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What is a Homestay?

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Kimberly Manning

Staying with a local family is an integral component of international study, and we believe it’s a transformative opportunity to build strong and meaningful connections. Whether an apartment, yurt, tent, or home, accommodations with local families offer a truly unique perspective into a different way of life. Where There Be Dragons travel programs include local homestays where students get the opportunity to engage in daily activities with their family abroad.

Travel Abroad Peru Bolivia

Homestay family. Photo by Michaela O’Connor, instructor.

What is a Homestay?

A homestay is an opportunity for students to live with local families while traveling abroad and experience a new culture in a very direct way. A stay at a local residence helps students engage with individuals, feel completely immersed in the culture, and create life-long relationships.

Benefits of Local Homestays While Abroad

 You get to engage with daily routines. One of the biggest benefits of staying with a local family is that you get to see daily routines and habits first-hand. Students learn about morning routines, evening rituals, and how families spend their afternoons. They are exposed to cooking techniques and traditional meals, ways of unwinding and having fun, and family dynamics in the household.

Independent Home Stay Travel Abroad India Where There Be Dragons

Photo by Christina Rivera Cogswell, Instructor.

You are immersed in the way of life. Students witness the ways that local families communicate with one another and the community. As a participant of a Dragons program, students leave behind their cell phones and modern technology. Being immersed in the culture also means that students assist in everyday chores and activities. Students will also navigate the local culture, art, religion, spirituality, nature, travel, and more.

You are ingrained in language study. When staying with a local family, students are also completely immersed in the language. This helps to understand cultural context and develop conversational skills in the local language. There’s truly no better way to learn a new language than engaging with it and native speakers. It’s not expected that students know the local language when they arrive, so it’s important to have patience, compassion, and a good sense of humor. Expect non-verbal communication, like charades, to help bridge the gap. 

Where There Be Dragons selects local families for students to stay based on a checklist of safety standards. Each student is matched to a homestay. Students can expect to live near other participants in the program as well. 

One Comment

  1. Elisha |

    Well described Ms.Manning. when you’re always trying to learn another one’s culture is always intriguing. My stomach is in knots!**


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