Most students at OISE Oxford choose to stay with a host family during their course and, if they are new to the experience, it is not unusual for them to feel a little apprehensive before they arrive. However, it is our belief that it can be a truly enriching experience, not only from a linguistic perspective, but also on a cultural and personal level.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing one of our most experienced hostesses, Meg Peacock, and her Chinese student, Hui Xu, in order to find out the truth about the OISE Oxford homestay experience for both host and student.
In the first of two posts, Meg shares her experience of hosting OISE students over the years. She lives in the popular area of Summertown in north Oxford and enjoys music, reading, languages and travel. Here’s what she had to say:
How long have you been hosting students?
I started hosting around 40 years ago, maybe even more! My mother and I moved into a new house one summer along with two young Iranian students. One of them is still in contact with me regularly. It’s all been great, I love it!
What made you decide to host foreign students?
I guess it was my mother’s idea. After my father died, we were on our own and wanted to do something different and we enjoyed meeting other people. It was a new chapter for us and we never looked back.
What do you most enjoy about hosting?
Well, meeting new people, of course. Having company and having somebody in the house is an added bonus. And I just like sharing new ideas, different cultures and different cooking. I love it, I wouldn’t do anything else!
What nationalities of students have you hosted?
In the past, mostly European students, but in the last few years, I’ve hosted Brazilian, Korean and Japanese too. I prefer to host long-term students like Hui as we can build up a good rapport over several weeks or months.
Have you kept in touch with any of your past students?
Yes, I’m still in touch with quite a few of them and sometimes they recommend their friends to come and stay with me too. It’s wonderful!
If you are considering staying with a host family and would like some more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.