Have you always wanted to explore another culture from the inside? If so, you’ve probably daydreamed about spending lengthy periods in faraway places and genuinely getting to know about other nations, people, and places. The good news is that daydreams can come true. Homestay programs exist in almost every country, and you can sign up for one that interests you.
Keep in mind that it takes preparation and planning to gain acceptance, but once you do get in, you’ll be on your way to becoming a citizen of the world. Step one is to sign up with a reputable stay-at-home company. After that, it’s up to you to figure out budgeting, whether to take language classes, develop a targeted itinerary, and communicate with your future hosts. It’s a significant undertaking but well worth the effort. Here’s how to get started.
Sign Up for a Homestay Program
Research some of the top-rated homestay programs and choose one that suits your preferences. Some are designed for older adults, for example, who can spend an entire month or more with a host family. Others are interest-based or focus on one country. Explore the possibilities thoroughly before making a commitment.
Rework Your Monthly Budget
Focus on lowering your monthly expenses by making smart moves, like refinancing existing student loans. Strategies like these can instantly reduce your cash outflow, primarily when you work with a private lender to consolidate multiple student loans into a single monthly payment that’s often much lower than your current costs. Additionally, consider setting up a designated bank account into which you can automatically deposit funds from each paycheck. By getting student loan payments down and adding to a special fund regularly, you’ll be well-equipped to cover the costs of whatever kind of cultural project you choose.
Take Online Language Lessons
If you don’t already speak the local language of your destination country, take at least a few introductory lessons online or from a local tutor. There’s no need to spend big on this effort, but the more hours you dedicate to acquiring basic vocabulary, the more you’ll enjoy the experience. When you are traveling in countries where you do not speak the language, that can add a layer of frustration to your day to day. Keep a positive attitude, and don’t be afraid to take a beginner’s class, even in challenging languages like Russian, Japanese, and Turkish. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn by devoting one hour per day to language study for a few weeks.
Communicate With Hosts Before Traveling
To maximize enjoyment, one of the best tips for a memorable vacation is make a point of contacting your host family well before traveling. Share information about why you chose to take this kind of trip, how much you’re looking forward to it, and what your exact dates of travel will be. Ideally, you can establish a rapport with them and exchange a few photos and emails several months before departing.
Make a Detailed Itinerary
Even if you are only with your host family for a week or two, be sure to make a proposed itinerary of local sites you want to explore. Include standards like museums, landmarks, and historical places. Leave a few days open, so you can let your hosts suggest a few activities that only locals would know about.