Homestays Will Improve Your Study Abroad Experience in Los Angeles

As you prepare your housing arrangements for your international student experience in southern California, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. With plentiful options across many vibrant neighborhoods and convenient suburbs—not to mention unfamiliarity with the language, currency, and customs—making a decision about where to stay can be pretty difficult.

Deciding to live and study in another country is a huge decision, and it’s important to do all the appropriate research to figure out not just where you’re going to study, but where and how you’re going to live. At LASC, our admissions managers and student representatives all do our best to help you find accommodations that suit you. If you’re a new student in Los Angeles and you don’t have friends or family to stay with, we strongly recommend homestay programs.

Homestay living involves moving into the home of an American host. The host(s) will be responsible for providing you with a place to live along with other amenities, depending on what you pay for. There are different types of hosts and different types of homes, so no two homestays are exactly alike. People choose to live in a homestay while studying abroad for a variety of reasons.

Benefits of a Homestay

Homestay programs are safe and convenient, and they will give students the opportunity to experience and learn about the lifestyle of an American home firsthand.

With a homestay, you can feel secure that there will be a family looking out for your well-being and that you have a place to call your own at the end of each day. Most homestay homes must meet standards set by agencies that employ them, and those standards are set by accrediting agencies in that field. If you stay with a homestay that works with an agency, you can be sure that the home is suitable for receiving international students.

Homestays are convenient as well. With a homestay, you’ll have a host to help you adjust to life in a new country. More importantly, you won’t have to deal with the complications of finding and paying for an apartment in a foreign country. Most homestays work with agencies that make the whole process very simple.

One thing is for certain: by living in a homestay, you’ll add a whole extra dimension to your study abroad experience. Not only will you get to study at your school of choice (hopefully LASC!), but you’ll also get to start and end each day with homestay hosts who will no doubt teach you and show you things that you’d never get from a classroom.

One LASC student who homestays described it this way: “After living with my homestay family for a couple of months, it feels like I have a second family. We get to learn a lot about each other’s cultures, and I feel like I get to have a really personal experience while studying in California.”

Types of a Homestays

Staying with a homestay is a terrific way to immerse yourself in American language and culture. Your homestay host(s) will treat you like a member of their family, and you’ll probably have many chances to get to know each other and talk about your day-to-day lives. You’ll get to cook and eat meals together, and it’s not uncommon for homestay host families to invite their homestay guests (you) to their family gatherings or other outings.

However, there are different family types and home types to be aware of. Staying in a single host homestay means that you’ll live with just one adult who maintains the home and accommodates you while you stay. Couple hosts are just like they sound: a couple (likely married) who host international students. Then there are family hosts, and of course, there are large families and small families, each with kids (and maybe pets!) of varying ages.

There are different home types as well. Couple hosts may live in an urban apartment in a bustling neighborhood. The large family hosts might live in a large suburban house with multiple bedrooms. Perhaps the single host lives in a condo near your school or college. No matter where you stay, you will have a private furnished room to yourself, but you will share other parts of the home. Private bathrooms, for example, might not be a guarantee depending on the home where you’re staying.

Homestay vs. Apartment

There are a lot of differences between living in an apartment versus living with a homestay family. Aside from the price of rent, there are other cost factors that international students need to consider. Aside from that, your day-to-day lifestyle will be different depending on where you want to stay.

To begin with, staying in a homestay is often less costly than people think. A studio apartment in Los Angeles will most likely not cost less than $1,500 per month. That may or may not include utility bills (water, electricity, internet, etc.), and it definitely does not include meals. Most international students will rent an apartment for one year or six months at a time, and they’re a good option for people who prefer more independence and privacy.

On the other hand, a good homestay will likely cost you from $1000 per month for a “complete” homestay. Complete means that you’ll receive accommodation, three meals per day, and transportation to and from your academic institution (i.e. language school, high school, college, university, etc.).

Prices will vary further depending on the location and the types of services provided by the host family. You can usually pay an extra fee for airport pickup and drop-off, for example, or you might pay a different monthly rate if you have a private bathroom versus a shared bathroom. Other things that can affect the cost are the number of meals you receive per day at your homestay as well as the neighborhood and the type of house in which you’ll stay. All things considered, you can see how homestays can be an attractive option for international students looking for affordable housing in Los Angeles!

Every homestay is different, however, so it’s important to find out what kind of services will be provided, what kinds of expectations the hosts will have, whether meals are included, where the homestay is located, whether the rooms and bathrooms are shared or not, whether the hosts will provide transportation to and from school, and so on.

As far as lifestyle goes, there’s obviously a big difference between living in an apartment and living in a homestay. Your homestay hosts will let you know the rules of their home, which you will be expected to follow. For example, you might be expected to always return home by a certain time unless you ask for permission ahead of time.

Homestays and LASC

Every student representative at LASC works closely with homestay agencies or with host families directly in an effort to offer the best possible housing solutions to our students. They can help you decide if a homestay is right for your study abroad experience and point you in the right direction to make sure that everything is taken care of ahead of your arrival in California.

Are you planning to study English in California soon? Whether it’s a part of your long-term goal to move on to an American university or you just want to improve your English while you take a vacation, a homestay can be a major enhancement to your international study plans. Give us a call today to learn how our school can help you achieve the success you’re aiming for.