What It’s Like To Stay With A Host Family Abroad
Have you ever hosted someone from another country in your home? Whether you are taking in an exchange student or have a traveler needing to sleep on your couch for a day, being a host family is one of the most rewarding experiences not just for the family hosting, but for the person being hosted too!
When the cast of Up with People travels during their international tour, each member will stay with a host family as a way to immerse themselves further into the culture. It’s an opportunity to share with each other more about their lives and customs. Speaking different languages, cooking new foods, and sharing new traditions are all ways that both our cast members and host families connect to learn more about one another.
Since 1965, more than 800,000 families from all over the world have hosted Up with People cast members. They have graciously invited these young adults into their homes anywhere from a few days to five weeks at a time.
Some of the current cast members shared some of their favorite host family experiences and shared with us what they gained from the experience and what they loved about the experience.
What do you love about staying with host families?
Katelyn from Canada: I really like staying in host families because you get a more authentic experience where you are. You get to have conversations about the culture surrounding you and it’s so interesting. It’s nice knowing you get a new family every week wherever you go.
Marije from the Netherlands: Every week is so special because each week is different from the last. You learn so much from it. Sometimes there’s a chance they don’t even speak the same language, but you can overcome that challenge and learn to communicate.
Larissa from Belgium: It’s the contact that we have with the world. You’re constantly networking and being immersed in the culture. Every time you enter a new family, you truly become a part of it and you feel this great connection with them. One that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t a part of Up with People. You begin to feel how small the world really is.
Daniel from Mexico: I think the biggest part this program has to offer is the cultural immersion. It’s a real cultural experience. I love the idea of sharing a home with someone who thinks differently than you. Host families have a variety of ways of thinking, and it’s cool to hear the thoughts of the people you temporarily live with.
Host Family Experiences:
Ivy from Texas: I love the opportunity I have to see all the different walks of life and talking to people with different perspectives. It’s really cool to see people live in different ways than me. I think one of my favorite host family moments was just a couple of nights ago here in Mexico. My host dad was telling us all of these stories about his crazy life experiences and how he met his wife. We talked about being global citizens and it brought me to tears. It reminded me of why I’m here.
Sam from Switzerland: It’s great being able to live their culture and live their everyday life. I’d say a favorite experience would be from my previous semester when we visited Mexico. Both my host parents were climbers and they took a few of us to the middle of nowhere to climb. It was an awesome experience that will be in my memories forever.
Carson from Montana: The overall experience is just incredible. You get to stay with this family who may live in a completely new environment than what you were raised in. You get to experience their culture, their day-to-day life and the food. I love trying new foods so much. I’d say a highlight this semester was in Lacey, Washington. Both of my host families were alumni of Up with People and they came to the shows both nights. On the second night, once they were more aware of when I or one of my roommates were going to be on stage, they screamed our names as loud as they could. They were easily our biggest fans.
Aaron from Colorado: One of my host families from our first few weeks on tour really made it feel like home. They were so nice and made everything so comfortable. They reminded me a lot of being at my grandparents’ house. It’s great having that connection that goes beyond just meeting them. Living with a family breaks the barrier of small talk. Even if there’s a host family I don’t speak the same language as like here in Mexico, it’s more about seeing how each other lives. You don’t really get that anywhere else.
Are you ready to become a host family? Sign up today for our upcoming cities!
“Wherever you may live, whoever you might be
What’s happening to you, is happening to me.
How can I turn away, pretend that I don’t see
What’s happening to you, is happening to me.”
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