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How I Became an Honorary an Italian - Living with a Host Family in Turin, Italy

Updated: May 4, 2022

Having a host family is a gamble and a complete shot in the dark. Everybody’s experience is completely different because you are literally living in someone else's house. You have to adhere to their rules, schedules and hope you have a bed to yourself. (Not even exaggerating. I know a grown man that was placed in a host family that had him sharing a bed with a 13 year old. I can't make this shit up.)

With all that being said I couldn't have asked for a better host family during my time in Turin. I'm definitely biased, but I don't think any host family I have moving forward will ever top my Italian Family. In just three months, I gained two sisters, two grandma's, a grandpa, a mom and a dad. I became part of the family. Just look at the picture. I bet you can't even tell who isn't Italian.

I was able to be fully immersed in Italy culture and way of life 24/7. I was constantly learning and developing a deeper understanding of the country and people. I honestly can't think of a better way to connect to a culture than to literally live in the house of a local family. A day didn't go by without me learning something about the country and culture around me. Honestly, I learned the most from my host family because we were constantly talking, interacting, and debating.

My host family ate dinner together every night and that meant me too. I quickly got put in the rotation to set and clear the table. I (tried) to help with the cooking & hung clothes on the line alongside my host sisters. I had lunch with my host grandparents and was constantly learning about Italian culture and language. This meant sharing thoughts about our days, debating various topics as well as comparing and contrasting cultures. It also meant eating home cooked Italian meals on a daily basis. This was truly an unmatched experience.

Furthermore, always having the opportunity to practice the language with native speakers tremendously impacted my ability to learn Italian. I learned Italian from actual Italians during my three months in Turin, Italy. Learning from a book or an app is cool, but moving to a new country and being forced to learn the language through full immersion is my preferred method. Having a host family also made it extremely comfortable to practice the language and make mistakes without fear of judgement or annoyance. My host family was always excited to help me with the language whether that be at dinner, in the car, while watching tv or anything in between. Again, I was part of the family.

I was part of the family, but I also had freedom to explore on my own as well. I traveled to over 10 different cities in Europe during my 3 month stay, most without my host family. They gave me the freedom to come and go as I pleased, respectfully. After work, I explored the city and did whatever I wanted. I made sure to make it home in time for dinner, but that was not by force at all 😋

Living with a host family is an experience that cannot be replicated and is unique for everybody. I came in SUPER HOT with my first host family and learned so much. I know for a fact I wouldn't have had the same perspectives on Italy and Italians if it wasn't for my host family. From dinner table debates to Italian game shows after lunch, every second with my host family added to my experience and I'll always be part of my Italian Family. After 3 months they're no longer my host family, just my family and I can't wait to go visit 😩

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