5 Tips for a Rewarding Homestay

I was lucky enough to be assigned to a homestay last year in Handa, Aichi. This proved to be the most fulfilling experience during my time in Japan! Here are five tips to get the most out of your homestay experience.

1. Omiyage

Put simply, omiyage is a gift that you present to a family for hosting you in their home. This should be more than a keyring or piece of chocolate. A delicacy or something specific to where you’re from unavailable in Japan always goes down well. I gave my family some Yorkshire Tea which we drank for breakfast every morning.

2. Try Everything 

Your family will be keen for you to try as many different foods and experiences whilst you’re with them. I recommend diving into them all. Sometimes it’s their reactions that are more entertaining than your own.

3. Every Day is a School Day

A central motive for most host families to request a homestay is so that they can learn from you. Remember that the way you speak and act will be listened to, seen and, quite possibly, imitated by your host family.

4. Be Polite

Always offer to help with the washing up and preparation of meals. Fulfill the position of role model and act like one of the family. Your offers to help with chores will probably be rejected but at least show willing. 

5. Keep in Contact

Your week will fly by, but this doesn’t mean your contact with your homestay family has to end there. I have been in regular contact with my family over the past year. We even exchanged Christmas and birthday cards!

Out of sheer coincidence, I am returning to Handa again this year. My host family from last year had requested another homestay for 2019, and as soon as they heard I would be returning to Handa, they specifically asked if I could be placed with them again. So, this year, I get to spend another week with my favourite Japanese family.

by Foz, University of Oxford

Come On OutComment