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Major: International Economic Relations
Status: Workygirl

I am fond of chocolates, flowers, friends, loud music, watching movies, taking pictures and traveling!!!

Live in the Family Abroad
Olya Bezvushko

One of the cheap and efficient ways to learn another culture is by staying with a family for a few weeks during the summer. With a proper preparation it is also a comparatively inexpensive and enjoyable way, especially if you make all preparations by yourself. This kind of life experience has all the features of an organized program – it also implies language immersion and a chance to find real friends. At the same time you don’t depend on set program dates, fees and numerous requirements. It is your choice to pick up the date of departure and arrival, the duration of the trip and activities to do while you are there. Moreover, an organized homestay program is usually more expensive than the one you can arrange by yourself.

You can use your connections while looking for a family abroad to stay with for a relatively short period of time. You can try to find such family in one of the following ways:

     - You may have some foreign schoolmates or know their host families in your home country
     - Your close relatives (grandparents, aunts, ankles, cousins) may have hosted students or may have been exchange students themselves. Exchange programs usually form lifelong friendships, and probably you could set a “second-generation” hosting experience
     - Maybe somebody from your family lives abroad or have good friends who are now abroad or have been there recently. These people may host you or 
     - There are many foreign language teachers who have studied abroad and may still have some connections. They might even offer you a possible family to stay with
     - Make an Internet pan pal
     - Ask the members of your church, mosque or synagogue either they have any suggestions.

If you are going to improve and practice your language skills it is recommended to go for not less than 3 weeks, because you will need about two weeks to get used for new environment and begin to feel yourself comfortable.

Keep in mind that while a self-arranged trip is much cheaper than a program, you will not get any prearrange excursions and museum visits. It will be in your hands to make it interesting and worthwhile. This involves Internet and library research, talking to people who have been there before and travel agents and asking your host family. Your independent preparation will help you a lot in learning new places and cultures, as you can not rely a lot on your host family members, as they are not professional tour guides.

Your trip will involve such expenses as: Transportation costs, museum entrance fees, meals and pin money. Discus beforehand cost of the room with your host family. Find out either they expect you to pay for living or contribute in any other way.

You should bring your host family gifts and souvenirs, and it will be good to ask them if there is anything they would like you to bring from your home country. 

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