Living in a Homestay Q&A: Josh, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Josh, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, lived in Vanløse during his semester, a district within Copenhagen. Hear anecdotes of Josh’s incredibly memorable time with his hosts and what made this housing option meaningful for him:

Illustration by Shaelin from Cal Poly

 DIS: Tell us about your Homestay – who are they and what makes them special to you?

Josh G.: My host family consists of four people total. Mom, dad, and two sons (6th and 8th grade) + a small dachshund named Malou.

They are special to me in a number of ways. They are a strong reminder of my family back home, which has been a blessing.

Coming here was not easy — I had feelings of apprehension, doubt, and uncertainty upon arriving in a new country that I would call home for the next four months. Having a family that resembled my familial structure back home allowed me to flourish in the Danish community, as well as in my DIS community. Whether I find myself talking about world issues with my host parents over a cup of tea or running in the forest with my host brothers, I am grateful each day for my host family.

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DIS: Why did you choose the Homestay housing option?

JG: To become immersed in the culture. It is understandable that you will meet a good amount of people, regardless of where you may live. However, I specifically chose the Homestay option so I could have the opportunity to meet family members, celebrate family traditions, and to see Denmark in a way that can’t necessarily be seen in any living situation.

DIS: What is the biggest cultural difference so far you have discovered between your Homestay here and your family back at home?

JG: The Danes are very reserved when initially meeting them. I felt as if it was troublesome to initiate conversation with my Homestay’s friends and family. However, continued conversation and time showed me that they are very interested and intentional with wanting to hear my story. It is very nice to have this whereas back in the U.S., ‘small talk’ is much more common than having a deeper conversation.

DIS: What is something you or your hosts initiated in this first week together that was a good icebreaker to get to know each other?

JG: To say “yes.” It is inevitable that they invite you to a cool place in Denmark or even a family event. For example, my family brought me to a birthday party on the day I moved in. Though I was extremely exhausted, I said yes.

In my first eight hours in Denmark, I had already tried traditional Danish food, jumped in the sea, and met a whole family that I would soon get to know even better. The moral of the icebreaker is to be open with your family and what they suggest – you will often be surprised at what they have to offer.

DIS: What is your favorite small moment you’ve shared with your family so far?

JG: Making mac and cheese for my host brother, Marcus. Though it was just between him and me, it was very special to be able to take a piece of my culture and share it with him over a glass of Faxe Kondi (which is much better than Sprite).

DIS: Tell us one thing you would recommend to a future student considering choosing a Homestay?

JG: Choose a Homestay. It is such a special opportunity to be able to get to know a Danish family. You learn a great deal about your culture from their perspective, their culture, and even yourself. I can feel myself developing relationships with them that will last much longer than my four-month stay. It has been my best decision about going abroad, other than choosing Denmark!

Hear Josh and Jen Talk about Living in a Homestay

How do you greet your host for the very first time – do you go in for the hug or a handshake? Hear Josh talk about stories of his Homestay:

Are you thinking about living in a Homestay for your semester with DIS?

>> DIS Copenhagen students, find Homestay info here

>> DIS Stockholm students, find Homestay info here


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