"I was a little nervous before I came to London, because it was the first time that I travelled to another country without my parents; now that I’ve gotten to know everyone here, I don't want to leave!" said Patrick, 17, from Denmark at the end of his London homestay.
Leaving home and moving to an entirely different country is hard, especially for those with little international or travel experience. Although young people have a strong desire and curiosity to experience new things, many can feel lonely and confused when arriving and settling down in a new city.
Living with a local family means that you can be given advice on some of the fundamentals in city living, such as transport routes, tips on the use of services or access to the best places in the local area. Access to these benefits mean that finding a homestay is becoming more and more popular among international students.
Patrick is an international student who decided to do an internship in London before beginning his professional career. He chose an affordable accommodation at Host Family Stay and was happy to share his experience with us:
What made you decide to stay with a host family instead of a student residence?
"Well, before coming to London I was anxious because it was my first time going abroad without my family. I felt that living in a student residence, full of other international students or young people made me a little claustrophobic, only making my situation worse. So I filled out the application for Host Family Stay. My host family, Emily and Matt, made me feel at home and I was relieved to have a little support from them."
What did you expect from London and your host family before coming here?
"Oh, I didn’t really know what to expect. All I heard before was that London is nothing like my hometown, and that it is a huge city to get used to. I was confused as to how I would get used to it so quickly, but Emily explained the TFL (Transport For London) and showed me how easy it was to use. Matt was kind enough to show me some of Central London, and introduce me to the stores I could find near his home."
What is the funniest thing you’ve done with your host family?
"We had quite a few moments, but one of the most memorable things was making lunch for my hosts, I made Danish meatballs with rice and rye bread; it was a great dinner party and we were laughing all evening about the differences between my town in Denmark and London."
It sounds like you've had a great relationship with your host family. Did you have any disputes during your stay at all?
"Indeed, I have a great relationship with my hosts, but no. I was just informed on some of the household rules on the first day and I kept my promise to follow them. There have been good vibes in the home and I can certainly say I truly enjoyed my stay as well as making new friendly acquaintances in London. Emily and Matt are both my Facebook friends now."
What did you learn from your host family?
"First of all, I improved my English a lot. Emily’s tips on the specific words and pronunciation was very useful. I also gained a better understanding of London culture and traditions during my homestay. Matt is a big fan of cricket, and he explained the rules to me and even invited me to watch his team game one day!"
Would you recommend a host family to your friends?
"Definitely, yes! London is a big city and it has quite expensive accommodations. So, staying with a host family has many advantages. You can certainly stay in the hostels or other room share flats, however, nothing will compensate for the caring family environment and practical help you get. Although I was confused and nervous before coming to England, it was much harder to leave London and my new friends. "
"Matt and Emily will always be welcome in Århus, my hometown!"
Published on 22nd June 2018