Putting the ‘Home’ in Homestay


Lindsay Robbins is a student at Towson University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA Service Learning in Cusco, Peru

The one thing that worried me the most, by far, about coming to Peru was the homestay. The thought of staying in the house of total strangers who don’t speak your native language can be very intimidating.  Walking up to my apartment in Cusco to meet my host mom, I was terrified; but now, as I write this blog post sitting on the couch in our living room, talking in Spanish with my host mom and house-mate, I’m wondering why I was ever scared in the first place. Here are a couple of reasons why staying in a homestay shouldn’t be scary at all.

  1. I was super worried about the food because I’m a picky eater, but honestly, I haven’t met a meal yet that I didn’t like. The food in Peru is amazing, and it’s all natural, which means it’s so much healthier! Not to mention, my host mom is like a magician in kitchen.
  2. You’ll learn so much more about your host country if you’re staying with locals. On our second night in Cusco, my host family took my housemate and I to Plaza de Armas. They gave us a tour, and told us all about the Incan architecture and history. At dinner, my host mom has been telling us legends about the Incas that have only been passed down by word of mouth. That’s something you could never learn from a book!
Our host family took us to the stunning Plaza de Armas at night!

Our host family took us to the stunning Plaza de Armas at night!

3. Your language skills will get so much better when you have to use them every day. My host mom doesn’t speak any English. My host dad can speak a little bit, but he prefers to speak to us in Spanish. I’ve only been here a little over a week, and I can already feel my Spanish improving.

4. Your host parents will care for you just like regular parents. My host parents are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. We go grocery shopping with them, we eat dinner with them, they always tell us to check in if our plans change so they don’t worry about us. Every morning, we are greeted with “buenas dias, has dormido bien?” along with a home cooked breakfast. It really makes me feel like I’m not a guest here, but I’m actually home. Not to mention, having someone to care for you and worry about you when you’re in a brand new, unfamiliar place makes it all seem a lot less scary.

Our homestay is comfortable and cozy, and feels just like a home away from home

Our homestay is comfortable and cozy, and feels just like a home away from home

So, if you’re considering a program, but are unsure about a homestay, take the risk! It more than likely will be an incredible, rewarding experience. I might be a bit biased, but I would recommend Cusco!

The world awaits…discover it.

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