Read what former World Explorers had to say about their experiences abroad.
The program was even better than I thought it would be. I had a lot of fun and I felt that my teaching was really beneficial to my families. It gave me confidence to move forward in my dream job of teaching in Japan. It also gave me confidence in my personal ability to teach because when I learned what was the best method of teaching for my students and what they struggled with - I found I was able to adapt my methods of teaching to suit the individual, not cram them into the same mold as everyone else. I even got confident enough to only use the books and worksheets when I needed an idea, but formulated lessons on my own to better suit my students’ needs. And with that they learned faster and had a great understanding of the basics of English, spelling, and grammar when I left. This program was fantastic. I could not have been happier.
The program was great. It was very flexible and really allowed me to make my own experience. It was nice to know that I could always get help if I needed it. I visited many sights in Japan and lived my own life. It was a very flexible lifestyle changing day to day. I feel a lot more adventurous and ambitious. It definitely opened my eyes to the world.
Thank you again for the amazing opportunity, France was great! After a month, I was really impressed with how much my host sister's English improved! My own french improved as well, it really was a great cultural exchange! I got to see a lot of France as well and I feel incredibly lucky to have had that opportunity. It was very interesting living in another country because now I really notice things we do in the United States that differ greatly from France!
I wasn't expecting to really become so close with the family I was assigned to. I thought maybe it would be more of a student and teacher relationship, but I really felt like I was just a part of the family there. We would play games and go out to eat together, and I really didn't feel like I was actually teaching; I felt like I was just spending time with other people. The upside of being in a rural area is the fact that you really start to see the culture of a different country quicker. I was the only foreigner in my town and I remember seeing older people wave to me excitedly as I was the first white person they had actually seen in person. One time, I got off the bus by myself coming home from Seoul and the bus driver had no idea how to deal with me. I don't think he had ever seen an American up close. He pointed to the ground and said the name of the city just hoping I would understand. I replied to him in Korean asking if he would get my luggage from the side compartment of the bus, and I think I scared him into being mute. He helped me get my bag, and he so nervous he hit his head. I asked him if he was okay and he just smiled at me. He didn't say a word to me, but I was happy that I talked to him (even if I scared him). I feel pretty proud of myself considering that I went traveling by myself abroad and had an amazing time
It's nice to be back in America, but I really didn't want to leave Russia! I wish I had planned to stay for a longer period of time. The program was different than I expected. I thought I would spend all of my time tutoring, but that wasn't the case at all! I loved my host family. I liked that they had a son who was my age because then I was able to talk to him and his friends and get opinions from my peers in a different country (and make hopefully lifelong friends). This was truly a great experience, and I'm already planning the next time I can go back.
It was perfect!! I loved my host family so much. I usually went out with my family, my family's friends, or my friends to look around Japan. I was a little bit worried before I went to Japan because I had never been there. However, after I went there I am seriously thinking moving there!
Lacanau Ocean is probably one of the best cities for a student of my age who wants to be immersed in France. Bunch of kids my age working in the city and always new people to meet! My trip was definitely an amazing experience, and I'm so happy I spent my summer in France with the program - and who would have guessed that it would be in the same region that I'm going to be spending all of next year in as an exchange student!
The family was absolutely the most amazing part of the trip. You can travel the world and see amazing sights anywhere, but in my opinion meeting a family that can open their doors and open their hearts while being humble and honest is the most amazing experience. Nothing really prepares you for living and integrating into someones' house, but the father spoke a lot of English which made everything easier. I had a lot more free time than I thought I would. I went to the Great Wall, some caves in southern Beijing. Almost all the palaces and parks and most of the museums. I'd say 4 out of 5 days I did one of these things. I met au pairs that were there and we hung out. I wish that I had spent some more time with the family. I feel like in trying to see everything I missed out on some time I could have spent with them.
The program did exactly what it said I would do, help the hosts practice English. What was unexpected was how I would be doing it. We just had regular conversations, no sessions of tutoring, no textbooks, etc. I was also caught off guard how quickly I would mesh into the household (To the point where I had to consciously remind myself I was in Brazil!) I would have learned more Portuguese before I arrived, or at least took it more seriously. When preparing to come down I figured that this would be a one time use of the language, which I would soon forget after leaving, and that there wasn't much point to dedicating so much effort to it. But sure enough, I underestimated the impact Brazil would have on me, so while traveling I greatly expanded my Portuguese and am still keeping the connections I made while there.
My host family was absolutely wonderful! They were so welcoming and excited. Giuliana, especially, was a fantastic host mother. They included me in everything. Not only did I teach them English, but they were so excited to help me with Italian also. They are a beautiful family! The teaching was much more informal than I thought it would be. I did not really have a schedule for teaching the family English; it was more that whenever they were available to learn they would ask me to teach. I would help the children with their English homework from school if they had any. I also found the supplementary textbook online of one of the girl’s school’s English book and used that often. I also played English games and used a lot of American songs with the kids during lessons. So, my schedule was different every day. I attended an Italian school for foreigners every morning in order to improve my Italian. I also loved walking around and exploring Torino, going to the movies and the Torino Film Festival, going to museums, going to aperitivo with some friends from school. I also visited my relatives in Florence for a weekend. I am usually a bit more introverted and reserved, but I feel this experience has caused me to become more outgoing, less timid, and more confident. I met not only Italians but also made friends from all over the world – Spain, Scotland, Argentina, Mexico, China, Belgium, and more. Plus, I feel very confident in my Italian speaking skills now.
Many people can claim they’ve had a life-changing experience overseas. Many people can claim they’ve had the opportunity to experience and embrace another culture. But I consider myself rare and lucky that I had a company as wonderful as Cultural Homestay International by my side to make my time abroad unique, fulfilling, and safe.
I was fortunate enough to spend over half a year traveling with the help of CHI and their incredible, passionate staff. It was because of them that I was able to spend not one month, not two, but eight traveling across more than 12 different countries. Of these, I was incredibly lucky to call three of them ‘home’. I was placed into the homes of people I now call second families, and I was granted the honor of work with incredible institutions which gave me tools and experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
My first destination was Italy, where I was placed with a loving family in what is often called the most beautiful city in Europe: Torino. There, I gained language skills which have taken me into near fluency in Italian, and had the extreme pleasure of working in an Italian High School, where I met friends I still hold dear to this day. While there, I was also helped by the CHI staff on ways to make the most of my time in Italy, and was given incredible advice and guidance of how to experience such an incredible country to its fullest.
Secondly, after nearly two months of traveling across Europe I arrived in Rijeka, Croatia. Here, I was greeted by CHI partners whose kindness and enthusiasm I will never forget. I was immediately welcomed into the country with open arms and brought to my second host family, to whom I would be privately tutoring english. This family, hand selected by CHI, were perhaps some of the most compassionate, welcoming and genuinely loving people I have met in my entire life. The time I spent working with them will be forever unforgettable, as never before my time spent in Croatia have I quite understood what it was like to have a second family.
Leaving Croatia and my host family was one of the hardest experiences of my time overseas. But the final leg of my journey was perhaps my most ambitious. Mongolia. Landlocked between China and Russia, and about as far from home as I could physically get. If it was not for the help of CHI, my time in Mongolia would be nothing more than a dream. But thanks to their incredible assistance and care, I found myself standing on the other side of the world. In Mongolia, I got to experience a truly unique and incredible culture to its fullest. I was placed with families who were actively passionate about sharing their beautiful culture with me. I also was introduced to one of the most welcoming expat communities I could have ever imagined. And through CHI, I forged a lifelong bond with a land few people ever dream of visiting.
For CHI, and their incredible passion for sharing the world and its cultures with us, I cannot say enough thanks. My feet would never have left the ground if it had not been for CHI (and my incredible handler, Heidi), and it is thanks to them that I can take forward the experiences, and challenges I faced in my time abroad. Cultural Homestay International inspired within me, a love of travel and a thirst for adventure that can never be quenched. For anybody who is considering traveling abroad under any circumstances, I cannot recommend more capable hands.
As a World Explorer based in Madrid from the end of January to the end of March of 2015, I was able to experience Spanish culture which was something I had always wanted since Spanish classes in high school. I had taken a gap year after my sophomore year in college, and wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. I was playing on my college's men's varsity soccer and lacrosse teams, and majoring in economics and minoring in mathematics. I was "burnt out." And when I came upon CHI's website, I correctly thought that this was an opportunity to travel abroad, immerse myself in another culture, and all the while in a financially savvy way. With a room and meals guaranteed, I had the most expensive parts of traveling already taken care of. My host family was very welcoming from the beginning, and I had no trouble getting into rhythm with their schedules, once I had beaten the jet lag of course. We set out a schedule of when our daily "conversational lessons" would take place, and the rest of the day I had to myself. When my program had concluded, I was able to travel extensively in Spain thanks to the incredible metro and bus network, and to other areas of Europe. All told, I visited Valencia for Las Fallas, Sevilla for Feria de Abril, the beaches of Barcelona, La Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita of Cordoba, the sword shops of Toledo, skied in Andorra, ate fish and chips in Edinburgh, played golf at St. Andrews, missed my original flight to Dublin, then toured the Guinness factory when I landed. I am thankful to CHI, as I view it as the opportunity that allowed me to begin my travels, and was the reason I found myself outside my comfort zone.
My trip to France was amazing! Being an World Explorer is the perfect way to experience a foreign country. I learned so much about French culture from my two host families and greatly improved my French through all the practice I got there. I was also able to travel around the country a little and saw some beautiful historic places. I am definitely glad I went; it really was the experience of a lifetime.
The World Explorers program fulfilled our dream to live in another country as a couple through the Buddy Program. We were lucky enough to live in Spain for 3 months and experience their unique lifestyle, embrace their culture and learn a new language. We chose Spain because Arizona has a large Spanish influence and we figured it may be the most beneficial country for us to live and tutor in. We stayed in separate host families in the same city and were able to do things together often. The highlights of our stay was roaming around Valencia learning their history and enjoying the beautiful city. The program provides a lot of free time so we took advantage of it to enjoy the Spanish cuisine, going to the beach, tour the city and admire the architecture, churches, museums, etc. We also enjoyed spending time with our families that we tutored and learning about their traditions and everyday life.
I lived with a Chinese family in Beijing who had a six year old boy who was already learning English in school. My lessons with him quickly became very informal (at his parent's request). Most days we would play or go somewhere with his parents and try to speak in English as much as possible. EVCA also set me up with Chinese classes during the week, which I would suggest because it was a great way to meet other English speakers. I ended up becoming good friends with my classmates and hanging out with them a lot. Overall I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in going to China. World Explorers has a lot less structure than most study abroad programs (and is more difficult because of that), but the amount of freedom you are given also makes it much more interesting.
This was my great adventure. In truth, as I arrived in Rome, I felt right at home. My host family was better than I expected. The hospitality was second to none. They gave me my own room. They taught me how to cook delicious Italian dishes. They took into Rome's city center numerous times and showed me all the historic sites. The hospitality even reached beyond the immediate family and extended to the grandparents' and family friends.
Staying in Peqi’in with a local Druze family was one of the best things I had ever done in the 20 years of my life simply because it was an opportunity that few people ever got – to live in a world so isolated and so vastly different to the world I knew back in Australia. It was quiet and peaceful, unlike the chaotic streets of Tel Aviv and the underlying tension one feels within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. I felt like I was in a totally new dimension of time – life went at a different pace. And it felt amazing.
My trip to Mongolia was fantastic. Not only did I experience life in a culture that is so different than my own, I also gained teaching experience leading an English Speaking Club at the partner agency's office in Ulaanbatar. I will never forget the time I spent in the countryside sleeping in a yurt. My host family was wonderful and I even made the local Mongolian TV news because I was dressed in their national clothing at a local festival.
The chance to teach overseas was special to me, but what I will always remember is how incredibly warm, friendly and giving the people of Karaganda were to me.I can certainly relate to my students here in the US more, now that I have experienced coming into a country by myself, where I didn't know the language, the alphabet, didn't particularly look like many of them, and really didn't know but a few people when I got there. I think this experience has also convinced me to follow through and complete my MATESOL.
My placement was wonderful, and I really enjoyed my month in Japan. I have so many amazing memories from the experience, and have many people I hope to keep in contact with. I definitely would like to return someday, and I’d really like to go through the program again in the future to a different country.
I went to Spain and spent 3 months in both Madrid (2 weeks) and Algeciras (2 months). I definitely recommend traveling abroad to anyone and everyone with the opportunity to do so. It is a unique experience that gives you a valuable perspective on your current life, no matter where you go. With this program, you are teaching English to the children of the host families. I would almost always speak English to the kids and Spanish to the parents. For me, the teaching was mostly conversational and I really liked that about it -- it's a breath of fresh air to get away from the books for a few months. There is a lot of time to hang out and do fun things while technically 'working'.