Here in Paris, you have 2 primary housing options: living in a homestay or living at St. John’s University’s dormitory. From what I’ve seen on my program, the majority of students from Northwestern choose to live in a homestay in Paris. However, this may seem intimidating at first. Living in someone else’s home, someone who you have never met, having to follow their rules, and eating meals with them may sound potentially disastrous – now taking these circumstances and adding the fact that a language barrier may exist between you may have some people wondering why anyone would take such a risk.
There were a couple of reasons why I decided to live in a homestay. First, I wanted to learn the language. Although we are required to take French classes here, I knew that having to live with Parisians and interacting with them on a daily basis would ensure that I had ample practice using my French, however frustrating it may get. Second, I wanted to get insight into the daily lives of Parisians. Experiencing the more mundane aspects of daily life from cooking meals to commuting to work was something that I would not have been able to witness if I lived in the dorms. The last reason is the food! Living in a homestay gives you the option of dining with your host family every night. The opportunity to eat a home-cooked Parisian meal every night was an opportunity that I could not pass up!
So would I recommend living in a homestay? Absolutely! I love my host family. They have been incredibly welcoming, helpful, and ready to divulge any Paris-related knowledge. Living with my host family has provided me with insights into Paris that I know I wouldn’t have gotten without them. They’ve provided me with a supportive, cozy, and happy home to come back to every day.