1. Typical Life
You get a better day to day understanding of typical family life in another country. If you have host sibling you can see what it’s like to be a kid. What kind of activities they do, where they go to school, what kind of things they like to do.
2. Traditional food!
Besides going to expensive restaurants like Noma it can be pretty hard to find good traditional food. With a home stay you’ll have much better access! I am lucky, my family’s grandparents come every Wednesday to cook a traditional meal. I have also learned how to make homemade biscuits.
There is a possibility of getting a home stay with pets, which just adds to the homey feel. My host family has two small dogs. Growing up I only had cats & fish so it has been fun getting to have two dogs in the house.
4. You get a home.
I have really enjoyed the experience at living in a home this semester compared to an apartment. Living in a home in the suburbs with a family is certainly different than living in an apartment in the city with 3 roommates. With my host family I have been able to find a comfortable, welcoming place to come home every evening.
5. Learn a little Danish!
I did not sign up for any Danish language classes at DIS. But with the help of my host family I have been able to learn a little here and there. After living here for almost three months I’ve gotten better at guessing what is being said around me. Using context clues I am often able to help people find the English words they are searching for in conversations.
6. Dinner parties!
With my family I have been able to meet more Danish families through dinner parties. This is another way to see a new side of Danish culture that can be pretty hard to experience outside of a home stay.
Living with locals broadens your view and forces you to step outside your comfort zone. Living with a host family is the best way to see what the culture is really like. Plus you might end up learning more about yourself and where you come from in the process.
8. Holidays & Traditions!
With a homestay you get to celebrate and experience the holidays and traditions. For instance I got to make traditional Easter valentines! Something my classmates without homestays knew nothing about.
9. Cultural Differences
Host families is the best way to see cultural differences big and small between Denmark and America. With my host family we are able to talk and learn about why things are done the way they are in each other countries. During the first week I remember having a fascinating conversation with my host dad and brother about the drinking/driving age difference and the reason behind them. While these types of conversations are possible (and do happen) with professors, you end up having more of them with you hosts. Thus broadening your perspective and understanding.
If your lucky your family will take you on outings such as visiting museums or shows. With my family I have seen lots of different museums and places I never would have found on my own. Some places include the beautiful beach and old fort near there house, along with the nearby castle, art museum, concerts, and more!
11. What does it mean to be American?
Not only do you learn more about Danish culture and traditions, I’ve found that I have learned more about American ones as well by finding the differences. One of the biggest things I have discussed over and over again with different Danes and my host family is Trump and guns. Especially with recent events in America involving gun control, I have been forced to think about the topic a little more closely when discussing it with others.
12. Commuting the Danish Way.
Traveling from your home stay to school is a unique experience. Yes, sometimes its can suck when your tired and just want to be home but you also get to experience something others are missing out on. Especially in Copenhagen, where commuting is a very normal thing for Danes. I’ve noticed that those living in home stays are much more likely to rent and use a bike in their commute. I personally use my bike almost everyday to bike to the train and then to school.
Host families are able to provide the comfort and support you might be missing when you real family is continents away. You have the chance to make meaningful relationships and lifelong connections. Plus, you never know when you might make plans to go back and want to grab dinner with them!