You don’t have to stay in a dormitory or rent a flat when you are on an exchange programme in another country. This is costly especially if the programme lasts for a month or an entire semester. An alternative is to stay with host families in London if your programme is located in the city.
There are a lot of families that are willing to host exchange students like you. Of course, this is not an easy choice to make. At the back of your mind, you might be worried that you will be living with a family that is totally different from you. Their ways and means might not be the same as what you are used to. Most of all, you might fear for your safety considering that this is a family you have never met before.
Before you get overwhelmed with the idea of staying with a host family, you need to first realise that these families have been fully screened. They have to pass certain standards before they are allowed to host exchange students. They are also informed about their responsibilities. Before they are given this opportunity, they already have an idea of what needs to be done.
Some other families have hosted exchange program students before. They already know the protocol. They have also satisfied the students they have hosted.
Preparing yourself for the programme
The idea of staying with a host family is that you are given the opportunity to immerse yourself in local cultures and practices. You will know more about London if you are with a host family. You will also see the differences between your practices at home and with this new family. You can even apply what you have learned from this experience when the programme is over, and you are back home.
You just need to study their culture in advance. If possible, speak with them online and establish a good relationship prior to your arrival. This will make you feel more confident that everything will be fine the moment you arrive.
Once you are there, you will go through an adjustment phase. This will not be easy for you to deal with. There are a lot of changes you need to make. You also have to just follow what they say since you are staying with them for a certain period only.
Make the most of the experience
Staying in London on your own and discovering the city with a host family is a totally different experience. You will most likely enjoy being with a host family. If you need help, someone will be there for you. There are also some places that they know that you may not know if you are just travelling on your own. They will make sure that you can really see the best of London and the English culture. You will have a richer and fuller experience in this setup. In the end, though, it is up to you to make the most of the situation.