To help you choose a host family during your stay in Paris, Ethan shared his own experience with us!
Ethan is a 21-year-old student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was his university that suggested that he study abroad as part of his studies. He selected France and chose the homestay.
When he arrived in Paris, Ethan only knew the rudiments of French. He decided to go to France and live with a host family because he wanted to immerse himself in the language and quickly master a new language. After a few weeks, he is able to order food himself when he goes to a restaurant.
« I’m studying computer science. My university has a language requirement. So by choosing to do a semester in France, I was refilling this language requirement. I figured this will probably the best way to learn French and certainly the most fun way to learn French. »
Ethan’s experience shows that for him, living with a host family has three main advantages. First, his host mom is a real inspiration to discover Paris. « It’s great. When somedays I don’t know what to do are sometimes, I feel like I’m running out things to do, my host always has tons of recommendations for me. All the good places to eat, good places to go for a walk, at a garden or something, great museum as well…»
Living in a household is also an opportunity to share a family life and a Parisian rhythm of life. « When I have dinner with my host, it’s always nice and casual between us. It’s also nice, every once in a while, her family also comes and has dinner. It is really nice to talk to other the people who lives in Paris.»
Certainly, he sees this as a special opportunity to master fluent French and improve his language skills. The interview we conducted together was in English, but Ethan is aware that he is in France to acquire a good knowledge of the language. For this reason, he speaks exclusively French with his host family and they have even put in place a strategy to help him progress quickly:
« Whenever I go to eat dinner, we speak as much French as we can. Sometimes it’s a little difficult because I’m still beginning but she [his host mom] speaks English. So if I don’t understand, she’ll explain it in English and repeat it in French. I try to speak French. If I don’t know how to say it, I try to…kind of get the idea with other words. »
By experiencing a semester abroad, Ethan has accepted to face cultural shocks. For him, the most difficult thing is the temperature difference! He arrived in Paris in the middle of January. Even though he already had a first study experience far from home, in France, he feels cold.
« For me, coming from Hawaii, there is the temperature difference. Overall, I mean I lived in Oregon too so I’ve done this before. But it’s still very cold. It’s harder to wake up because of the cold, for example. »
Despite this big difference that makes a big difference in his daily life, Ethan has been able to see the good side of these changes and overcome them to adapt. As for the climate, he considers that there is finally a pleasant side to not always having to endure high temperatures.
The cultural differences are not always what you expect, on the contrary. For Ethan, the dinners he has with his French family are pretty similar from his home country. On the other hand, his host family had to warn him that he was taking unusually long showers for them and he was able to adapt. This is just one example amongst many. The important thing is to be prepared for these kinds of contrasts.
Being far from home, having to practice a foreign language on a daily basis, it’s not always easy and Ethan had to deal with it. Being homesick is quite common during a stay abroad and you have to be prepared to face it.
« There was a gap between when my classes started and when I got here, enviro one month. At the beginning when I was just doing things everyday, but I ended up spacing things out more. I chose to go out to see Paris but not every day. I just took a break from it. I thing that was a kind of good change of pace for me. »
To avoid homesickness, Ethan recommends bringing something that reminds you of home. « I’d say that’s a good advice for travelling anywhere for a long period of time and certainly for homestay. Just bring something that remind you of home. »
“Living in homestay, is a great way to interact with the city in such!”
According to Ethan, anyone can have a positive homestay experience, as long as they choose to do so. It is an experience that requires you to be fully involved in order for the immersion to be entirely successful. If you are still wondering if a host family is the right accommodation for you in Paris, simply ask us your questions via our contact form and we will be happy to answer them. Don’t hesitate to consult our accommodation offer on our website.