Living with a host family could be one of the most rewarding parts of your experience in Chile! There are many benefits to living with a host family, including improving your Spanish and participating in Chilean culture. The experience also has it challenges, as Chilean norms and customs might be different from what you are used to.
Please keep in mind that your host family may not be a traditional nuclear family, but could very possibly be a single parent and their child(ren), an older couple with no children, a single young professional, or any number of varying situations. It is also possible that you might live together with another volunteer of the Program who has also been assigned to your host family’s home. You will have your own bedroom in the home, as well as three simple meals a day.
For the most part, host families decide to receive a volunteer either because of their commitment to their school or because they are interested in the cultural exchange that this experience provides. All host families are interviewed by the English Opens Doors Program. The families are given a small allowance to compensate for the additional costs of having you in their home – but they are not making a profit by hosting you.
Some volunteers decide to live independently in their placement communities. If you choose this option, keep in mind that you will be responsible for securing your housing arrangements, and paying the associated expenses. You will receive the accommodation allowance otherwise designated for the host family, but you will definitely need to use your own savings to cover the extra costs of living independently.