People choose to stay in homestays for all kinds of reasons: trips to new parts of the world, to experience different cultures, learn a language or simply to know that there's a friendly face to welcome you home each day. This last reason was why Emily, a nursing student from New South Wales in Australia chose a homestay.
Emily's hospital placement was in Yowie Bay, a surburb of southern Sydney and several hours drive from her own home. To save on several hours commuting, she booked to stay with our host Ana Maria meaning she was only a short distance from her workplace. We sat down with Emily to ask her about her homestay experience.
I was in Yowie Bay due to my university placement. It was a really great experience! The nurses I worked with were very welcoming and helpful and it was great to be able to put into practice what I've learnt at university this past semester.
View from the front verandah of Ana's house
I chose a homestay initially because of its convenience. The location was very important to me when looking for somewhere to stay. A homestay was the best option because you pay half the price of a hotel and you have a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious bedroom and bathroom. It was also one of the closest options to the hospital where I worked during the placement.
I chose Ana because of the close location of her home to the hospital I was doing my placement at. Also, there were lots of amenities nearby like the train station and shopping centre. From Ana's description of herself and her family, I thought they seemed really nice and welcoming, which was important to me while being away from my own family.
My homestay experience completely exceeded my expectations. When I arrived, Ana drove me to the hospital where I was to complete my work placement and to the shopping centre to get some groceries. Afterwards, we went to San Churro, where we got hot chocolate and got to know each other a bit more which was really nice. I was invited to join them for dinner the night of my arrival where I met the rest of her family.
After I finished my shifts at the hospital I would go to Westfield Shopping Centre which is a short walk from Ana's house. The shopping centre is huge! There are so many shops and food places to go to that I never got bored.
Something that surprised me was the cafe across the road from Ana's house. I went there for lunch and had the most delicious burger and chips! Something that also surprised me was how close Sydney city is from Yowie Bay. From Westfield Shopping Centre you can see Sydney Point Tower and the city buildings.
I was pleasantly surprised at the numerous public transport options in the Yowie Bay and Miranda regions. There are heaps of buses and trains that go to different places and they were also close to Ana's house which was really convenient.
My best memory was having hot chocolate with Ana at San Churro. It was really lovely because we got to know each other better and it was nice having someone to talk to. I had come down by myself for the work placement so I loved having some company.
My advice would be to go to the cafe across the road from Ana's house called 'Post Box Cafe' and try their chips - they're the best chips I've ever had! I definitely recommend going to Miranda Westfield Shopping Centre. There are so many shops and food places you'll be spoiled for choice.
I would recommend giving homestays a go to anyone thinking of trying it for the first time. Initially, I was hesitant in sharing a house with strangers but my experience with Ana proved me wrong. I really enjoyed it and it made moving away for my work placement that little bit easier. I will be sure to use Homestay.com when travelling again and if I ever return to Yowie Bay I will 100% be staying with Ana.
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