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Reflections on our first homestay

One word to describe our first homestay:

Fiona – Peaceful

Alyssa – Perspective

Avery – Eye-opening

Ryker – Informative

Wilson – Confused

Matthew – Beautiful

Ayla – Rewarding

Nixie – Fulfilling

Cate – Community

Today was our last day with our first homestay in the Hua Hin Lad Nai village in Chiang Rai province. Some of us woke up early–around 6:30 AM to participate in the alms giving ceremony with our host families where we offered food to the community monk. We all ate breakfast with out host families and then met to talk and debrief both the stay at DDP and the homestay.

There were many interesting topics that came up during the conversation such as setting up electricity and internet in the community, education, youth, romantic relationships, and how we value parents/elderly people. The Hua Hin Lad Nai village lives without internet but does have electricity because in recent years people have had more steady incomes and jobs.

I was thinking a lot about how different the sense of community here is compared to in the US and how the use of technology and social networks may impact the connection of people in a certain community. I found that people in the village all knew each other super different that in the US because I know a lot of us don’t even know everyone on our street. I think that the use and widespread of social networking can allow us to be in contact with people that live far away from us and sometimes cause us to be close to the people we already know instead of meeting people that live in our neighbourhood.

Today, I asked everyone to share one word that summarises their homestay experience so far. Many people talked about how they were at first super confused and shy to communicate with our homestay families but once the hard part of communicating was over, everything was very fun. I chose the word “community” because the village that we were staying at felt very tightly woven because at the homes, there were multiple generations staying in one house, very different from where we are from.

Before the homestay, I was thinking a lot about how I’ve never been in a situation where I don’t know the language, even in Japan I was able to communicate comfortably with my host student, but here, I don’t know anything about the language and I was very curious to discover this new side of me.

Going into our second homestay, most of us feel a little bit more comfortable with the language and the culture here and everyone is super excited about the food.