Frequently Asked Questions

  • What will the food be like?

    Homestay students are usually surprised at how much they enjoy sharing meals with host families. Hosts are always glad to share their favorite recipes and many love learning to cook the foods their students miss from home. Often students feel rushed and are concerned about their studies when they join the family. They are surprised to be happily sitting with the family for a long time, chatting over dessert. All hosts will honor your cultural food taboos, but they may not be able to purchase halal meat. It is not available in all neighborhoods.

  • If I have restrictions on what I can eat, can I have a homestay?

    Almost always, yes. Simply state your needs on your Application and we will discuss it with you. For special requests, see the Guidelines for Accommodating Dietary Restrictions. Please note that we do not purchase halal meats. 

  • How can I eat my non-homestay meals?

    Hosts provide space for storing student food. Please store food in provided bins or in some sealed container. Open boxes or bags of rice and pasta are a feast for mice and moths! Refrigerator/freezers can be used but they are shared space.

    Hosts will provide students with a toaster oven and microwave for cooking their personal meals. Many hosts will permit students to cook on kitchen appliances but this varies from host to host. If your hosts allow students full access to their kitchen we recommend that you cook a few times with your hosts, so you learn where to find things, how the appliances work and how to take care of the pots and pans. Most important, your hosts will want you to know how to keep the kitchen clean.

    In addition, the Philadelphia area is full of delightful, inexpensive restaurants and food trucks of every variety designed for busy students. You may eat in one of the fabulous area restaurants or use a take-out service and enjoy your meal in our kitchen.

    Many hosts discourage eating in bedrooms for two reasons. Food and crumbs in bedrooms attract mice and ants. Most important, your hosts and fellow homestay students enjoy your presence in the home and want to spend time with you even when they are not doing the cooking.