Homestay–Living with a National Family


If you are traveling anywhere for any period of time, you should try to do a Homestay.

Defined:  A homestay is simply living with a local family.

We were advised to do a homestay when we first got to Africa.  It would help with language, culture learning, adaptation to new culture.  It would also benefit to have someone else cooking and cleaning during the time you don’t know the words for ‘egg’ or ‘toilet paper.’

My Love and I were excited by the idea of seeing what life was like on the inside of an African family.  We asked other friends and families about their experiences.  We had heard of people staying one week up to four months; and of people loving it or hating it.  The two main negatives we found were (1) not feeling like their needs were met (ex: not enough food, no shower) and (2) the pushing of their personal limits (ex: not enough personal space).

We stayed in our homestay for three months.  And overall, we were so glad we did it!  It didn’t help much with our language (because the father knew some English and only wanted to talk in English).  But we learned a lot about how a African family functions, relates, argues, has fun, etc.  We got to be a part of their holidays and extended family visits. I learned where to shop and what an average life looks like for an African woman.  We learned how conflict happens (between our two families) and how it can be resolved and have a good ending.

I realized I was coming from my “entitled American life” to people I, honestly, looked down on because ‘they’re poor or less educated, so they must not be too smart or know much about health, relationships, etc.’  I was humbled to see these people live with less, but with life and enjoyment of what they have! I met some of the most relational, giving, beautiful people I’ve even met…in our homestay.  I wouldn’t trade my time in their home for anything!!

Have you ever lived with a local family to do a homestay?

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