If you are mulling over whether or not you should consider staying with a host family while you study or gain work experience in New Zealand, you’ve come to the right place. Living with a host family has its shares of advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you make an informed decision about whether or not living with a host family is right for you – read on!
Pros of living with a host family
To start off with, if you’re tight on budget or looking for low-cost accommodation for your overseas study years, living with a host family is potentially the most cost-effective choice. Most homestays turn out to be cheaper relative to flat-sharing or hostel options, as they come with meals, laundry and cleaning services, which can save a lot of money in the long run! If you want value for money from day one, living with the host family could be the best choice for you.
Immersive cultural experience
If you’re game for a cultural exchange, take the leap and live with the locals! This can be an exciting alternative to staying in your comfort zone. After all, you’re probably new to the country and don’t know much about the customs or cultures. From tasting local foods, learning the local slang, and attending local events to witnessing local traditions and getting access to non-touristy, scenic spots, the perks are countless! And if you’re studying hospitality courses, this creates a win-win situation—you get both the theoretical and practical knowledge to take to the field!
Easier adoption to the environment
One in a hundred can claim to have a similar climate or environment as to his/her home country when travelling abroad. For most international students, adapting to a new environment can sometimes be at the cost of your physical and mental health, especially during the first few weeks. A host family can help you adapt more quickly by providing support and giving you tips on how best to adjust to your new environment.
Whether that’s facing strong winds, incessant winter rains, or even the harsh summer New Zealand sun, a homestay situation can better prepare you for what to expect.
Home away from home
More than just being a home away from home, living in a homestay can be as good as having a second family. This is especially true if you’re travelling to a foreign country or are leaving your family and friends for the first time in your life.
No matter how well you’ve prepared for what lies ahead, homesickness will hit you eventually! Living with a host family can help you deal with it better than being on your own in an unfamiliar place. Having a support system is reassuring and can also give you a chance to make new friends for life!
Cons of living with a host family
Live by their rules
Living in a homestay means following the rules and regulations set by the host family. Host families will have different sets of rules to follow, but it’s important to take whatever they say seriously as a sign of respect. They could have a curfew set up, guest restrictions, noise policies, or even restricted areas of the house. If you’re considering staying with a host family, make sure you’re prepared to abide by whatever rules you’ll need to live by.
Feeling out of place
As much as a host family can make you feel in sync with the local culture and atmosphere, you’ll need to deal with feeling “out of place”, especially in the beginning. There’s also the risk of feeling isolated from other students or travellers who are also new to the country and have common woes or things to discuss.
What you lack in the traditional ‘student’ lifestyle, though, you make up for in other ways such as a warm house come wintertime. Trust us, you’ll value this in New Zealand!
For some people, being dependent on someone else for food, laundry or even cleaning can be too excruciating. It’s okay to be the type of person who likes to live independently or can be a little picky about the way things should be done (laundry, for example). Maybe you simply don’t like the idea of having to depending on others too much, and that’s fine, but you’ll need to figure out what situation works best for you.
Make the right choice
Having read through it all, weigh your personal requirements against the pros and cons and decide if you would like to live with a host family while you study courses in New Zealand. Don’t go by what others have to say or choose. After all, your choice would lay the foundation for your first few weeks of experience in a new country. If you have any doubt or are simply stressed out, contact us at student services and we might be of help!