Living with a host family is a once in a lifetime, inspirational opportunity. I know, because I was lucky enough to spend my summer with a host family that soon became my family! It all started when I decided that I wanted to go abroad and learn a second language. Only having a basic understanding, I knew that I would not only have to learn a new language, but a new culture too.
After arriving, I was greeted by my host family who gave me the grand tour. I would be spending 3 months with my new family and I was excited to be introduced. While my communication was limited, we both welcomed one another into each other’s lives – primarily with hand gestures and slow over-pronounced speech. I was hoping that my language classes during the day would help with the language barrier that was obviously present during any interaction.
As nervous as I was, the family was patient and understanding. Day by day, what I learned in class I was able to apply. We ate breakfast and dinner together and I began to understand more and more of what they said. They were the patient kind; the one that would give me the space to try to put the words together to make a coherent sentence. By my side, I had a list of vocabulary list that grew pages and pages longer, day by day.
Over the course of my time there, as my language skills improved, so did the close ties and bonds that we had formed as a family. Celebrating birthdays, family reunions, holidays, new cars, and much, much more! I heard about their day, shared my day, and soon became well adjusted to our weekly schedule. I met the couple’s parents, nieces, nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers. We all ate dinner together once a week as their house became chaotic with people running around, chatting, and fully accepting me as part of the family.
Now, 4 years later, I am still in contact with my family. We send messages back and forth to share the events that happen in our lives and I am even planning to travel back to visit! Living with a host family was not only an amazing experience, but created a lifetime bond that we’ll never forget.
Did you have an experience where you were living with a host family? What was your experience like?