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Author Topic: Introverts and Homestay Question  (Read 3346 times)

Offline jlmanzak

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Introverts and Homestay Question
« on: December 08, 2013, 06:40:25 AM »
There's been a lot of talk on here lately about homestays and host families. I have a question for those of you who have already had a homestay experience. I'm a bit of an introvert, not terribly so, but enough that when I've had a lot of excitement going on in my life (as is sure to happen in PST), I need a bit of quiet time to myself to recharge properly. While I understand that interacting with your host family is the best way to start integrating into the culture and learn the language, I'm concerned about how to get that quiet time to recharge without insulting or worrying my host family. Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice for how to handle it?

redmaypril

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 09:06:41 AM »
I guess it would vary how culturally appropriate it is in each country, but in Niger, if you were alone by yourself a lot, it was not seen as a good thing. Peace Corps was generally good at trying to explain that Americans like privacy, but people often did not understand. It really took some getting used to, and I found that going on a walk into the fields and things away from people was a good way to get some quiet thinking times. It was definitely something I had to get used to because I felt like I needed recharge times as well, but the kids were always wanting to be near me. You could say that you are studying, etc and you need quiet time for that, or that you are working/reading/etc. And that might help. :)

Offline Branden Ryan

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 06:32:30 PM »
Being alone in Tanzania is also not seen as good. But, you can always use "language study" as an excuse to go to your room for alone time, as the families know that your room is also supposed to be a "quiet" study space.

One of the things I found about PST is that there is very little you-time. You're either in CBT language all day or at the training site, you get back and interact with the family/village, and then by 8/9 PM, you already want to go to bed because you're exhausted. A lot of us would go to the bar after training days to decompress with other Americans.
Branden Ryan
PCV, Tanzania, 2013-2015

Offline Marion

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 06:56:01 PM »
In Botswana they worry about someone who goes into their room for hours.  Believe it or not, they are afraid they are insane and may emerge and do something crazy.  However, the Peace Corps staff tell the home stay families that they should expect the Volunteers to want to go into their room and shut the door, so it does not come as a surprise to them.  I am sure it would be the same wherever you go, so you will be able to go into you room and shut the door.  You will also have time to yourself on the walk to PST.  There have been over 250,000 volunteers in the last 50 years.  I bet a significant number of them were introverts and they managed ok.  You will too.

Great question.
Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline jbartimole

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 07:08:15 AM »
Fellow introvert here. During training, I was pretty overwhelmed. I found that just kind of coexisting in a common space (e.g. reading a book in a hammock) was an ok thing to do. I echo the comments of the others--it might not be seen as a good thing if you're alone too much. Also, depending on how many other PCVs the host family has had, they may understand that you need time alone.

Jen
RPCV El Salvador, '06-'08

Jennifer Spencer

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2013, 08:38:37 PM »
I'm an introvert as well.  When I saw the general question about homestays, I immediately thought, not that great for introverts.  Then I clicked on the topic and your post was the very first one.  :)

For me, it ended up not being that bad because I was just honest with them.  I was sooooooo tired after language classes and interacting w/people all day, that by the time I got home, I was ready to ESCAPE. But, I made it work.  When I got home, I just told them I was so very tired and needed to lie down for a little while.  It's normal to take a shower (dump water over your head with a bucket) before dinner, so I would go do that and then take a 30 minute nap.  That would help me for the rest of the night.  I was lucky though because I think my family was introverts, too.  We liked each other and laughed a lot, but they were so easy going and just let me do whatever.  It made me want to spend time with them.  It also helped because one day I saw the mom and dad out in the yard naked taking a shower (buckets over head), and I started cracking up.  When they came in, I joked with them about it, and they were really laughing.  That is NOT DONE in Thailand -- very modest.  From then on, everything was cool.  We (pcv's) in my group called them hippies.  Everyone was jealous b/c they had very different families that they felt they had to be with every second.

My advice, just be honest -- Peace Corps teaches you how to say culture right away, so you can just tell them it's part of your culture and part of who you are to get time to rest after school.  Then force yourself to go join them in the evening & just go with it. You'll remember each other for a lifetime. 

One last thing, not all countries have homestays.  I served in Morocco, too, and we did not have homestays.

Good luck.  So envious!

Offline cdillon8769

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 10:52:48 AM »
Great question. I am too somewhat of an introvert. I call myself an introvert with an external heart as there are times that I can be very extroverted and others I am the exact opposite. I have not sure yet if there will be a home stay or if I am on my own. I guess that depends on where I am. I would be happy with both situations throughout my service. I think having a home  stay would be a really neat experience even though there are times that I am sure  I just want to be in my room.
Caroline
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Offline iogburu

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 12:11:09 PM »
I am also an introvert. In order to get my quiet time I would excuse myself and go to bed early or inform my family that I needed time to study in quiet. They were all understanding, and it never came to the point where they became concerned that I was spending too much time alone. I must say every homestay family is different, and my family was used to foreigners. Additionally, our post gave our host families packets that informed them of the potential need of quiet time by some volunteers. I hope that helps :D Best wishes :D

Offline koji

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 05:46:12 AM »
I am very introverted, and definitely was overwhelmed during PST, not only with meeting Bulgarians, but also with meeting so many extroverted, opinionated Americans (My training group was 87 people- huge for me to deal with). I ended up sleeping A LOT. I told my language trainer and she helped my host family understand that it was nothing about them, and that I wasn't sick (they were worried for my health). It took about a month for them to get used to it, and by then I was starting to adjust a little better as well.

Although there are ways to get your alone time I would highly recommend trying to meet people and be social, even when you are tired and need to recharge. The bond with a host family can be very special, and I feel like I kinda missed out on it because I was unable to manage my energy levels. That being said, be forgiving of yourself- it is a difficult time, possibly the most difficult part of peace corps.

Offline Molly Irene

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 06:12:45 PM »
I'm seconding the idea that it depends a lot not only on the culture of the country you're in, but on your particular host family. I lived with two different host families in Republic of Georgia, for three months and six months, and the first, shorter stay was harder, because there was a little boy there who would bang on my door if he was bored and I didn't respond. The second family was pretty introverted themselves, and their youngest child was a teenager, so it was really easy to sit and read by the fire for hour upon hour. That had its own challenges, since we tended toward mutual inertia in our relationships.

Offline jlmanzak

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 07:05:19 AM »
"mutual inertia".... That phrase just tickles me for some reason. I'm going to have to find a way to use it in conversation now!

Stephanie Williston

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2014, 09:16:12 AM »
It's tough for introverts, no doubt about it. Our host family expected us to sit and watch tv with them and meet guests in the evening, and we did it. Although it bothered my more extraverted husband less, it was at times excruciating for me. I couldn't WAIT for our bath water to go on the stove at 8 PM (something my Mum did for us) because I knew we'd soon be off to our bedroom and a sliver of privacy. How did I cope? One day at a time. Never in my adult life has time dragged more slowly--and I'm 65 and an RPCV, by the way--but I survived the experience. And, remarkably, I truly believe in homestay as one of the most effective teaching tools in all of PST. The icing on the cake is that we love our host family and are treated even now as one of their own.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Introverts and Homestay Question
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 03:59:16 AM »
I dreaded home stay big time. After it was over, I visited that family once a month. It was the closest place to 'home' for me.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur