HOST UK is a government sponsored program, which enables study abroad students to experience living with a family in England for one weekend (or more). It is currently in jeopardy of getting its funding cut, so it needs all the support it can get.
I signed up for HOST because I was a bit disappointed that my study abroad experience was limited. Since NYU has a campus in London, virtually everyone who we interacted with on a daily basis was affiliated with NYU. I wanted to get a “British” experience, and that was precisely what I got when I arrived at my hosts’ home.
(Liz, Tony, & I)
My hosts, Liz and Tony, were a wonderful couple who lived in Sudbury Essex. I had the pleasure of living with them for 3 days, 2 nights at their cottage (Berry Cottage) in the countryside. I saw a completely different side of England where roads are one way and cars need to back out to let a passing car through. I met the local butcher, post office man, and grocer. Having lived in a suburb and then cities throughout my life, it was surprising to see the way of rural life.
Liz and Tony also explained to me several questions I’d always had related to English culture. It was awesome to be able to spend time with two well learned people. I didn’t think they’d have much exposure to Asian culture, but it turns out that lived in the South Pacific for several years in Brunei (I didn’t even know that existed!) and Singapore.
Everyone who went to HOST came back with amazing stories. It’s truly a wonderful experience and I’d encourage everyone to sign up for it. For NYU students, NYU actually pays the application fees so the only money that you pay is transportation.