Get to Know the Canadian Culture by Staying with a Host FamilyIf you're thinking about traveling to Vancouver to improve your English, you should consider living with a Canadian family. The immersion into Canadian culture and the English language is one of the best ways to improve your skills.
A homestay can be a smart accommodation choice, as it ensures you're going to be fully exposed to the Canadian culture. There are many great families who rent rooms or living spaces in their homes to students who are going to spend time in the city learning English, traveling or working.
Some advantages of being in a homestay:
- You don't have to worry about cooking. Usually, the price you pay for a homestay includes meals.
- Homestays usually provide laundry services as well. In many cases you don't have to clean your room, the kitchen, or the washroom, however, it won't kill you to help out! Your homestay family will appreciate anything you do around the house.
- You will interact with local people. One of the hardest things for expatriates to do is to get to know Canadian people. People who choose homestays generally meet Canadians quite easily. These local contacts will provide you with networking opportunities in the city and valuable friendships that may last a lifetime.
- Your English will improve much faster at a homestay than it will if you stay at other places such as a hostel. At a hostel it's more common to find people of the same nationality, or people who speak the same language as you do.
Obviously, while there are advantages to staying at a homestay, there are also disadvantages:
- Your freedom and privacy are limited. You'll be living with other people and will have to respect them by not making too much noise, coming home too late, or making a mess. You may not always get along with your homestay family or like the way they live.
- Staying in a homestay may limit your relationships in the city. Some people find themselves spending all their free time with their homestay family, because it's easy and convenient.
The majority of homestays will attempt to get to know your needs and likes and help you enjoy your stay in Canada. However, you may not love everything about your homestay. From the food, to the sheets on your bed, to the noise level in your house, there may be things that aren't to your liking.
Tips for a happy homestay in Vancouver:
- If you have the opportunity to choose your host family, try to pick a location close enough to where you'll spend your time studying or working.
- Ensure that the culture of the host family is not totally different than yours.
- Be considerate and respectful of the house rules.
- Respect the meal times, and arrival times in the evening and night. Try to alert to your family about any unexpected plans you have, such as staying out late.
- Make an effort to have a good relationship with your host family. Talk to them, be sociable, and get to know them!
- Do not waste the utilities and resources that the host family provides to you (phone, water, electricity).
With a little courtesy, respect, and enthusiasm, living in a homestay can be a wonderful experience that you'll never forget!