Experiencing Japanese family life is one of the best ways to improve your listening and speaking skills, and deepen your understanding of the culture of Japan. Please note that if you prefer an apartment or share accommodation, it is also possible to experience Japanese family life through a homevisit.
Apart from the opportunity to improve listening and speaking skills, and intimately experience the culture, a homestay experience provides the opportunity to communicate across cultures and create long lasting friendships.
Usually a homestay is for the length of the program, however in the case of long term studies, this will depend on both your preferences and the host family’s schedule and commitments. Usually you may need to be prepared to either move to another homestay or alternative housing after a month. You need to complete your enrollment (ie, application & photos sent, tuition fees paid in full) a minimum of 56 days/2 months prior to your arrival date.
In terms of costs, a homestay usually requires considerable expense on the part of the family. As a result we charge a homestay fee – which is then forwarded to the family. The homestay fee is 80,000 yen per month for student visa holders, and 25,000 yen per week for short stay students. The homestay includes breakfast and evening meals from Monday to Friday, though not on weekends unless by agreement with the family. It does not include lunches. Some homestays are within walking or bicycle distance of the school, but usual a commute by bus or train is required.
There are some basic rules that need to be observed. A homestay is a great way to improve your Japanese and understanding of the culture, but it is not like staying in a hotel. You are a guest of a family and are required to follow the rules, as they would apply for any family member.
a) Please inform your family of the time you will come back home everyday.
b) Do not make overseas or long distance calls, use skype or some alternative.
c) Please inform your family of your weekend’s plans.
d) The family’s private address, phone number and contact details are private – do not provide it to anyone without permission.
e) In many homestays, the room in which a student sleeps each night is the family’s washitsu (tatami mat) room (by day an area used by the family, at night the place where a student can sleep on a futon). Sometimes it is where the family’s Buddhist altar is located. For these reasons, keep everything clean and orderly, and keep wet clothes (for example after returning on rainy days) outside the room to avoid mildew forming in the tatami mats.
This is usually for lunch, an evening meal, one day or a weekend stay (1 night/2 days). Many students choose the homevisits because they can enjoy the comfort of having their own apartment as well as the opportunity to experience Japanese family life. Homevisits are usually free, the student normally only paying for things such as transport, movie admission tickets or other such expenses if required. It is advised to bring a small gift.