Name: Jonathan M. Munsterteiger
Major: Communications/Asian Studies
Semester: Spring 2020
A typical day while doing a homestay?
The typical day is about what you might expect as a full time student; Wake up and eat breakfast with the host family before catching the train to school. If class went late then sometimes dinner was eaten separately, but generally, I would be back in time to sit down and share a meal together. I would often do homework in the living room, part of this was to try to spend time with my host family, but it was helpful for when I would get stuck on difficult problems as well!
Picking a favorite meal would be an injustice to all of the wonderful cooking that my host parents provided. Though a definite highlight was one night when we went out to get conveyor sushi. So delicious!
We went down to a festival hosted at the local tennis club that my host family are a part of and I got to try my hand at pounding fresh mochi!
Every day was great. Many of my favorite memories were the simple moments such as relaxing after a long day of classes with some green tea and mochi and watching NHK TV with my host parents.
A challenge you faced and how you dealt with it
I think the most obvious challenge is communication. My Japanese reading and writing comprehension is much stronger than my speaking ability so it was often hard to accurately speak my thoughts to my host family.
How has this experience changed you?
I left the homestay experience not only with an intimate knowledge of day to day Japanese life that I would never have gotten before, but also a greater interest in Japanese culture that has motivated me to continue my studies of the language.
I think you would be a fool not to do it. If you are serious about learning more about the culture that you are studying in then there is no better option. It was incredibly rewarding and the only downside is that it was over too quickly.