A homestay in China is one of the best ways to get immersed in the Chinese culture and gain a better understanding of Chinese people and their way of life.
The homestay accommodation is something we continuously recommend for students who come to learn Mandarin in China. It involves living with a Chinese host family, and since Chinese families tend to be small, you will find that it is quite comfortable and less awkward than you would have thought. You can expect to have your own bedroom; you will also have access to the kitchen and all appliances, bathroom and living room areas. This type of accommodation has proven to be particularly popular with students going for the Mandarin language program at Shanghai Jiaotong University and others.
Living with a Chinese host family requires one to be aware of the etiquette of homestay living. Some important points to remember are:
- Cleanliness: make sure you clean up after yourself, especially after using the shared areas and equipment; it is rude to expect your hosts to clean up behind you.
- Bring your own bathing cosmetics and towels
- Chinese are modest, please avoid any indecency and make sure you are always clothed to avoid making them feel uncomfortable
- Be considerate and avoid loud music, rowdy behavior and bringing people over.
- Although it is not mandatory, it might be nice to bring them a small gift from your home country.
Many past participants have mentioned that their host family would help them practice Chinese, if they had trouble with Chinese homework, they would have somebody willing to help and on the weekends some host family members will invite you to go out with them and help you get used to living in China. All these kind gestures, you are free to accept them.
Best of all, relax and enjoy your unique learning Chinese experience; it doesn’t come many times.