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Homestay or Home Away from Home?

"What’s it like living with a French host family?"

"Is it weird living with adults who aren’t your parents?"

"My friend was in a home stay once and they took them on trips all the time. Do you go anywhere with your host family?"

"Do they have lots of rules for you? Do you have a curfew? Do they cook really good food? My friend stayed in a host family once and they almost never fed her; are you fed at your homestay?"

"Oh my gosh, I could never live in a home stay; I’m way too independent, how can you stand it? Do they check up on you all the time? Are you allowed to, like, do whatever you want?"

These are just a few of the questions people ask me when I mention that I’m living with a host family. Those were also a few of the questions I had myself. I didn’t know what to expect when I moved in with my host family. I didn’t have any idea who they were, or what the house I would be living in might look like (I tried Googling it and I only got a picture of a fence) so I have to say I was pretty worried about what I was getting myself into.

However, I am here to tell you that living in a home stay is not scary, and is downright awesome, at least in my experience.

  1. No curfew. I have the independence to come and go as I please. Common sense rules the game here, though, so if I’m coming home late after hanging out with friends, I’m just sure to be as quiet as possible.
  2. Delicious homemade food. In my home stay, my host mom makes some of the most amazing regional dishes and I will have to figure out how to replicate a few in the States. Downside: I’m ruined for life in what a baba au rhum should taste like, which is heaven.
  3. Ability to make their house your home. My home stay parents are very similar to my grandparents and were eager to let me make their house into my temporary home.
     The front garden of my homestay in Grenoble.
  4. Making jokes about schoolwork. My host parents and I have a running joke from the first week of classes about the amount of work I get from my main professor, and it helped set up a familiarity in the home stay experience, which might not have happened as soon otherwise.
  5. Going on little day trips to places you talked about at dinner. In my first few weeks in France my host family took me on a few day trips around the area, like a tour of the French Resistance Monuments in the Vercors Mountains and a tour of the Chartreuse Monastery.
  6. Having time to yourself if you want it. After being out and about all day, sometimes all weekend, I love being able to come home and just relax in my own space.
     My room where I spend most of my time when I'm at home.
  7. Hanging out in the living room if you want to be around people. Normally I’m a pretty quiet individual who likes hanging out in my own space but when I want to be around people, I just head downstairs and watch TV with my host dad or help my host mom make dinner.
  8. Enjoying some pet therapy. I was lucky enough to be placed in a home stay with a cat so whenever I’m craving some animal loving, I just pop a squat next to this cute little guy.
     My host family's adorable cat Gris-Gris. He is awesome.
Lisa Brice is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Grenoble, France. She is currently a junior at Baldwin Wallace University.
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