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 month Meg gave us her perspective as a host mother, and this time we will be focussing on the student experience. Hui studied with us for 3 months in order to learn English for her profession. Here’s what she told us about her stay:
How did you feel about staying with a host family before you came to Oxford?
Before I came, I felt very nervous because I didn’t have any experience of living with a host family.
How was the experience different to what you expected?
When I came, we could talk like a family and she cooked well and it’s a good chance for me to practise my English and learn about British culture from native people.
What is the best thing about staying with a host family?
Knowing Meg! And that we can be friends for the rest of our lives. We have some things in common; we both like cooking, we watch cooking programmes together and we also talk about travel.
In what ways has it helped you to improve your knowledge of British culture?
In two ways: one has been doing activities together each weekend, such as visiting historic architecture and museums and listening to music. The other way is by communicating with real people, native people. If you don’t have a chance to talk to them, you don’t know why they have certain feelings or opinions.
Are there any challenges about staying with a host family?
You have to respect the habits and rules of your host family, but it’s not that difficult!
What advice would you give to a student who is thinking of staying with a host family?
It’s better for them to know a little bit about British people. They are more diplomatic and it’s better not to speak so directly. Also, you should respect them and enjoy talking with them to share your experience and make your life connect with theirs. You should find common interests so that you can make friends with them and practise your English.
Would you recommend staying with a host family?
If you are considering staying with a host family and would like some more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on email@example.com.