When I first applied for study abroad here in Turin, Italy, I did not see myself wanting to stay with a host family. I was afraid that there would be strict rules, I wouldn’t be in touch with my classmates in my program, I wouldn’t go out without my host family, etc. My high school friend Sara is the one who actually changed my mind. She recently studied abroad with a homestay family in Barcelona this past Spring. She absolutely loved having a host family. They made her feel completely comfortable and at home. They were able to tell her things about the city itself that she felt she would never find out on her own. She also loved having a host family for the security part of it as well. She felt like she had a home away from home. Now, after applying for homestay, I find out just a few weeks before I depart that I had the privilege of staying with a family! I was so happy, especially my parents.
Now, just after 11 days with staying with my host family, I feel right at home! They are amazing. I have a host mother and father, with two daughters, 12 and 15. What is ironic is that my host family is weirdly just like my family. They individually act like each member of my own family, which makes me feel right at home. I’m close to school to where I can walk or ride a bike. I do have to admit that at first I felt a little on the outside of my program peers because they all basically live together downtown. But when classes started, we all started to get closer and hang out after classes. Also, my host family has already taken me on a little trip to Neive, Italy, just outside of Asti. We drove there for a day because my host mother’s parents have a house there. It was such a quaint little town where they make wine fresh from the vineyards. This weekend they are taking me hiking through the Swiss Alps which will be amazing. What is also great is that they are helping me with my Italian, which is something my classmates in my program can’t say because they live with each other. Overall, having the privilege to stay with a host family is something you should definitely consider! It’s a great experience that you will always remember.