Why I chose Home stay
After you have chosen the country you want to study abroad in, housing is your next big decision. You have to really think about what kind of study abroad experience you want to have. I chose to the Home Stay option because I knew it would help me understand and learn more about the French culture.
When I told people I would be studying abroad in France their immediate response was “Do you speak French”. It was this response, along with other rumors of the French being a tough crowd to interact with, which made me want to live with a host family. I also enrolled in the beginner French class and knew this would increase my ability to grasp the French language.
I was greeted with a huge smile and two kisses on the cheek. Dinners with the French family are where most of the deep discussions takes place, which is why they last for two hours on average. These discussions are very open, blunt and honest. I am able to see how French people view America. I was also able to reflect certain privileges I have as an American because they also hosted two Italian girls from Naples during my first months stay. The dinner table is also where I learned new phrases to help me get around in Paris. They are so loving and honest which makes me feel right at home.
I choose to have 4 meals per week, which I think is best because you get more interaction with the family and it is one less expense you have to worry about during the week. I also get to taste traditional French cuisine such as duck, quiche, and different cheeses.
Pros and Cons
For those of you who have already experienced moving into a new place know that it is extremely time consuming and costly. Well, imagine doing that in a foreign country; it is ten times harder. I loved walking in to my already furnished room with a double bed, a large desk, and my own closet space. Other than the physical comfort of being in an warm living space, the host family gave me a lot of tips to help make my life in Paris easy.
No, you don’t get to invite people over or have parties at my place but that is what you make friends for. You will meet plenty of people at school whom you can go out with and there are so many bars, lounge spots and clubs where you can meet your friends.
Overall home stay was the best decision for me because it has given me a different perspective on the social and political environment I live in back home, how I can overcome language barriers, and most importantly how to adapt to different cultures.