Minutes before I enter the doors of my “home”, numerous thoughts run through my head. How much personality do I show? What questions do I ask? How do I keep a conversation going? There’s no book or website that can actually tell you how to: sit, how to act, how to eat, or how to talk when you enter the doors of the home stay. So here I am, carrying a gigantic suitcase up her tall staircase. As we reach the top, she snatches my suitcase  so quick and tells me to lay down and take a nap. She throws a huge cover on my body to tuck me in. She tells me she doesn’t want me to be “scary” or “shy.” At this moment the ice between her and I began to slowly break. After dinner, my stomach gets sooo huge and I get very tired. She says in the cutest little voice “oh you’re pregnant!” and we start laughing so hard that ten houses down could hear us laughing. Each morning is like waking up in my own bed at home, and it’s the most heart warming thing. She tells me that she wants my “heart to smile” and not just see me physically smiling. She gives me gifts and waits for me every evening on her porch. “She is my grandma away from home” I tell myself. Being worried and scared in the beginning are things my host family and I laugh at together, because now, we sit and laugh about how my fake boyfriend is not allowed to come over at night (she made him up). Now, I’m on my last 3 days and she told me this morning that I was her “favorite out of all her students” and at this, we both were smiling on the inside and out. This has been a true adventure and she’s been the icing on the cake. We get each other in the funniest way and by the way her omelets are the BEST. The best tip I can give is to come in her home fully open and ready to receive a bundle of love and joy from Amala’s heart,be yourself and show your flaws they don’t expect you to be perfect they expect you to feel comfortable and apart of the family enjoy each moment of the home stay because it will be the best moments to tell your family when you get home it might not be perfect and things might happen but it’s a great experience – Kay’Nicole

Going into a home stay is very nerve wracking for anyone in The Experiment. On my way to McLeodGanj, I had mixed emotions on what my home-stay was going to be like. I was excited to spend time with a family and a culture that I have never been part of. I was nervous because I didn’t want to make a bad first impression. The only thing that calmed me down was the reassurance that I had Kay by my side since we were with the same host family. Sure hotels were fun to stay in, but I wanted to have the sensation of family love and being at home. As I arrived to the club house, I saw Tibetan moms waiting for us at the entrance. I was wondering which one was my home stay mom. As I got down from the car, I heard Archna calling my name. She was standing next to the cutest lady I’ve ever seen. She introduced me to
Amala. Amala quickly grabbed my hands and I felt the sense of love. As we walked down to our home, Amala kept on grabbing on to me because she was scared to fall down. I was so happy that I could help her. As we entered the house, she told me that I reminded her of her daughter. She told us about how she got us new mattresses, blankets, and a new Western toilet so we could’ve felt at home. I feel so honor to be in Amala‘s home. Every morning, she wakes us up with homemade omelets, toast, and chai. She is always making us laugh by cracking jokes. I love sitting in the balcony with her as we watch the people pass by and she makes her scarfs and hats. She is the grandma I always wish I had. – Silvia