Leaving home is never easy, but if you find a nice place to stay it can be less difficult.
When you choose to live with a host family you are placing a bet: you can either win it or lose it, but you`ll know it only once you know them.
Yet, before claiming that your hosts are the worst family in the world, give them a chance: remember that in a foreign country there are different habits and a whole different way of life, so before complaining about your placement try to understand your new country`s lifestyle.
And, don`t forget that different doesn`t mean worse.
Some of us may think it`s crazy to live with people you never met before, but the thing is, if you really want to improve the language you are studying, there is no greater opportunity than to practice it as much as you can.
However, there are lots of other benefits of staying with a host family.
First of all, the friendly bond you will make.
Indeed, by spending a lot of time with your hosts you will learn how they live, what they like and their daily habits and you`ll slowly start to take part in their activities.
Creating a strong relationship is good as they will probably be the first people to ask for advice, to help you whenever you have a problem or simply to cheer you up if you`re feeling homesick.
As a lot of people say maybe too loosely, it is a chance to find a “Home away from Home”.
In addition, living with a host family means having a great opportunity to discover the local culture: how people celebrate holidays, what they do in the weekends and how they interact with the neighbourhood.
Before my first experience abroad, one of my biggest worries was that of not being able to relax and talk with strangers.
Certainly, trying to settle your nerves and show how much you know is more difficult when you bump into someone in a restaurant or a shop than when you`re chatting around the dinner table, watching television together or playing videogames.
Moreover, I realized that these kind of conversations are the most useful because you learn a lot of handy expressions you can use in everyday language.
This means that even when you`re taking it easy with your host family, you`re always learning something new!
What`s more, there is no better place to taste local food than in one family’s home.
When eating out, we often choose a restaurant where we can find what we’re most comfortable with eating.
By staying with a host family, instead, we are forced to go out of our comfort zone and try new food.
And sometimes we discover new dishes that become our new favourite.
This way you experience something that you won’t in other forms of accommodation: not only do you meet the local people…you get to live with them too.
It’s a way to live a destination, not just visit it!