Homestay/Home visit

Experience Japanese culture and family life

For students looking to improve their Japanese (in particular conversation ability) Yamasa's homestay experience is not only an opportunity to experience Japanese culture up close and personal but also a priceless opportunity, through exchange of different cultures, to develop long lasting personal relationships with a Japanese host family. After participating in Yamasa’s homestay program many students maintain long lasting close relationships with their host families. Yamasa has arranged everyday families for this program to ensure students are able to experience what the common everyday life is for people in Japan.

Period of Stay

Homestay

Homestays involve living with a Japanese family for an extended period. Generally the minimum length of stay is one month however there have been cases of students staying for just one week, as well as other students staying for a year.

It is possible to extend your length of stay with your host family, however as it is dependent on your host family’s schedule it may be necessary to switch to another host family or move in to Yamasa’s student accommodation. We request your understanding.

Home Visit

On the other hand the family experience program’s home visit allows students to simply have dinner with a Japanese family or possibly spend the weekend together.

Requirements

You need to complete your enrolment in a Yamasa program (ie, application & photos sent, tuition fees paid) a minimum of 2 months prior to your course start date. Some applicants may be requested to fill out an additional questionnaire - this is not unusual, some families simply ask for more information than others.

For a homestay you also need at least 2 snapshot photographs (not passport photographs) of yourself which will help Yamasa find a homestay. It is advisable that you send different photos. These can also be sent by email.

Please apply as early as possible. This is a popular program and homestays are provided on a first come-first served basis. The search for a homestay does not begin until after you have remitted your tuition fees. If you are enrolling in a short term program (3 months or less), then you will be required to pay for the tuition in full.

To give yourself the maximum chance of a homestay it is best to apply early - this is especially the case during May, the summer (especially August), October and the end of Year/New Year periods. Your chances of obtaining a homestay are also generally higher if you have some conversational Japanese or are fluent in a language such as English that will enable you to communicate with the family.

Note

This quite strict policy exists because several times in the past, students have requested a homestay without paying and then cancelled after the families had undertaken considerable preparation. Yamasa apologises if this rule is inconvenient - but the homestays are so integral to the program that maintaining good relationships with all host families is essential. Your understanding is requested.

At no stage are we able to guarantee a homestay (each family participates on a volunteer basis, and while funds are transferred to the family there is no contractual or other obligation on families to accept foreign students).

Guidelines

Home stay in a foreign country can be a unique and rewarding experience. In order for you to get the most out of your experience, we have compiled the following set of guidelines to ensure that your time in Japan goes as smoothly as possible.
The two things that we would recommend that you pay attention to are:

  • Your whereabouts
  • Maintaining a good relationship with your host family

Your whereabouts

Keep everyone informed of

  • Your daily schedule

    Please let your host family know what time you are planning on returning home before you leave the house.

  • Your weekend schedule

    With this in mind, also let your host family know what your plans over the weekend will be should you plan to leave the house.

  • Your nightly schedule

    If you are planning on staying elsewhere besides your home stay accommodation, make sure you get permission to do so from your host family first. You should also give them the address of the place that you will be staying and a phone number where they can they can make contact with you.
    By following these guidelines, you will reduce the level of stress felt by all concerned. We are all concerned for your safety and well being. If you don’t tell your host family that you won’t be at home on a certain night or at a certain time, it might make them think that you may have been injured/hospitalized or have gotten into some kind of trouble.

Maintaining a good relationship with your host family

1. Make the most of your time here.
As mentioned earlier, home stay can be a potentially rewarding experience. To make the most of this experience, it is recommended that you try to get home before dinner time and spend time with your host family. This will allow you to experience Japanese culture at a deeper level (i.e. eating delicious Japanese food that will be prepared by your host family) in addition to practicing your Japanese skills. It will also build a stronger relationship with people you will be seeing nearly every day. A good home stay relationship can result in lifelong friendships being made.

2. Be a good guest.
It is important to remember that you are a guest in somebody else’s home, so it’s in everyone’s best interests that everyone gets along the best that they can. Therefore, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Check the family rules.

    This is the first thing that you should do. All host family rules come before Yamasa rules. Knowing what is expected from the very beginning will reduce the amount of problems and stress that you and your host family may experience.

  • Leave your room as you found it.

    While you are staying in a place that is different to your own home in your native country, your home stay accommodation is not a hotel with a 24 hour cleaning service included. Therefore, every day as you head out the front door, make sure that your room is in the same condition that you found it in when you first arrived.

  • Learn about the washing machine.

    Check with your family about when and how you should use the washing machine. It’s best to establish this so you don’t have any ‘little accidents’! Also keep in mind that your family may need to use the washing machine at specific times. Check when it’s OK to use the washing machine to avoid any clashes in schedule on this front.

  • Watch the phone bill.

    If you are going to call anyone who lives overseas, please do one of the following.
    a) Buy a pre-paid phone card.
    b) Make a collect call.
    c) Make contact using the free call option in messaging services such as Skype.
    Please be mindful that your host family will not be happy if you rack up an enormous phone bill.

  • Be careful handing out any third party information.

    Do not pass on any of your home stay family’s personal details (phone number, address, e-mail address etc.) to anyone without their prior approval.
    A lot of Japanese people have to provide their addresses and phone numbers when they apply for bank accounts, health insurance etc. If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, it could cause a lot of trouble (both financial and personal) for your host family.

  • Respect each other’s space.

    As you are arriving into a culture that is very different to your own, please be aware that how people interact with each other here in Japan is very different to what you might be used to.
    Whilst some Japanese people will agree to certain requests, this may not mean that they are happy to do so. Often their discontent may be expressed in a more indirect way than what is considered normal in other countries.
    For this reason, try to not be too much of a burden on your host family. Be respectful of their schedules. For example, asking your host father to drive you to and pick you up from a party just as he has come home from a long day at work could be something he that agrees to but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is happy to do so. Try to put yourself in your host family’s shoes before you begin asking favours.

While the content listed above is a set of general guidelines, there are two basic rules that you will need to abide by:
1) You will need to provide your own lunch as this will not be provided in the home stay package.
2) You will be responsible for any public transport expenses incurred when getting to and from Yamasa. If your total expenses exceed ¥1000 per round trip (this is a trip to and from Yamasa from your home stay accomodation), we will make up any excess costs incurred.

Follow these basic guidelines and the likelihood of your home stay, as well as your studies at Yamasa, being both harmonious and productive will greatly increase.