The Winterline students have packed up from their outdoor excursion in The Rockies and have just landed in Latin America, where they were greeted by our Regional Director Susu. During the next three months, they will be learning a plethora of valuable skills in both Panama and Costa Rica, including how to respectively live in a homestay. We thought we'd share with you a few of the tips that we told them.
1. Don't forget your manners: Remember to always say please and thank you just like your parents taught you.
2. Speak their language: You are spending time in a homestay to get more acquainted with not only your host family's culture, but also their language. It's the perfect place to practice. Don't worry about making mistakes or sounding silly!
3. Food for thought: Always, always, always eat the food your homestay offers, or at least take a small portion to try it. If you have dietary constrictions be sure to relay that up front.
4. Be outgoing: It will probably be somewhat out of your comfort zone, but don't retreat. Ask questions and share your experiences; now is not the time to be shy.
5. Dress as they dress: Be mindful of your family's customary dress and customs. Showing too much skin for women in some countries, for example, is frowned upon.
6. Lean on your host family: It's perfectly normal to feel homesick while away. Remember your host family is their to help.
7. Unplug: Be respectful. No phones, iPads or laptops while enjoying time with your host family. I repeat..put the phones away!
8. Help out: While you are living there, chip in as much as possible with household chores and upkeep.
9. Give them a gift: It's a nice gesture to leave a parting gift. And keep in touch, too. I am sure they will love to hear from you time to time.
Living in a homestay can be one of the most rewarding experiences your will have while traveling and studying abroad. Refer to these easy tips to make your time there carefree.
You can also learn more about the Latin American unit of the Winterline trip, by reading here.