We have a host-family focused interview with our sunny student from the UK – Natasha, to share with you today!
Natasha, why did you choose to stay with the Russian HF?
I wanted to be able to practise my Russian in a real-life situation. Also, I hadn’t been to a foreign country alone before and I felt that staying with a host family would be more ‘homely’.
Please describe your experience with them.
Very positive! Elena was very kind and genuinely cares about my well-being. She always asked me about my day and on the first day of school she showed me where the trolley bus stops and went with me in the morning to make sure I didn’t get lost!
What kind of activities did you enjoy together?
I walked my Host Mom’s dog Zhu Zhu with her most evenings, we went shopping together as well. At the weekends she took me to the beach in Jurmala, a cafe, a market and the festival in the centre of the city.
Did you communicate a lot with your HF?
Yes, at meal times especially! Elena also checked my homework 🙂 As she speaks some English she was able to translate some words she uses so I can write them down in my notebook. This is particularly helpful as I could then use these new words in conversation. She also made a special effort to talk slowly to me in Russian.
What are the things you liked the most so far during your stay?
Staying with my Host family + practising my Russian in real life situations.
Did you have any cultural shock?
I did – that people don’t drink tea with milk! 🙂
Did you have any stereotypes about Latvia – did they come true or not?
That it would be cold! It turned out it was so hot during the weeks of my stay that I wish it were a bit colder 🙂
What would be your living arrangement suggestions for the new students?
Choose Host Family as you can practise your Russian and experience home cooked traditional Latvian+Russian food!
We also would like to share with you Natasha’s Mum feedback to the Host Family:
“I write to thank you very much for making Natasha feel so welcome again. Your welcoming smile and your kindness in helping her with her studies has been very much appreciated by Natasha and by myself. It was a very big step for Natasha to take in being away from home for so long but thanks to your care and hospitality and kindness (and yummy food!) she was able to flourish and to improve her language skills. Once again my many thanks for taking such good care of Natasha and making her stay so enjoyable.”
Thank you, Natasha! We will be very happy to see you back in Riga next year! Good luck with your Russian language studies!