AUCP students agree – living with a host family really is the best. It’s is often AUCP students’ favorite part of their experience abroad and the main contributing factor to their understanding of the French – both language and culture. Yet before coming abroad, many students wonder if living with a host family is really their best option – we’re here to tell you that it is! And here’s why:
1. You’ll Learn the Language In The Best Way Possible
They always say, practice makes perfect! And with your host family, you’ll have every opportunity to practice, and practice, and practice with an in-house study buddy. Your French language learning won’t stop when you leave class, it will continue when you get home. Homestays provide safe learning environments to try out new words, mess up pronunciation, and ask for explanations. Get into a discussion on French cult films with your host father, practice vocabulary with your host sister, and gain confidence communicating in French with family friends in the comfort of your new home. They usually won’t be afraid to correct you, will always support you in trying to expand your abilities, and you may find you’ll gain some funny stories through your inevitable French language mishaps!
2. Live Like The French
Learn what French locals like to do, where they like to go, when they like to do particular tasks or activities throughout the day, and how they like to do them. Take time to learn how to cook your new favorite dish, watch local TV shows, or read newspapers or magazines. Get used to typical French breakfast fare, discuss politics and world events regularly, eat dinner late, renounce walking around town in your pajamas, discover how the French celebrate (or not) different holidays. Participate in the typical weekend or evening activities right along with your host family to fully live life like a French local.
3. Get Your Very Own French Family
Your French family will be your home away from home. That’s why the AUCP on-site director personally selects host families for their openness and enthusiasm in providing a quality cultural experience for the student they welcome to their homes. Host families will take care of their student (only one student per family !) and can especially help combat any feelings of homesickness. Coming back after a long day of classes to a home-cooked meal is one of those simple comforts that makes living in a host family worth it. Host families encourage students to spend time out and about. They are well aware that you’re going to want to experience life in your new city, and as long as you’re respectful about it, (like, don’t turn on all the lights, and music and shower when you come home at 3am) you can obviously come and go as you please! Host families can become one of the biggest reasons to visit Provence, again! Students sometimes refer to their host parents as their French mom or French dad – and often remain in contact for many years following their time abroad.
4. Taste Traditional French & Provençal Cuisine
Inevitably anyone traveling abroad will eventually taste some dishes they have never heard of, but finding a true home cooked meal on a daily basis is not frequently possible when traveling. In a homestay, you’ll get a traditionally French meal each evening – giving you the opportunity to try local Provençal cuisine and French specialties. And often, you’ll get a free cooking class at home! Ever dreamed of making a killer quiche? Now’s the time!
5. Observe French Culture First Hand
Students get a firsthand look at French culture through observation and participation. Things that you may never have thought would be different – like conversing between different generations, unique body language and facial movements, and discovering how certain gestures and actions are used and accepted. Discover the calm quiet of Sundays in France, participate in heated debates on news and culture at the dinner table with the entire family, experience meals that evolve with the season. A homestay provides the opportunity to gather valuable cultural information regarding who cleans, who cooks, who eats when, who talks in what situation and more. These experiences can be observed and brought up in class – AUCP students in particular are able to make parallels with their learnings in the AUCP core class French Cultural Patterns, making their experience all the more valuable.
Check our « Meet an AUCP student » blog posts to get student’s first-hand perspectives about their host family experiences in the Homestay category on Le Blog.