Student Story by Andrea R.
Before coming to San Diego one of my biggest worries was whether to choose staying with a host family or renting a room in an apartment. Obviously with both options there’s the risk of ending in a house or an apartment you are not comfortable in. The main question in my head was: What if I don’t get along with the family or in case of choosing apartment rentals, what if I don’t get along with my roommates? The answer is easy: just keep a positive mindset and be open-minded. All you need to do is consider your options. Nobody knows you better than yourself, so when it is time to make the decision just choose what suits you better. I have German friends at National University that chose to stay in apartment rentals and others that are in homestay and they both are happy with it. Both options have their pros and cons.
Apartment vs. Homestay
So, here’s the real question: why did I choose homestay instead of renting an apartment and how is this experience so far? The answer is easy: staying with a host family is going great. What I like the most about living with a San Diegan family is that I get to speak English all day every day. I’m not saying that if you rent an apartment you don’t have the chance to speak any English because that’s not true, you will speak English in class, on the street, when going shopping or when going out etc. But the thing is that normally when International student apartment companies make the matchings to find you a roommate they take into account where you are from and you normally end up living with people from your own country and therefore speaking your native language everyday. I think that is one of the downsides of living in an apartment and one of the positive things of choosing homestay.
Advantages of Homestay
Apart from practicing English at home daily, living with an American family offers you the opportunity to experience the American culture better from the inside. Living with Americans means they can show you where to go, give you some tips about everything and tell you about past experiences they’ve had with other students, because host families are used to have students from all over the world staying with them. Another advantage of choosing homestay is that they can lend you stuff like surfboards, paddle boards, bicycles etc. I love being in homestay because it makes me feel I’m not that far away from home.
If you are lucky and you create a solid bond with the host family, you will have a very nurturing experience. As far as I’m concerned, my host family is my second family now. I love my “American siblings” and “American parents” as if they were my own and I even got the chance to go on a vacation with them for two weeks before starting my classes in a rental house at Mission Beach. I really appreciate all they do because they make me feel like a family member. It is really cool knowing that when I’m back in Spain I will always be able to come back to this beautiful city and have a place to stay.