Living with a Host Family
The Teaching Assistant Experience Programme offers the volunteer the amazing opportunity to live with a local host family who belong to the partner school's community , where they have their children. They live in safe and nice areas, and are carefully recruited and screened by VolunTeach Peru.
Families eagerly take part as volunteers’ hosts due to the cultural and English-learning benefits the programme will bring to their children at home when living with a native speaker of this language, not as a tutor but as another real member of the family.
If you do Spanish or Latin American Studies at university, this can be as beneficial as it is to the host families. Unlike other Spanish speaking countries where people can understand English and then use it with you at home or even in the streets, Peru is not really a place where we speak English at all. A win-win situation for all parties involved!
In the case of non-Spanish speakers, don´t worry! They are allocated with host families where at least one of the parents and also the children are able to communicate in English with the volunteer at home.
THE BENEFITS OF LIVING WITH A PERUVIAN HOST FAMILY
Learn and understand the Peruvian culture: It will help you to understand the good and not so god cultural aspects with empathy and a more local eye.
Feel you are another family member: Hoat Families actually CARE about you. They will treat you as another family member.
Receive love, care and support from them: Just as in a real family environment, caring means also to provide children with love and support,
Discover the city with a local perspective: Host families may show you more of the city than tour guides can do and give you their recommendations for whatever you need to do, visit, find or try whilst living in Peru.
Live in a safe place: Host families recruited by VolunTeach Peru live in houses that fully meet sanitary conditions. Although unexpected circumstances could happen, we allocate volunteers in as safe and nice neighbourhoods as possible.
Practice and improve your Spanish every day: It is definitely the best part if you are a student of Spanish. Although children would like to improve their English, parents, grandparents (who sometimes also live in the houses) as well as the extended family relatives, usually do not speak English. This is a brilliant scenario if you would like to speak Spanish every day.
However, a lot of your own initiative and willingness is necessary to learn and speak in Spanish every day. If you are not a communicative and people person, if you rather to just give "yes" and "no" answer, then your chances to practice your Spanish will be considerably reduced.
Build your confidence: Confidence is determinant when it comes to learn a second language. Living with a host family will help you to build your confidence to speak in Spanish and practice it stress-free, avoiding the fear to make mistakes in a friendly home environment.
You will try all the Peruvian food as possible: The best Peruvian food is made by Peruvians. Why not trying it at home with your host family? If there is a chance, they may also take you to a local restaurant to try it.
Make lifelong friends: Don't lose the hope to see your host family again someday. You can always come back to visit or they can travel to you, so don´t lose the contact and start and lifelong friendship with them.
At last but not least, it is cheaper! YES. Living in Peru and in nice neighbourhoods can be expensive, even more if you are in Lima where room prices could be as expensive as living in the UK or the USA. Your host family will cover you with accommodation. On top that, meals ar also covered by them.
In most of the cases host families houses have wifi, and also a laundry you can use once a week. They can offer transport to school in the morning with their children, invitations to have dinner or lunch at restaurants and occasionally even to travel with them during the schools holidays.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LIVING WITH A HOST FAMILY AND MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THEM.
GET INVOLVED! Avoid staying in your room by yourself. Take part in the host families events as a big brother or sister. Although parents usually work hard on the weekdays, they spend good quality time with their children on the weekends. Weekends are then perfect opportunity to interact and have fun with them.
Attend family meals: An interesting cultural fact about Peru is that we love to eat and that we love to see people eating the food we made for them. We demonstrate our love by feeding our children and guests. Family meals are rich in family time too. Traditionally, families like to eat breakfast and dinner all together at the table. Perfect time for chatting about the day had at school and work.
Be nice and polite: Mind your manners. Say hello, thank you and goodbye every time.
Be flexible to food differences: Kindly, feel free to tell your host family about what you like and don't like. Be flexible, bare in mind food won't be as at your home country.
Take your time for adaptation: Adaptation is a process which could take some time. As a process you need to be patient until you find Peru as your new home and get used to the food, the language, neighbourhood and family.
Consider some time to speak to their children regularly: The main reason why host families apply to the programme is because they would like their children can also practice their English at home with the volunteer; not as a tutor but through natural daily interaction with you at home. Depending on the age and English level of the children, we are happy to give you some ideas on how to do this.
Join their activities and family plans on the weekends: Let your host family to get to know you well. The weekends are perfect for eating out, visiting new places, meeting the extended family relatives or just to chat with them!
Meet the extended family relatives: Meet the uncles, aunts, cousins, family's close friends and other relatives that can be your age. Meeting people of your age will help you to socialize and ample your chances to go out and explore more.
Stay in touch: The best you can do when living with a host family is to tell your whereabouts every time you go out. Make sure you tell them where you are going, who you are going with and what time you will return back. It is just a safety measurement in case of an emergency and to avoid causing any stress to the family.
ENJOY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN: Living with a Peruvian host family is a rewarding experience. Remember that you are not alone, we are a team and we will hold your back. it is temporary, enjoy every minute of it.