Host Families Are The Best When Going Abroad

Host Families Are The Best When Going Abroad

Host families will get you closer to language, culture, food and fun!

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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.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Sometimes "Out With The Old In With The New" Isn't the Best thing

We can't lose touch of the simpler things in life

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When I think about how much has changed and how much my world has developed since I was little, I get mind boggled realizing how different things are. I work at a restaurant in the city that I grew up in and I see famillies come and go for dinner every night. They all seem the same. The parents will walk in, check in with the hostesses and wait to be seated. If they're asked to wait, the kids sit by their parents sides playing on phones that are probably too young to have. I understand that waiting can get tedious and boring. By the time that they would sit down, I'd imagine that they would put down the devices and engage in some good old fashion conversation. I was wrong. It made me sad to see kids eating dinners with their families with zero interaction. When I was younger, I enjoyed the quality conversations I would have with my family when we got breaks from our all very hectic schedules. It's amazing how much technology has advanced, but sometimes, I believe that we might rely on it too much.

Seems like more and more things are becoming industrialized. Those "mom and pop" shops are closing down due to corporate companies buying the land. I have enough Walmart and Targets in a ten minute radius from me. Sure, places like these carry necessities are important, but when local Nurseries are closed down in order to build a new gas station, it just becomes sad. As things progress more, the more we lose touch of our roots. The places that make home special and different. The moments we have as a kid that don't involve a light on our face. Modernism is a powerful and amazing thing but we need to take a step back and reevaluate what we hold closest to us.

All in all, as we continue to develop, I will continue to advocate for the simpler moments and the simpler times. I don't think my kids will need iPhones right out of elementary school, I'll continue to visit the same hometown shops and give them as much business as possible, I'll always ask if he kids want coloring sheets at the dinner table. Although these small things might not matter in our everyday new world, they matter to me. I will always try to have so much fun that I forget to document things with my phone. The laughter and memories without the technology present. Those are the moments worth remembering.

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