Video: Host Families and Homestays

July 6, 2015
Video: Host Families and Homestays

While studying abroad in France, I decided to investigate the norms of staying with a host family. I interviewed other women studying abroad, asking them for tips about best practices when staying with host families and homestays.

Video: Host Families and Homestays

For more information about Host Families and Homestays visit:

My French Host Family’s Unspoken Rules

My host father was a whiz in the kitchen. He could make a gourmet dinner out of just eggs and Herbs de Provence; a statement I thought was a compliment but host mother took as an insinuation that their fridge was bare. I caught her eyes on me sometimes at dinner parties to see if I was passing the food to the correct person before serving any for myself. I always did.

“Do you want me to change out of my jeans?” I asked her one night when friends were coming over.

Oui, tu peux,” she said noncommittally, which I knew meant, “Yes, please change out of those jeans into appropriate dinnerware, and thank you for asking.” She wouldn’t have asked me to do it but I knew she appreciated it.

There were so many rules to follow, most of which I wasn’t even aware of. I had a lot of free passes as a foreigner. The standards were already higher for their four-year-old grandson who looked at me in utter confusion one day as I left the house through the garden my host parents shared with their daughter, her husband, and two children. Read more. 

Homestay in Montreal: How to Experience the City Like a Local

On moving to Buffalo, New York in 2014, I was excited to get ‘two countries for the price of one,’ as Canada is (almost) visible from my house. Yet for the budget-conscious, North America is not the cheapest part of the world in which to travel. Distances between points of interest are great, making transportation costs high. Food portions are large at restaurants, meaning that you get a lot for your buck, but once you add in tax and tips, food costs add up.

Plus, accommodation is expensive, especially for one used to travelling in Asia. I was faced with the unhappy dilemma of not travelling much, or having to settle for over-crowded hostels of the sort I thought I’d left behind with my 20s. Read more here.


Video: Host Families and Homestays top photo by Unsplash. 

About Julia Tinneny

Julia is currently at Bard College studying Human Rights and Economics. Prior to entering college, she spent eight months as a Global Citizen Year Fellow, living and working in Senegal, West Africa. Julia is excited to be a Pink Pangea Video Correspondent, to capture candid moments and tell stories of the people who she will encounter during her Summer 2015 trip in France, Israel, Turkey, and Senegal.

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