Living with an American family while you study in the USA
When students study abroad one of their biggest questions is “Where am I going to live?” There are two main options: A dormitory, which is sometimes called “boarding,” or a homestay.
What is a homestay?
It is just like it sounds: You “stay” in a “home” with a local family. The idea of living with strangers may seem awkward at first, but over time, you experience the joys of gaining warm relationships with a caring family who will support you while studying in the USA.
There are a number of other long-lasting benefits for adding to the adventure of your study abroad experience by living in a homestay. At St. Mary’s Ryken High School we have heard from many students over the years what they believe are the biggest benefits of living in a homestay.
Do you already know what the benefits are? See if you guessed right.
1. Make your American life easier and more fun
Local families know where to go for fun, what the best restaurants and hang out spots for students are, AND know all the best places for any medical needs you may have while living abroad. If you happen to get sick while on your program, you’ll have a family to take care of you. Families can also help you navigate the U.S. medical system with your insurance. Families come to know your moods and can intervene if they sense something isn’t quite right or if you’re feeling a little down. A family can help keep you happy and healthy.
2. Supercharge your English skills
When you live with an American family, you will be surrounded by the English language — this supercharges your English learning and proficiency. You will learn many new words and phrases quickly, just over discussions during meals. You will “need” certain phrases and words to communicate with your family, which will drive your motivation to study and provide a comfortable environment to try new words and phrases, giving you immediate feedback. You will also learn how to speak across different age groups. You will learn how to express yourself politely and how to communicate your thoughts and opinions in conversations. Sometimes these conversations can be very funny too.
3. Have fun celebrating American culture
Everyone enjoys celebrating holidays! When you live with a family, you experience holiday traditions, holiday food, and fun with family members. You can enjoy making these special connections, ask lots of questions, and taste new foods. Holidays are special times, and students enjoy being treated as a member of the family. Instead of reading about culture in a book, experience it for yourself as you participate with your family in all their activities and travels. You live like a local and can experience first-hand life in the United States.
4. Know you have a strong support system
Homestay families provide an encouraging environment of support for you while you study abroad. Time to celebrate your birthday? They will celebrate with you. Do you need help with schoolwork? They are there to help. Are you playing a sport, in a play, or volunteering? Your homestay family will come to watch you play and cheer for you. After a long day at school, knowing you have a nice home to go to helps alleviate anxiety and the potential for loneliness.
5. Gain friends and family
You may start as strangers, but at the end of your program, there may be a tear or two at the farewell. You will have experienced a lot of personal growth and a special connection with your homestay family. After your program is over, many families continue to stay in touch, or may even travel to visit you. There is a special bond that is formed that lasts for years to come. If you stay in the USA for college, you may even visit your homestay family for holidays or college breaks. Families will be interested in knowing how you are and will continue to celebrate your achievements in the future.
An enriched experience with a local, loving homestay family awaits you in the USA! Supercharge your study in the USA experience by joining a school with a homestay program, like St. Mary’s Ryken High School. To learn more about the international program at St. Mary’s Ryken, visit: https://www.smrhs.org/admissions/international-programs.
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