Judith Tauber - 2015 Program Participant

Rue St. Catherine, Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux's shopping street: Rue St. Catherine

Why did you decide to apply for an international program instead of traveling to France as a tourist?

I wanted to improve my speaking skills and learn about French culture from the inside. As someone living with a host family, I was much more a part of the culture than if I had only been a tourist.

Why did you choose Andeo International Homestays?

I felt that they were supportive and helpful from the beginning. They answered my questions within a day. Also, it was obvious that they cared about everyone they sent abroad, and we got to know one another.

Medieval gate in Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux's medieval gate

What was your favorite part about living in Bordeaux?

I love the history of Bordeaux and was enthralled to be a part of it. I also had a fantastic host family.

What surprised you most about France?

There were some differences in culture that surprised me. For example, I did not expect that we would eat breakfast without plates and glasses. Instead, we used a place-mat and a bowl!

What makes Andeo International Homestays unique in your opinion?

The care and attention they give to each and every one of their traveling students. Before I even left, they answered all of my questions within 24 hours. While I was traveling, there was a telephone number I could call if I needed anything. They were extremely supportive!

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I don't think I can think of anything; I had a fantastic time.

Describe a day in the life of your homestay.

Imagine living with a caring family in a foreign country. You are truly a part of that country, culture, and family. You speak their language all day (which can be intimidating, but is certainly fun) and learn new things constantly. You eat (and perhaps help prepare) their (fantastic!) food and participate in everyday life.

At the end of your stay, you'll wish you could've stayed longer!

What did you enjoy doing on your free time?

I loved playing board games with my youngest host sister, very much enjoyed preparing and eating dinner.

A view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

We visited Paris for a couple days because my host sisters' grandmother lives here.

What did you like best about living in a homestay?
I liked the fact that I was truly another family member, who joined in in everything they did.

What was the hardest part about spending the summer immersing in another culture abroad?
The hardest time about spending the summer immersing in another culture abroad was likely speaking the language. I don't have trouble with French-I had completed four years in high school-but I did not expect that speaking French all day would be so exhausting! It was lots of fun to learn new words, but it needed about triple the brain power.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to France?

Research the weather and culture and pack accordingly. Also, keep your suitcase light and maximize space, and check the airline weight limits. Remember that your host family washes their clothes, so you will be able to, too. Make sure what you bring is easy to wash and can crinkle. Perhaps bring along a photo book of your family and surroundings. Also, bring small gifts for your family!

Overall, how difficult was it to communicate with locals?

I did not find it all too difficult to communicate with the locals, apart from the fatigue. I really liked being a part of my host family and meeting their friends and acquaintances.

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?

I've become more self-confident and brave. I'm still in touch with my French family and miss them. My French is also greatly improved, and I will never forget my stay in Bordeaux, France.
View of Saint-Emilion, France

Saint-Emilion, close to Bordeaux

Would you recommend Andeo International Homestays to other students?

I would highly recommend Andeo to other students!

If you could immerse in a new culture through a homestay abroad again, where would you go?

If I could immerse in a culture again, I would go to Spain. I'm adding Spanish to my language repertoire this year, so I could actually converse with them too. There's also a lot I'd like to learn about their culture.