Homestay Profiles

"Living with a  host family gave me a chance to truly experience Oman.  My hosts treated me like a daughter and included me in all family activities.  The homestay provided insights and experiences that have shaped my perspective on both the country and region as a whole, and I was able to better appreciate my time in the Middle East as a result."

—Stephanie Brockman, Yale University

Homestay mothers

Through a homestay, students become a member of a family and share in its daily life. This opportunity facilitates cultural immersion, helps develop further language skills and provides a context for academic learning. Students frequently cite the homestay as a highlight of the semester.

Many programs offer more than one homestay, sometimes in both urban and rural areas, to provide a comparative view of family life. Brief rural homestays, particularly in developing countries, may expose students to settings with basic living conditions, frequently without electricity and running water.

Homestay placements are arranged by a local homestay coordinator who screens and approves each family. Families vary in occupational, educational and economic levels and live in diverse neighborhoods, towns and rural settings. Families include one or more adults and may or may not include children.

Students are matched first and foremost based on health requirements and then on program match. Because we want to provide the best matches possible, SIT does not necessarily provide homestay family information prior to the start of the program.

The success of the homestay experience depends largely on each student’s willingness to adapt as an active family member. While the homestay can be challenging in many ways, it leads to greater connection and cultural understanding. Academic Directors and homestay coordinators provide space for students to voice questions or concerns throughout the program, and in most cases, students are able to work out any misunderstandings directly with homestay families.

When not living with a homestay family, students stay in lodgings chosen under the guidance of the Academic Director. Accommodations may include guest houses, educational institutions, hostels or small hotels, depending on local conditions and customs.