A homestay is very similar to a study abroad program or is known as another form of tourism. The idea behind the homestay concept is to have someone come and stay or rent a room in a home in a foreign country and live with a local family. By living with a local family, one would be able to learn the language better and understand the lifestyle of the country better than by coming and staying in a hotel. The homestay concept is becoming very popular in some countries around the world and has proven to be very helpful economically for the families who are willing to rent out a room in their home. This thought process used to only be done by students but is growing in popularity among various age groups.
There are definitely pros and cons of a homestay. Some of the pros of a homestay include being able to really delve into the culture and lifestyle of the country by living with a family. There is also is a reduced cost by staying in a home versus having to pay for a long term rental or hotel stay. Some homestay programs will be even more cost efficient since the host family will pay for all the expenses other than the rent for the room. The host family benefits by having an increased income and by learning more about the culture of the student or individual that is staying with them. The cons of a homestay are the possibility of not getting along with the family that one is renting a room from or not enjoying the culture of the country. The family might not have the best interest of the student or homestay guest in mind and this could result in conflicts.
Arrangement for a homestay really varies but there are a few main resources if one is interested. One place to look is at the various online homestay agencies. These agencies help match up individuals and families in countries and usually come with recommendations of past guests in homes and success rates. Many schools or educational institutions will help facilitate and coordinate these type of exchange programs as well. It is always best to do research before signing a contract for a these type of programs in order to ensure the best experience possible.