for fun!
As a homestayer you can expect to live in high-quality accommodations, it is guaranteed that you will have your own room with all the necessities included.
As a student in Shanghai I live in much higher quality accommodation than my peers, who all have to pay extortionate rates for dodgy quality shared student flats!
Moving to a different country is no small feat, but being part of a homestay can help you make the most of the opportunity. From helping you refine your language skills to developing your teaching skills to improving your cross-cultural know-how, you will gain skills that are highly valued by employers and will serve you for years to come. The Homestay Tutor program also helps homestayers find internship placements, so if you are looking for the perfect home and perfect job, you can do both things at once!
As part of a homestay you will be part of a family, where you can create relationships that may last a lifetime. These friendships will help you be a more understanding person and change your outlook on life, something that you will carry with you forever.