Guest Experience

Stories from Los Angeles Homestays: An Incredible Study Abroad Experience Come True Thanks to the Warmth of My Host Family

07/22/21

“Everyday I spent with my host family was truly so much fun.”

For this post, I want to write about my experience doing a homestay while studying abroad.

Self-introduction

Hello everyone. I’m Gare, a student at Columbia West College in Koreatown.

As of February 2020, my time in Los Angeles will have eclipsed three months.

Before my study abroad experience, I was studying business management at Kinki University. However, I eventually realized that I definitely wanted to study abroad and learn all about the different values and viewpoints of the world, and decided to make this dream a reality.

To be honest though, English was a school subject I never liked, and once I got into university I did everything I could to get away from it (lol). But I thought if I just go to an English speaking country, somehow, everything will work out. So with those thoughts in mind, I came to America.

So now that you know my background, I want to tell you all about my experience as an international student so far.

If you could describe your homestay life in one sentence, what would you say?

 

“My host family was one where even overseas in America I could feel familial warmth and kindness.”

My host mother helped me out big time by always cooking amazing food for me.

My host brother sometimes hung out with me and took me places, and aside from just chilling out and talking we also watched many movies together.

And since I could always see the Hollywood sign from my host family’s house, I often just took a look at it outside and got so excited and hyped up!

 

The Members of My Host Family

I lived with my host mother, host grandmother, and host brother.

I also remember sometimes my host uncle or other host brother would sometimes come by to visit, and they would get all excited talking about Japan with me.

My entire host family was full of people who had either been to Japan or were interested in it, and I never expected to talk about Japan that much with my host family.

For me, these will always be really fun and cherished memories.

What My Homestay Family was lIke...

My host mother often cleaned the house and made sure the inside of the house was comfortable and sparkling, allowing me to live in a house that just felt good to live in.

Also the sofa was really soft and felt SUPER nice to sit on. (Lol)

Since there also was a piano in the house, sometimes my host brother or I would play and listen to each other’s music, which was very fun for me.

 

With regards to my room, it was a master room with a big bed and a bathroom attached to it.

I had a lot of space in my room, so in the evenings I was able to work out and do some muscle training there too.

 

The personal bathroom I had for myself looked like one you would see in a hotel, and it truly was so nice and comfortable.

 

Why I Chose to do a Homestay

From the beginning, I didn’t have the confidence to live on my own or do a roomshare.

So my plan was that since I couldn’t speak English at all and didn’t know many things about American life and culture, I would do a homestay until my English had improved enough to a level where I could move into a sharehouse.

I am just grateful that such an experienced host family so warmly accepted and welcomed me into their home, even though I couldn’t speak English at all.

It’s all thanks to them I was able to have a safe and comfortable life abroad.

I feel very strongly that I made the right choice in choosing to do a homestay.

Concerns I felt before my homestay.

Honestly, before my homestay began, I had so many worries welling up within me, such as if my host mother would be a kind person, would I be able to communicate in English, would I be able to do my laundry, just how big would my room be, would I be close to downtown...

But as I spoke more and more with my host family and got to know them, slowly but surely my worries began to disappear, and even now my host family remains a presence in my life that I can always count on when I’m in trouble.

How was it when you actually did a homestay?

One of the best things for me was that even though I couldn’t speak any English in the beginning, every time I spoke a little bit with my host family I was able to gain a little more confidence.

 

When I first got to America, my school was still doing online classes, so I spent most of my time at home.

During that time, I was able to have so many experiences I hadn’t had before, as well as many experiences I was only able to have because I did a homestay.

I’m certain that by becoming a part of the family, a special bond not only formed between us, but also was deepened.

 

The three months I spent with my host family are something incomparable and irreplaceable in my life.

Please tell us your memories with your host family

I’ll never forget watching movies with my host mother and host brother.

Since my host brother liked anime, I would recommend an anime to him and we would watch it in English, and other times we would watch western movies that my host mother recommended together.

Often, they were movies about American history, so I was able to enjoy learning many new things.

Do you have an regrets or things you wished you did during your homestay?

I wanted to cook Japanese food together with my host family.

But unfortunately, I myself am bad at cooking, and nearby supermarkets didn’t have the same ingredients as Japanese supermarkets, so we were not able to make any Japanese food together.

Did you bring any souvenirs from Japan with you?

I bought A LOT of Japanese souvenirs and had them sent over from Japan to America. (^^) Before going over to America, I looked up what foods and stuff were popular there, and I read that Japanese matcha was pretty popular. So I ended up giving out a lot of matcha Kit Kat’s, matcha latte powder, and wasabi peas.(^^)

Everyone seemed to love the matcha stuff, and I was really happy to hear that.

Advice for students who are going to have a homestay

Anyone will be nervous during their first homestay. And because of the language barrier, I think most people will first feel nervous when talking to their host family. But in order to overcome and break down that barrier, I think it is important to just talk, even if it’s about any little thing.

I myself often used gestures (and in worst case scenarios, Google Translate), and eventually I was able to communicate with various people and find out what kind of personality they had, as well as what kinds of things they were interested in. In the end, I was able to get used to communicating in English.

In the event that things aren’t going so well, your agent or school will always be willing to listen or help out, so if you’re going on your first homestay, give speaking as much as you can with your host family a try!

How to choose right agent

 

 

 

 

 

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