Staying with a host family when studying overseas is a great option for many international students. Nawras, our DCU and Omani Ambassador couldn’t be happier with her choice of accommodation…

One of the most biggest things international students struggle with upon arrival in Ireland is accommodation. This could be due to budget issues or just their inability to find a place similar to home. However, with the never-ending kindness of the Irish, and their willingness to open their homes, one of the the best solution is to live with a host family. From a personal and utterly honest experience, I must say that when I first heard that I will be living with a family, I nearly changed my mind! Nevertheless, everything changed the moment I arrived, here I am, after four years, still with my Irish mammy! So what are the main advantages of living with a family? Here are four reasons that spring to my mind…

  1. it’s cheap in comparison to other accommodation options
  2. Irish people are friendly and welcoming
  3. it’s a great opportunity to improve your English language skills
  4. and to learn more about Irish culture and traditions

Let me elaborate…first things first — living with a host is going to save you a lot of money. The bills are included within the rent, and with some families food may be included too! Secondly, we all have a consensus on is how friendly the Irish people are — they truly make you feel at home, and they will indulge you with their sweetness and generosity. By the end of your stay, you will probably have a second family that will stay in your heart and mind forever. Thirdly, living with native English speakers is the ultimate opportunity to improve your English language and accent and although communication may be hard for some students in the beginning, the difficulties will fade away soon. This option is definitely the best if your intention of moving into Ireland is to learn English. Finally, living with a host family is the perfect way to learn about Irish culture and traditions. Perhaps, one of the best occasions where you will feel Irish is St. Patrick’s Day. Also, this will be your chance to inform your Irish family more about your culture and your country. Bear in mind, not everyone will have an idea about your home and the chance to exchange culture is one that shouldn’t be missed.

So, are there any downsides I hear you ask? There are some factors that you should take into consideration when choosing to live with a family. Your private space is usually limited to your room, as other living spaces are shared meaning you should always make sure that you keep the shared place clean and tidy hen using. Secondly, every family has their rules (as is the case everywhere), so you should always respect them and appreciate that the family has opened their home to you. I am aware that this option doesn’t always go well for some students nonetheless, this experience often turns out to be amazing for many. If I could go back in time and was asked whether I would like to live with a family or not, I would definitely say yes! I have learnt a lot of things over the past four years and opened my mind to different cultures and opinions but most importantly, I know that I will end my experience with unforgettable memories of my Irish family.