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Cheap gap year accommodation - Host Family or Homestay

Paying to stay with a host family is another alternative form of accommodation which may not appeal to everybody. You pay a certain amount per week (varies considerably depending on the country) to a family and stay with them in their family home. There are many positive and negative things to consider about this type of accommodation, and it may also require that you act a little more responsibly and considerately than you would if you stayed in a more anonymous kind of place. You will literally be living in a family's home.

Staying with a host family is definitely a great way to learn the language. You will be thoroughly immersed in the culture, and will learn about local people and customs from a very unique perspective. Experiencing the local cuisine can be a real benefit of this type of stay, but you may also find mealtimes stressful if the food provided is limited, or not to your taste. Try to be sensitive to your families feelings though, and don’t make your dislike of their cuisine obvious.

Before you commit to staying with a host family, you need to be clear about what you can expect from the experience. How integrated will you become into the family life? Will you eat together, where will you sleep, what rules will be imposed on you regarding staying out late, drinking & smoking. Will they expect you to carry out any chores? You may be expected to be responsible and help with the running of the family home – possibly helping with cleaning or cooking.

Try to be a considerate guest. Make sure you treat your host family with respect and clean up after yourself. For example, don’t leave dirty laundry lying around, leave rooms as clean as you found them (especially the bathroom), and offer help with cleaning and shopping duties.

A search on the internet will find various student exchange programmes and websites that specialise in locating host families.