Homestay Blog – by Njari
Our home stay was full of rained out activities which led to a lot of improvising on the leaders’ part, lots of bugs, foreign food and cold showers, but most importantly fun. We had an amazing time in the village and with our individual host parents! We were welcomed into the tight-knit community with open arms and are the first day or two of getting comfortable and settled in with our families, we all fell in love with them.
The most rewarding part of this homestay experience was teaching the little kids, some of them our homestay siblings, at the school down the street from the village. We taught kids from grades 1-6 topics ranging from colors to numbers and even duck-duck-goose. We were able to understand these kids’ appreciation for education just by spending a day in the classroom with them.
Lastly, the most adventurous part of our trip was most definitely swimming at the waterfall. We took tractors through the forests of our village and walked about a half mile to uncover a beautiful waterfall accompanied by a natural pool. We swam with our host siblings and even Lulu the dog! This was a magical day because we all become so much closer to each other, our leaders, and even our siblings
My homestay experience – by Jasmin
The thought of living with a whole new family in a different country was enough to make me an emotional mess. I kept my sanity by reminding myself that each experimenter was paired with a compatible family. The sole thing that made me forget my prior anxiety and led to the immense warming of my heart was hearing my host mom say my name with a smile the second she recognized me. I admit there was awkwardness lingering in the air as she drove us home, but it didn’t last long. The instant I reached my destination in a small village named Ban Mae Bon, I made myself feel at home, got familiar with my new surroundings, met my entire family, and received a delicious meal. A couple of days later, my host mom asked me through an online translator whether she should visit America, so I placed a finger on my lips to signal a secret and responded that I’d take her hidden in my suitcase if she did plan on visiting. We started laughing together and that’s when I knew I’d cherish that moment forever because it made me realize that there will be initial struggles such as language barriers that would limit verbal communication, but we will, nonetheless, find a way to survive and make amazing memories.