Host Family Lifestyle

Living in a host family abroad is definitely a change from whatever lifestyle you may have being a student.

First of all, there’s dinner at a normal hour, versus going to the cafeteria around 5 pm and eating as much as you possibly can so as not to be hungry before bed (partial exaggeration). Then there’s the fact that it’s homemade, and on top of that, the fact that it’s homemade French food! Extra emphasis on the words “homemade” and “French”!

Food aside, living in a host family means your schedule will be quite different from if you were the usual overly-committed student at K. Life is more relaxed, and you take your time hanging out with and getting to know the family. For me at least, that means from dinner until around 11 pm every day is usually filled with some form family time. Back at K, I would usually be spending that time at the library, at club meetings, or maybe visiting friends… homework didn’t really have a set hour of having to be between class and family time, or after family time before bed. That proved to be a bit of a adjustment as I would put off homework as usual until later in the day but then find myself only being able to start around midnight after everyone was in bed!

All in all, it can be a challenge to find a good balance between work, school, friends, family, and host family, but living in a host family, at least for me, has been a wonderful experience. It provides a great support system for life in a foreign country, whether that be travel advise, language help, project ideas, answers to questions, or just the provision of the basics – food, shelter, and a friendly presence. In the end, of course, a host family is often so much more than that. They become friends, kindling the hope that one day you’ll be able to give them some of the same experiences of discovery that they gave you.


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About Alexandra Smith ʼ16

Alexandra is a Junior from Corvallis, Oregon who is currently studying abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She is a double major in French and International Studies with a minor in Economics. Sophomore year, Alexandra led a program for the Center for Civic Engagement at K and was a Co-President of the club Zookeepers. She loves dancing, painting, writing, eating, and travelling.