Living with a Japanese family is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Other housing accommodations might have their merits, but if you’re looking to dive deep and experience the native lifestyle, homestay is for you.
Average homestay rent ranges between ￥80,000 ~￥100,000 a month in urban areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya. Rent usually includes electricity, internet, water, maintenance, and meal fees. A deposit or registration fee is also often required. If students receive a key to the home and lose it for some reason, they will be expected to pay for a replacement as well.
Length of Stay
Students coming to Japan for a college interview or to take an exam like the JLPT may only stay a few days. On the other hand, students enrolled full time or studying abroad at Japanese universities will stay much longer. Homestay is convenient because accommodation can be arranged for both short and long periods of time. Dormitories and private apartments tend to have strict contracts that are non-negotiable, making it hard for students to customize the length of their stay. Choosing to homestay gives students the chance to directly discuss their agreement with the family that they will be living with. Obviously, not all terms are negotiable, but students can customize their living situation in ways that would be impossible in other accommodations.
Meeting Your Needs
Host families are generally very accepting. As long as their way of life does not interfere with the rules of the household, students’ freedoms are fully respected. Important to note – curfews are commonly enforced and are expected to be followed. Living with a family, especially one with children, includes respecting the needs of all members of the house. This can be seen as a negative aspect of homestay, but there are plenty of benefits as well.
For example, many hosts are willing to provide meals that meet their guests’ allergic, religious, or preferential dietary restrictions. Students can rest assured that they will be able to enjoy home-made meals with their host family comfortably. Families are also known to invite students to outings or events. These are great opportunities for students to develop a good relationship with their hosts while practicing Japanese language and learning customs. Joining in on family activities can also allow students to venture out of their comfort zone by trying new things like traditional foods or cultural practices. If students face any unresolvable problems with their host families, the service that they used to arrange their homestay will usually find a different family free of charge.
Spending quality time with a host family enables students to strengthen their linguistic and cultural knowledge of Japan. Choosing to homestay will deeply engage students with Japanese customs and teach them invaluable lessons guaranteed to be found nowhere else. The homestay experience is extremely advantageous not only for students but also to the families that host them. By living together, all members of the household can mutually teach and learn about one another’s cultures. This entertaining and informative cultural exchange can foster special relationships that cross borders and last lifetimes. Living with a host family can add priceless treasures to students’ process of learning about Japan.
Feature image: https://www.homestay.com/blog/2017/10/18/first-time-in-japan