Study Abroad: Top 5 Reasons to Stay in a Host Family

Study Abroad: Top 5 Reasons to Stay in a Host Family

With the likes of Airbnb and Vrbo providing self-catering options to suit your needs and budget, it’s never been easier to find somewhere to stay whilst you’re on holiday. However, studying abroad isn’t your average holiday, is it? You’ve chosen to book a language course at an overseas language school to soak up the culture and communicate with as many people as possible to improve your skills. What better place to continue learning outside the classroom than by staying with a host family?
A homestay experience isn’t just for children on school trips, it’s for adults too. If you’re looking for French immersion in Paris or the South of France, here are our top 5 reasons for staying with a host family during your French language course.

  1. Tested and Approved

What makes booking your host family through your language school different to booking a homestay with housemates through the likes of Airbnb? Your language school conducts regular inspections of their host families to ensure they provide the facilities and comfort that their students expect from the experience. The language school is in constant dialogue with the host family and check in with them and you on the regular basis during your stay to make sure everything is OK and address any niggles that may occur. For example, there may have been a miscommunication about when you can use the washing machine and you just want to double check with the school to be sure. This is the kind of experience that will take your French immersion in Paris to another level.

  1. Your Choice of Board Type

Staying with a host family is great if you’re on a budget as you can include your meals in your package. For example, at ACCORD Paris near the Eiffel Tower, it costs just 460 euro per week for a single room on a half board basis (breakfast and dinner included) in a selected host family. That means you just need to get your own lunch and any snacks you may fancy during the day – you won’t be able to resist the patisseries! It’s a great way to keep costs down. If you have specific dietary requirements then the French language school will do their very best to place you in a family who can cater to your needs (for example, ACCORD Paris charges a supplement for families that cater to specific dietary requirements). Failing that, there’s always an option to book a single room with breakfast and access to the kitchen to rustle up your own culinary delights without missing out on the conversation over dinner.

  1. Real Local Life

Your host family may not be a “family” as such, you may be staying with a single person, a couple or a family. Some of the adults you stay with will be working and if you’re staying with a family during term time, the kids will be at school. That means that if your language course is in the morning then you’ll get to experience the real-life hustle and bustle of a household getting ready for the day. Host families tend to live slightly out of the city centre too, so you get to join locals on their daily commute into the city and feel like a real local as you buy your bus or tram ticket, hop on board with your fellow commuters, find your favourite café to pick up your morning coffee on your way to school and enjoy a unique sense of accomplishment before you even get to school! Both ACCORD in Paris and CIA on the French Riviera provide host family accommodation within half an hour of their schools, so your commute is never too long but you have a real French immersion in Paris or the French Riviera.

  1. Real Immersion

When you get up for breakfast at your homestay, the radio or TV may be on and it won’t be an international channel – it will be a national one so all you’ll hear is the language spoken in the country you’re in. When you say “good morning” and “how are you today?” to your host family, you won’t be speaking your own language – you’ll be speaking theirs. If they’ve had to go out to work early and have left you instructions about where to find your breakfast or how to heat up your coffee then you’ll have to read the native language. Basically, as soon as you get up in the morning, your brain has to switch into your new language and ditch your mother tongue for a little while, which is a great way to fast-track your language skills. When you get home from school (where you’ll have been speaking the native language all day too), there’s no respite as you catch up with how your host family’s day has been and tell them about yours, listen to the banter going back and forth across the table, pick up idiomatic expressions and keep on practising right up to bedtime… when you’re bound to dream in another language!

  1. Your Home from Home

There’s a reason why people choose to stay in a host family over a hotel or studio apartment: it’s the sense of community. Being in an unknown city, alone and unable to speak the language as well as you may like (that’s why you’ve booked a study abroad experience after all) can be a little disconcerting. If you tend to get homesick or you’re young, there’s a sense of comfort knowing that you’re coming back to a real home where someone is waiting for you and cares about your wellbeing. After a long day at school and exploring your new surroundings, you can’t wait to tuck into a home-cooked meal and chat to a friendly face as you unwind. The schools choose the host families to suit you, so if you have any particular interests then let them know so they can place you in the perfect homestay. You’ll go back home with new friends.

If you’d like to meet your new “family” and book a home stay experience during your time studying abroad, please contact Active Languages and tell us where you’d like to go!

ACCORD in Paris and CIA in Nice, Antibes and Biarritz currently provide a range of host family options for you to choose from, so let’s find the right one for your French immersion in Paris or the South of France.

Contact Active Languages today: Contact us

Contact Active Languages for our range of Study Abroad options: French language courses in France, Summer camps for Teens in England and in France, the Paris Saint-Germain Academy England football camps in the UK.


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