International Homestay Programs Overview
International homestay programs are specifically designed to help students learn a foreign language abroad while living with a host family. It is also an opportunity for a student to learn about the way of life of other people. During each program, which is also known as an immersion program, the student will share the everyday life and special activities of the host family. They can help with tasks in the home as they become acquainted with a foreign culture and strive to make progress in learning a foreign language. The students who are participating in a homestay program are encouraged to be open-minded, curious and mature so as to learn more the customs, habits and diets of the host family. They should also be prepared to live in a small town or countryside as only a few families living in town centers can take in exchange students due to space constraints. Each program typically takes four weeks, however, shorter programs can be offered as and when required. The programs are designed for students aged between 13 and 18 years, independent, used to traveling and having a sufficient level of the language they’d wish to improve. The immersion programs are divided into English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish homestay programs.
In this article we are going to focus on the international homestay programs offered by our top educational travel pick, Nacel – http://www.nacel.org/homestay-programs
English Homestay Programs
Students interested in an english homestay program can spend time in either Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or in the United States. While staying in Canada a student will have the opportunity to hone their English writing and speaking skills by the constant immersion in a Canadian family during the homestay in Canada. The students may also take sailing lessons which include water safety, knots, rigging and capsizing. Additional activities that the student will engage in include beach activities, swimming and weekly theme days.
In Ireland the student will equally get an opportunity to improve their English communication skills. The student will also be required to attend a local Irish High School during the immersion program – these he will do with the host sister, brother or any children of the neighborhood. To be eligible, one has to demonstrate a deep interest in the Irish culture, show enthusiasm for improve their English language communication skills, show a willingness to make new friends and demonstrate an affable, open and flexible attitude during the homestay with an Irish family.
A homestay in New Zealand requires, in addition to learning the English language, a readiness to attend a high school during the period of the homestay. Students are usually interviewed in their home country before they are accepted to a homestay and high school program within New Zealand. The prospective homestay students need to have studied English for at least two years as well as have posted good academic results.
There are three homestay options for the United States: homeschool in the US, homestay and high school integration at St. Paul Prep, USA, and a homestay in the USA. The homeschooling option entails a member of the host family tutoring the student for a total of fifteen hours within the first two weeks of the stay. The home tutor is usually a member of the family who is a teacher or who has a degree in higher education. The homestay and high school integration at St. Paul Prep, USA option requires students who are already versed with English language to attend classes at the St. Paul Preparatory High School. Finally, the homestay in the USA just needs the student to study and improve their English language skills by immersion in the host family’s way of life.
Immersion Programs in France
There are four homestay programs in France: homeschooling in France, homestay and high school in France, homestay in France and discovery Paris and the junior homestay in France. To be eligible for the homeschooling in France program a learner needs at least a two year study of the French language as well as a passion to improve their French language communication skills. The students should also demonstrate an interest to learn about the French culture.
The homestay and high school in France option requires the learner to be ready to attend all the classes in the high school he shall be attended. However, he is exempt from taking examinations and doing homework. One of the main aims of the program is for the students to understand the French school system. Here, the organizers match the student with hosts who share common interests and hobbies.
For those who opt for the homestay in France and discovery Paris option, they will learn by constant immersion in the way of life of the people of France. To be eligible one needs at least a one year study of the French language and a deep enthusiasm to improve their knowledge of the French language. The same requirements are needed in the Junior Homestay in France.
German Homestay Program
To be eligible for the German Homestay Program the student needs to have a minimum of at least one or two years studying the German language. Participants need also to demonstrate a deep curiosity and interest to learn the German language and the culture of Germans. During the homestay, the participant is required to attend a local high school with a host sister or brother or children of the neighborhood.
Homestay and High School in Italy
Before being accepted into the Italian homestay program, students have to be interviewed in their home country first. The prospective Italian homestayers are also required to have at least two years of Italian study in addition to posting good academic results. In Italy, they are required to attend the local high school for the time of their stay.
Homestay in Portugal
This program is available only to English native speakers. Before going to Portugal, interested students have to be interviewed first in their home country before they are accepted. The students also need to have at least one year of Portuguese study. The exchange student will learn the Portuguese language and culture by immersion in the host family’s way of life.
Spanish Homestay Programs
For students who want to reach proficiency in the Spanish language, they can undertake various Spanish homestay programs. There is the Homestay and High School Integration in Argentina program, the Homestay and School Integration in Chile, the Homestay in Mexico, and Homestay Programs in Spain. They all require interested students to have studied Spanish for at least a year and be ready to learn more in the host country. Some of the Spanish homestay programs require students to be ready to attend a local high school for the time they are visiting.
Homestay programs are a great way to learn the world and to foster understanding between varied people. It is particularly the best way to improve language. The immersion program is a good idea and students and the relevant stakeholders should embrace these programs for better results in the education sector and better international interaction now and in the future.