Today I’ll be talking about my experience living with a home-stay vs. an apartment while abroad. Though not all programs will offer both a home-stay and an apartment, it’s good to know the pros and cons of each option.
I originally chose to stay with a British family because I wanted to experience the British culture. One of the pros of staying with a family native to the culture you are staying in is that you get to experience the culture more easily than staying in an apartment. For the program I was staying with, breakfast and laundry were to be provided as well, which were a few perks my roommate and I were excited about. The downside to staying with a host family is that it’s like playing Russian roulette: you’re hoping for a good family but that is not guaranteed. A few of my fellow students had absolutely amazing families that were in it to meet students and show them the British culture. My roommate and I, as well as a few other students, had issues with our host family and decided to move to the apartments. Do keep that in mind, as I hadn’t even thought that I wouldn’t get an ideal host family. We also lived outside of Central London in what I would call “suburbia,” which meant that anywhere my roommate and I wanted to go was around 45 minutes to an hour away.
One of the best things about the apartments was that the group that lived there were very close to one another. They cooked together, hung out a lot, and formed really close friendships. The apartments were also in Central London, which was a huge plus. The apartments give you a sense of independence if you have never lived alone or away from your parents. They were also really nice on the inside and housed a lot of students from different places around the world. The only downside is that you don’t get much of an opportunity to interact with British people there, unless you go out and about.
At the end of the day, choosing between a home-stay and an apartment can be a difficult decision. Whichever decision you decide to make, make sure to think carefully about the pros and cons. If you ever feel uncomfortable in your home-stay, make sure to speak up to the institution you are studying with. They are there to make sure you are comfortable and will most likely move you if you are having problems.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It truly does mean so much to me! My next post will be about ATM fraud and how to manage money while abroad! Go follow me on Instagram for daily posts, @handbookforthetravelingstudent. Cheers!