When it comes to traveling, many of us convince ourselves that it will be too overwhelming to venture out solo. We ask ourselves a never-ending list of ‘what if’s’: What if I don’t meet anybody to share my experience with? What if I lose myself in a huge new city and I don’t know enough of the local language to ask for directions? What if I hate the local food?
Well, what if you could live in a home away from home with a family who supports you throughout your trip abroad? Although we’re absolutely certain that you’ll make some great friends on your language course, a supportive host family can be hugely important in making you feel comfortable in a new country and a new culture, and in helping you make faster progress in your language learning.
Here are some top reasons why you should stay with a host family when you are learning a language abroad.
A warm welcome
One of the best parts of traveling is returning to the comfort of your home and receiving a hug from a family member or friend. Imagine if you could find a similarly warm greeting upon arrival in your chosen travel destination? Your homesickness will be cured by the quality time you spend with your family from day one. Sharing conversations, trying each other’s hobbies or enjoying a movie evening together can create bonds and friendships that last a lifetime.
Improve your language skills 24/7
While you live with a family local to the area you have traveled to, you can make the most out of everyday conversations in a relaxed environment. Spending time with native speakers will encourage you to learn new words in new ways that you can’t always pick up in the classroom. You will make much faster progress in your learning as you’ll be putting your skills to use outside the classroom as well, with native speakers of all ages.
Eat like a local
Ever wondered what families eat for dinner in Portugal? Perhaps you’re keen to experience British tea time with tea, scones and clotted cream? While you live with your host family you will eat the local cuisine and get to know the true character of the local culinary culture. Although each family does it differently, this will give you invaluable insights into local life. You may even learn some delicious family recipes and should also share yours. Your host family will also do their best to cater to your dietary requirements, of course.
Travel like a local
While exploring unknown pathways and taking the wrong bus leading you to a quaint village can be exciting and is often how we discover the coolest hidden gems, sometimes we just have to be somewhere on time. Living with a host family will teach you how to travel like a local; navigate the London underground like a pro and read a train schedule with so much confidence that a native speaker asks you for directions.
A cultural challenge
Daily life with your host family will teach you so much about the culture and traditions of the country you are living in. It will also teach you to negotiate, explain and embrace cultural differences; yours as well as theirs. You’ll soon realize that through the differences, you have more in common than you first assumed. Not only will you return home with new language skills, but you will hopefully also come home with a second family abroad; a true home away from home.