Memories of Japan
Home Stay Families
By: Erin OíConnell
Home Stay families or as they are also known as host families. When our Barrie Youth Ambassadors went to visit Murayama Japan this summer we met many interesting people. We met families from many different economic backgrounds, from another culture new and similar from ours. Our group was a total of 14 people, 2 chaperones and 12 students. Each of us was paired up with a partner around or close to our own age. We were paired up according to our talents and our interests and personalities.
Throughout our home stay time covered 7 days and nights. We stayed in their homes, ate with them and, got up and went to bed when our families did. We experienced the Japanese culture and language in a family environment different to the one we have back home in Canada. What ever our families did on a regular basis we did with them, such as going grocery shopping, going out for dinner, having family barbeque or just going out for a drive.
During out home stay experiences, we would communicate with our families trying to get to know and learn all about their culture. Many of our home stays family members other then our partners did not speak very much English. Even so when you are staying with people you trust. That only speak a small amount of English, you start to understand what they are saying in Japanese. You try to help them with their English as well as learn some Japanese yourself.
During our stay in Japan we had a free day when we could stay with our family, having the whole day together. On this day we spent time with our families and learned about their interests and more about their way of life. It was a day to really get to know the people if your home stay family and get to have time to interact with them more then just in the morning when you get up and after your day trips everyday.
During my stay in Murayama Japan I would have to say I enjoyed my home stay experience the most. I loved my family and welcomed everything they had to teach me about their way of life and enjoyed answering their questions about life in Barrie. I loved learning something new everyday with my home stay father. My home stay mother always made the best meals and was a very good cook. She was very generous with her time , driving me around Murayama.
My partner was more like a friend then a partner and by the end of my stay with my home stay family she was more like the sister I never had. The more time we spent with our families the more attached we became. Some of the delegates from our group didnít want to leave. Spending with our home stay families became like a way of life after a week, and it began to feel so natural to be in Murayama and with our families.
My home stay family made me feel like a part of their family and , I almost forgot that I lived in Canada a few times. At one point I did not want to leave my home stay family, because I felt so at home in Murayama Japan. Everybody we met was so friendly and welcoming towards us. The most important part of our trip to Japan was to experience another culture in a family situation. I think we all grew as individuals and as friends as a result of this experience.