Are you about to embark on a volunteering experience? Do you have the option of living with a host family or finding yourself a room or apartment to share? Making this decision may be challenging, especially if you do not have any experience in that field. Keep on reading to find out how to make your choice, and what the pros and cons of each are.
First, your accommodation, as I wrote about it in this post, is very important. In fact, it may determine whether you love or hate your experience! Depending on where you are going, you may have more or fewer choices ahead of you.
Staying with a host family
When I first arrived in Rabat (Morocco), there was something very comforting about knowing that someone was on the other side of the gate waiting for me to arrive, and someone that would bring me to my accommodation. Also, it was great to arrive at a home and to be hosted by a family that had extensive experience in this field. It wasn’t their first rodeo!
Staying in a host family doesn’t only give you a feeling of safety, but it also gives you an insight into the culture you may not get once you live on your own. Living with Khadija and her family was a once in a lifetime opportunity that showed me the real Moroccan culture. I was able to have Moroccan tea, to try their couscous, to see the typical TV shows they watch and to meet their extended family all the way in Agadir, where Sarah, a fellow volunteer, Khadija and I travelled to over the weekend. This is something I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience had I chosen to live on my own!
Staying in a room or apartment
This being said, if like me, you are returning to this country for a second or third time, you may be in a different situation. The first time I went to Morocco, I was there only short-term (two weeks). This time, I will be travelling there for twelve weeks. Furthermore, as I’ll be doing an internship while studying full-time, I won’t have as much free time as before. This means that I will need a space to study that is quiet, and where my schedule will not affect my host family. This implies that, although a host family is great, sometimes it just doesn’t fit your circumstances.
From this, you should take that your personal reasons for this trip are the main factor playing a role in your decision. If this is your first time and you are worried, why not go with locals? Find out how it is to live there, experience as much of the culture as you can! If you can’t, or feel like you may need more space, there are many options out there for you. Just check out this post to find more about it!