home stay or apt.?

4 May

When I first was making my decision on where to study in Italy the main factor that my choice was based upon was which city offered the home stay option as far as housing went. I wanted to be completely submerged into the Italian life and culture. What would be a better way to do this than to live in an Italian home I thought?  When I signed up for the home stay I quickly learned that it would be an additional twenty four hundred dollars to stay in an Italian home as opposed to the dorms.  Once I learned this information there were two things that I thought. The first being, “wow that is a lot of money,” and the second, “you can not put a price on experience.” The thought that did not enter my mind, how ever, was to think that people would take advantage of American students.

If you think of it, being a home stay student you are in fact a source of income for the family that you are living with. I am in Italy for approximately 90 days. This means that I am paying and additional one hundred and sixty eight dollars a week, or six hundred and seventy two dollars a month to live in the apartment that I am currently living in.

In the beginning I also took into consideration, “I will get fed 2 meals a day and only be responsible for my lunch, so that is what all of this money is going towards.” Well Italians do not eat breakfast really. My host mother keeps tea in the cabinet and crackers in a drawer, if I want breakfast this is what is available to me. So I usually end up buying my own fruit and yogurt. So there goes half of that rationalization. The second half, dinner, is provided. But In most cases dinner is some form of pasta. Which I am not saying there is anything wrong with. I just find it interesting that it cost an additional 24 dollars a day to live in this environment as opposed to an apartment.

I also would say that there are advantages to living in an apartment with other students (as opposed to a home stay) because it is easier to go do things. For example when we go out at night, I usually have to have one of the guys walk me back or walk home alone at like 3 in the morning. Whereas the girls in the apartments all walk home together.

The first two weeks things were very different in my apt., my host mother was very nice and always making conversation with me. Breakfast was out every morning and for dinner we would have great meals.  It was like a show was being put on. Now she doesn’t even make an effort to talk to me unless people are around. She just sits and smokes cigarettes while staring at her computer. At dinner I don’t even feel like talking with her because she sits in silence.

Right now I am sitting in the living room of my apartment because my host mother is showing off my room to a man that will replace me with a new American girl the week after I leave.  The change in her personality is drastic. She is so happy and chipper and even wearing heels in the apartment, which I was yelled at for the first day I walked into it. I just can’t help but get the feeling that me and the other girl that live in my home are here for financial purposes only.

This was concluded when she asked me if I would write an add in English for her to post on Facebook advertizing for a student to stay with her for 3 months for 3000 dollars and she would cook and “show them Italian life and culture.” Which I know she wouldn’t do because she would not even talk to me. 3000 dollars, ha-ha that’s funny.

I know that there are some people that are completely happy with their home stay, and that there are people that are also unhappy. I for one know that I would never spend the additional 2,400 dollars again…

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