From Taiwan to the UK: living with a local family
Studying abroad brings about new opportunities and adventures.
We met with Hsin-Tzu from Taiwan, who studies at INTO Manchester. She describes why living with a host family, while studying abroad, helped her settle into a new environment.
Who do you live with?
I live with my ‘host-mother’ Tina and her daughter, who is eighteen and currently studying at university.
Why did you choose to live with a local family?
Last year my friend studied abroad and she lived in student accommodation. She said it can limit your opportunities to speak English when you only live with other international students. It can be all too easy to end up speaking your own language and not much English.
She said that I would meet more local people if I stayed with a family, and would also benefit from being immersed within the local culture. It’s been a good experience living here and learning about English culture from Tina.
What were your first impressions of your new home?
I felt secure and Tina provided all the food and daily necessities. I have my own room to relax in and I can use any of the facilities in the house.
The train station is only a 5-minute walk away and it’s a 15-minute journey to my study centre. I can play on my phone and use apps to learn English, utilising my time as much as I can.
Are there any differences from living in Taiwan?
There is a clear difference between residential and city areas in Manchester – in Taiwan, there aren’t any differences, it all looks the same. Living in a residential area is quiet – which is good for studying. Everything is good here.
I don’t speak English at home in Taiwan, so my conversational English has improved a lot since living here.
How do you get along with Tina?
We get along well. She cooks dinner for me, and we use that time to chat and catch up on the day. I have eaten hot pot, fish cake with peas, and pasta.
The main food I’ve eaten is potatoes, which is something I do not eat in Taiwan.
How has Tina supported you?
When I first arrived, Tina drove me around the local area to show me where I was living. There are a lot of shops nearby, restaurants, a cinema, and a post office. When I’m not familiar with things, Tina helps me.
She helps me choose the right things to wear during winter, and if I have any questions about English culture I know I can ask her. She’s also very helpful when it comes to resolving issues with my grammar and vocabulary for my university work.
Is there anything surprising about English culture?
It seems, where ever I go, I always get asked if I would like a cup of tea, and tea is always drunk with milk here!
Do you have any experiences to share?
Living away from student accommodation means I see my classmates less often. However, I socialise with them around the Study Centre, and Tina always encourages me to invite friends over to the house. It’s special for them to visit a local home and get that experience too.
I also experienced a traditional Christmas lunch with Tina and her daughter. We went out for lunch and had turkey and Christmas pudding. I liked it very much!
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