Have you ever thought about going abroad? Or maybe you've already decided to go and are dealing with all the paperwork right now? There are so many options to explore a different culture and various perspectives on life. You can go abroad and study at a foreign university. If you're not interested in studying, you can apply for a job and gain first working experience abroad. Also, you can do an internship in a different country, or work as a volunteer in a help organization. So many options. But they have one thing in common: A host family.
A host family is a family who takes in young people, who left their country to work or study abroad, for a certain time. Obviously, a host family is not a must. If you don't feel it, you can rent an apartment and that's totally fine. However, I would like to tell you today why I think a host family is one of the best things while going abroad.
First of all, you learn the foreign language a lot better. I mean, that's one of the reasons for going abroad, right? You want to improve that language you've been studying at home. And there is no better way than to speak it every day with native speakers. And that's what your host family offers you. Living together, communication is a necessity, and thus the best motivation to improve your language skills!
Second, when living with a host family you get to try the traditional dishes of the country. In my opinion, the cuisine is a very important part of a country's culture. It's thus a huge difference if you go abroad and keep on cooking your stuff from home, or whether you experience a new culture through their nutrition. Take the chance and get to know new recipes, new spices, and new dishes. It's so exciting!
Third, a host family is the best place to get to know the culture of a foreign country. You'll learn all about their holidays, celebrations and traditions not simply by listening about them but by living them! Your host parents will make you part of the preparations and you get to ask questions throughout the whole experience. There is no better option to get to learn about a culture!
Forth, and probably the most important one, a host family is a trusted friend in a foreign world. When you're leaving home you expect everything in the new country to work as easy and usual as you know it from back home. But that is often not the case. And very often you're ending up in a chaos of opening bank accounts, applying for new phone numbers, looking for apartments, figuring out a hundred things for your studies, … all by your own. A host family is there for you if you need help and assists you during your first days, weeks, sometimes even months of your stay abroad.
If you want to apply for a semester or internship abroad and didn't consider a host family at all, do it now. Those of you who already have been through the experience of going abroad and living with a host family know what I'm talking about. I definitely can say that my host families became friends for life and I'm infinitely grateful for the help and warmth they offered me.