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Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

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Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby Shiroisan » Sat 07.23.2011 3:48 am

Yo. I'm studying in Japan next year at a language institution, and for accomodations they support both Dormitory life, and Homestay with a Japanese family. Which would you choose if you were in my situation?

On the one hand, Homestay would give me a very rare inside-look at what it's really like to be a part of an authentic Japanese family for a while. It would allow my language skill to probably go through the roof as well, considering it would be day AND night, all Japanese. They'd surely be there to look out for me, and would be able to answer any question I could ever possibly have about Japan, the language, or the culture. They're supposed to cook for you too!

On the other hand, the dormitories would give me the freedom to explore, study, or do whatever I want to do in the land of the rising sun at my leisure. This would surely be the less smothered-like option. Another plus would be being able to hang out with other students from the school, being able to go out together without a huge transportation hassle (same departure point), and could make new friends in the common room.

Another thing to note is that homestay programs usually only lasts 3 months out of your time there anyways, and then you'll be put in the dormitories after that time is up.


So... what would you do? The financial costs are roughly the same, except homestay is slightly more (probably for the cost of the food they'll be cooking for you).
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby phreadom » Sat 07.23.2011 7:10 am

I think if you're going to end up in the dorms in the end anyway, I'd at least try the homestay option so that I could experience both.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby Jatznic » Sun 07.24.2011 9:24 pm

If you are going to be there long enough I would do both. I attended an institute called Yamasa while I was living in Japan and choose the dormitory option. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you homestay you have be VERY respectful of the rules set forth by your host family. This can pose any number of restrictions on what you can and cannot do. The major advantage to that is the ability to have one of the best resources for study available to you all the time.

The dorm life is also a wonderful option. You have far more freedom, and if you are in a similar situation to what I was in, you will make many new friends from many nations to tool around Japan with. Most dorms still have rule sets, but they are far less stringent than you would find in a homestay situation. Once you get past the restrictions presented on either side, it really comes down to how you study. If you can learn easier from books and classes, the dorm may be the better choice. If you are a more hands on learner, I would definitely go with the homestay.

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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby ZukoT » Tue 09.06.2011 5:51 pm

The homestay option gives you all the advantages you mentioned plus it gives you a better picture of what it is like to live in Japan. Tourists behave much more differently than citizens in what they eat and what they do. I would do both. I think you'll have plenty of time to explore Japan and see everything.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby Mikkabozu » Sat 10.08.2011 8:27 am

When I was getting ready to do a study abroad, the head of the Japanese Program at my university suggested that I avoid all contact with foreigners during my stay in Japan. I took his advice, lived with a Japanese family for the year, and only hung out with Japanese friends.

I can say that my Japanese progressed far beyond the level of my classmates who did dormitory stays and spent a lot of time tooling around town with other foreigners. And I really believe it was because I immersed myself while I was here.

These days, I live with my Japanese wife and my kids (who speak very little English, sadly), hanging out with Japanese friends and family, and my Japanese is well above that of my acquaintances and co-workers who are touring around Japan with other English-speaking friends (Japanese or otherwise). In fact, I've known people who have been here for years, and still cannot manage basic Japanese.

So, from my experience, if your goal is to learn Japanese, then the homestay is my suggestion.

But, if you are only looking at having fun here for a couple of months and then going back home, the dormitory is probably your best bet. Being with other foreigners can help out a lot - you have no pressure to speak Japanese and can enjoy Japan together as non-natives. You all know where the other is coming from and can create a great support network.

At the same time, that 'English Bubble' is not going to help you learn Japanese in any way, shape or form (forgive the cliche).

I think it really depends on what your true aim is in being here in Japan.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby Shiroisan » Sat 10.08.2011 7:04 pm

Mikkabozu wrote:I think it really depends on what your true aim is in being here in Japan.


I think you hit the nail on the head there, I've been questioning myself about that for some time. Just how far am I wanting to go down the rabbit hole? Do I want to make a life over there? I really can't say for certain. The only thing I do know is that I want Japan and it's culture to somehow become a part of the rest of my life.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby KyleSmith » Mon 04.22.2013 3:45 am

Homestay nowadays are getting better experience. I've tried different homestay on my travel experiences and its pretty amazing. I get to know different people from different races.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby baskerville » Fri 08.23.2013 12:32 pm

Hi KyleSmith, which sites do you use to find homestay families? I'm interested in doing a homestay for my next trip for a different experience. Do you use Couchsurfing? Thanks!
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby vividlion » Sun 01.05.2014 5:34 am

Shiroisan wrote:
Mikkabozu wrote:I think it really depends on what your true aim is in being here in Japan.


I think you hit the nail on the head there, I've been questioning myself about that for some time. Just how far am I wanting to go down the rabbit hole? Do I want to make a life over there? I really can't say for certain. The only thing I do know is that I want Japan and it's culture to somehow become a part of the rest of my life.



Hi Shiroisan,

I think if you want Japan and it's culture to become part of the rest of your life then you will know in your heart for sure when you actually go there, I think living with a Japanese authentic family should answer that question for you with some good solid experience in living there, I myself feel the same way about Japan, I love the food, women and anime, not to mention the art, the city lights and the traditions in some regions.

I think you'll find the answer after you get your feet wet. Maybe you can do some searching while you're with your homestay family. Once you got a feel for what you want then you will know what to do.
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Re: Should I Homestay with a family or go Dormitory?

Postby loveinjapanese2014 » Tue 03.04.2014 6:43 am

I chose to live with a homestay family and it has been an amazing experience! I have my own room, get fed 2 meals a day and get a chance to practice my japanese in a casual setting. I love my host family because they show me little tid-bits of what japanese home life is like. Something that many foreigners do not get a chance to see. I have found very few downsides to living with my host family the only major one being how expensive it is to travel to and from school. Some friends who live at other homes do not have internet access and during the summer they may not get an A/C unit to cool their room down.

While I don’t live at the dorms I have many friends who do and I get a taste of what they experience instead. They get fed the same amount of meals per day but the most common complaint is the quality of the food is not always the greatest. They get their own room with internet access and A/C. A downside (or upside) is that there are other english speakers nearby so you are able to be more social. The dorms are also better located in terms of transportation. The commuting train ride may be a bit longer but the cost is lower since it is on a different train line.

There are things that both places have, so one should not fret too much over them. Curfew is important for the dorms for safety but the trains around Tokyo stop running at midnight anyways so if you did not catch the last train home you would be out of luck. While some dorms enforce their curfew rules more than others they are still rules that should be respected and followed whenever possible. Both living at a dorm and with a host family will not hinder ones social life because in Japan most of the entertainment is done away from home. So partying at the dorm or at a friends house is not very common.
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