Home Stay Family to make students feel at home
February 14, 2022
More and more families in Maastricht welcome our students into their homes over the school breaks. They sign up for an unforgettable, cultural and educational experience and are willing to give one or more students a warm break at the same time!
Some scholars who live on our campus cannot go home during the holidays because of various reasons (for instance because a plane ticket is simply too expensive for them, whilst others come from conflict zones and it would be unsafe for them to return). But during this corona pandemic, many students couldn’t go home because of travel restrictions. For some students it is however important to have some time off campus.
Alexandra stayed with Hedwig and Bart during the recent winter break and she shares her story to show the importance of our Home Stay Families network.
I applied to the homestay programme because I could not go back home. At first I was worried about the host family and not fit in. But it turned out to be the best experience I had so far in UWC Maastricht. I was matched with a Dutch local family Hedwig and Bart and with another student who happened to be my friend Sekai. I adapted really well to the family and we had a really good connection with them and the rest of the family members. During the time in my host family we did a lot of family activities, like movie nights, playing Sjoelen, bike practicing, day trips to Belgium and just talking. I think that the best memories that I have are New Year’s evening and a two day trip to Belgium which I went on with my host mother, host auntie and Sekai. I learnt a lot of things with them like some of Dutch culture and even life advice that they gave to us. To thank them Sekai and I bought them little presents like perfumes, books, a present for the house and by our actions.
I am very grateful for my host family and Sekai. They literally became my family here and I appreciate them a lot!
Another story worth sharing is the one from Ahmed. He came to UWC Maastricht only 6 months ago and showed, from the beginning onwards, great eagerness to learn about the Dutch language and culture. The Home Stay Experience seemed the perfect opportunity for this so he didn’t hesitate to sign up for it. For the Winter Break he was invited to stay with Frits and his wife who “run” a commune close to Amsterdam. The commune is part of the Catholoc Worker Movement and is called Jeannette Noëlhuis, bringing together people from all winds of life without a fixed place to stay, to live and learn from each other. Although Ahmed is used to having roommates and floormates from all over, he is pretty overwhelmed by sharing a house with twenty people, both families as well as individuals, originating from Cameroon, Russia, Germany and The Netherlands. There is different dynamics as it is not just youngsters like his floor in on UWC Maastricht’s campus
After a week he finds the right balance between chores, socialising and studying throughout the days. Because of the lockdown, exploring Amsterdam is not quite what he had expected. He makes himself indispensable with his hard work in the garden (chopping wood), cooking a traditional Kurdish dish and cleaning up afterwards. His great sense of responsibility is definitely noted by his host family. He cherishes great memories of the day at the beach, the full moon bonfire, movie nights and meaningful conversations he had with his new friends. After 21 days with his new family is grateful to be invited back for the Carnival break to catch up with his new “Dutch” family.
Ahmed during the Home Stay Programme