One way to greatly improve your language skills is to stay with a host family. Living and studying a language abroad and in the company of native speakers greatly improves your chances of learning quickly and efficiently. There are a host of other benefits too, so let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
You learn a new language!
It may seem obvious; however, studies have shown that students who are immersed in the family and culture of the language they want to learn improve their skills far quicker that those confined to classroom based teaching. It speeds up the learning process because being lost in translation forces them to try and communicate their thoughts and needs more effectively. Not being understood is a strong motivator that helps them learn and adapt while living in-country. A host family will help with pronunciation too, because unless you speak clearly, they can’t understand you!
You improve your cultural knowledge
There’s more to a culture than its language. Staying with host families gives you a unique insight into how everyday life works in other parts of the world. The differences might surprise you, but so will the similarities! Along with language training, (including slang and informal learning), students can enjoy activities with their host families that further develop their social skills. Both this familiarity and difference helps build bonds and a cultural knowledge, growing deep roots and a profound understanding that lasts a lifetime.
You taste new food!
One of the well-received aspects of living with a host family is the incredible food on offer. Home cooked meals, plus dining experiences and eating out at local restaurants all add to the sense of culture and community that language trips strive to achieve. This diversity and ethnic influence builds a greater understanding of the host-family, their country and the array of experiences on offer.
You build familial bonds
Whatever your background and wherever you’ve come from, while you stay with a host family, you are a part of their everyday life. This experience often forms incredible ties and friendships that last long after you’ve said your goodbyes. Students can often feel homesick and take time to adjust to their new home, so having a warm and welcoming family looking after them can be a huge comfort that builds a sense of belonging and acceptance.
It works both ways
Not only will you learn about the host-family’s culture and traditions, it’s also an opportunity for them to learn about yours! The exchange can be hugely beneficial for both parties in terms of bridging cultural divides and tearing down language barriers. Students often share their own culture with their host-family and spend time learning about what makes them different and the same.
You have a sense of safety
Being abroad can be scary and daunting, especially if you’re just learning the language or it’s the first time you’ve been away from home. However, staying with host-families takes away all the pressure to find somewhere to live, eat and learn while you settle into a new way of life. If you get sick, hurt or confused, your host family will be there to help you. They can also give you advice and guidance on anything and everything, whenever you need it. So, if you’re not sure of where to go, who to ask, or what to do, your host-family are on hand at all times to make sure you’re safe and happy.
[Note: At Ardmore, our host families are some of the best in the world. They’re not only trustworthy, their dedicated and professional. They live in safe neighbourhoods and have passed all background checks to ensure students get the best possible experience while they’re away.]
You grow as a person
Breaking down barriers, opening your mind and allowing yourself to be fully immersed in the culture of another country reaps amazing benefits and promotes personal development. It’s an incredible and rewarding experience that will have long-lasting effects, including future job prospects! In the current climate, multi-linguists are going to be more in demand than ever.