Homestay v. dorm v. single occupancy apartment

<p>I am looking for advice about where my D should stay to study abroad for 5 weeks. The costs are roughly: </p>

<p>Dorm (single room with shared bathroom): $700
Single occupancy apartment: $900
Homestay (single room, shared bathroom, breakfast and dinner): $1200</p>

<p>Safety is one of my concerns. Thanks for any advice you can give!</p>

<p>If money is not a concern, a homestay will be the most rewarding (and the most challenging) living situation. If she is open-minded and flexible, willing to learn to do things a different way, and RE-learn the most simple things like washing clothes or the dishes, then she probably won't have a problem with her family. Most study abroad providers do a decent job at screening host-family applicants and providing them information about what to expect of their host-students. And in the case of any serious conflict, most study abroad providers will help move the student into another living situation. [Thought that might be an important question to ask your program-- how they would help handle things if a conflict arose in a host-family situation]</p>

<p>Otherwise, I think a dorm would be better than an apartment. Study abroad can be lonely if you don't have a social network to rely on, and a dorm is more likely to facilitate that for her than an apartment setting. </p>

<p>Where is she studying abroad, if you don't mind me asking?</p>

<p>Thanks for your response!</p>

<p>She will be studying abroad in Berlin.</p>

<p>I agree that an apartment seems like the worst choice. I am concerned about the homestay option. The sponsoring organization's website says nothing about how homestay hosts are selected or what the options are if the host family doesn't work out. Locations of the homestay homes aren't given to the students until after they've paid (other than ...somewhere in Berlin). Even the parent handbook says nothing that allows a parent to evaluate the homestay option.</p>

<p>I know someone who studied German in an immersion course in which part of the program included staying with a German family. The family didn't speak to him other than to greet him (and he had "Guten Morgan" down pat before he entered the program.) That isn't the worst fate, but it negates the benefit of a homestay.</p>

<p>I did a homestay in France where the host families were required to give us breakfasts and 5 dinners a week - and it sounds like this is similar, as meals are included - and that makes all the difference in the world, I think. If a family is agreeing to sit down with your daughter most nights a week for dinner, chances are they're also interested in getting to know her. I didn't see my host parents much during the day or on weekends because we were all doing our own things, but every weeknight after classes I would have dinner with my host mother (my host father worked in another city during the week) and we'd talk about our days. It was awesome - I got to speak a lot of French and she and I got to know one another very well. </p>

<p>Even if they don't say how, I'm sure the program screens their host families - and I'm sure they have contingency plans in place for if it doesn't work out. My program had a few families in reserve and at least one was used when somebody had an unexpected pet allergy. Nearly everybody I knew had a really great experience with their host families. It's such a great learning opportunity and it lets you see so much more of a country's culture.</p>

<p>I lived in an apartment in Italy with two other study abroad students for a semester. Our apartment was the only American-occupied apartment in a building of Italians. While I personally LOVED having an apartment, I can say with confidence that if I had been living alone I would not have like it at all! Home-stays were not an option in my program, but even if they had been I am not sure I would have chosen one for an entire semester... but only because that's a long time to live with a family if it turns out you don't get along. I think in your daughter's case, 5 weeks with a family could be a really wonderful experience, and definitely the best option among the three you listed.</p>

<p>It's 5 weeks, so it doesn't matter too much - I'm sure she'll have a great vacation either way.</p>

<p>Not all homestays are created equal. I was put in a home with an elderly lady. She wouldn't allow me in the kitchen. The tv was in her bedroom. I saw her at breakfast and dinner. I was in France and was never served wine, cheese or even French bread - only sliced, American bread. I was hungry most of the time. A couple of the other students were also in homes where they were quite hungry. One made an official complaint and things improved a bit. However, a few of the other students were placed with wonderful families who interacted with them, took them out to dinner, had guests into the home and fed them well. My niece studied abroad for a year with an entirely different program and she was placed with a wonderful family who treated her like another daughter. I would suggest making inquiries and trying to get feedback from students who previously used this program. If it's a good situation, a homestay would be most educational. If not, a dorm would probably be best for 5 weeks.</p>