Un grand merci to Sophia Pho-Tung for writing this blog to share her experience living with a host family!
Welcome to Toulouse : Homestay in the Pink City!
As the second week of CIEE Toulouse comes to an end, I would like to reflect on one of my
favorite parts of my experience in the program so far, my homestay! I entered this program as a
fourth - year French student who felt confident with speaking academically, but I think that
staying with my host family has allowed me to speak more authentically and gain confidence in
my ability to communicate with others: I have practiced as much French with my host family as I
would have in weeks of school. Living in a homestay has challenged me to learn by speaking
the most French possible, even when I’m out of my comfort zone.
My host family !
On a normal day in the program, I start my day by having breakfast and talking with my host
father. I’ve found that one of my favorite times of day in Toulouse is the morning, because
everything is calm and I get the chance to start my day by having a conversation in French.
During the school day, we compare our schedules and make a plan for what the day is going to
look like over text, but recently we’ve also been having more fun with it: sometimes, I receive
pictures of our cat or other media related to a conversation we had earlier. When I get back from
school, I usually spend time with my host brothers: whether it be swimming in the pool, watching
TV, or just having a conversation about our days. At night when we all have dinner together, it’s
an opportunity for the family to reconnect, and we often spend time just talking after we’re
finished eating. It’s through these times and conversations throughout the day that I think I’m
learning the most French :)
Sometimes, my host family teaches me in other ways: we’ve gone on many excursions to
historical sites, and attended multiple celebrations for Bastille Day. My host family has been
exceptionally welcoming and friendly, and are always more than willing to help me or explain
something new. Generally, I feel that I’ve been learning French just by being engaged with
whatever’s happening : whether it be helping to prepare a meal, watching a movie with subtitles,
or just asking how somebody’s day went.
The places that I’ve been with my host family !
I’ve been so lucky to get to live with a family that is so welcoming and accommodating, and I
think that my homestay has contributed the most to improving my French speaking skills and
navigating a new country. I’m grateful for the time spent in the pool with my host brothers,
dancing with my host mother, breakfast conversations with my host father, and wait to spend
more time with them over the next couple weeks.