A week of craziness
For those of you who are not familiar with a homestay, it is a period abroad spent in the home of a local family. (an excerpt from Google pretending I’m a genius) Hahaha.
One more thing, I didn’t stay for a week. I just used it for the sake of having a more appealing title. LOL. In fact, I only stayed for 5 days. 😊
Anyway, moving forward, it is my first time to experience a homestay like this. I mean, a host will accommodate me with free lunch and dinner in exchange to 5-7 hours of teaching English per week. Isn’t it a good deal? I couldn’t ask for more.
Well, I tried this because I want to know more about the culture, the Vietnamese people, and how they live on a daily basis, before moving to another country. I also like the concept of this homestay because the students, the local guests, and the foreign teachers are living under the same roof. Which means those who want to learn English will have a lot of opportunities to interact and talk more in English with us, foreigners.
(Read the article: Teaching English in Vietnam to learn more about my adventures in this beautiful country.)
Having said that, I discovered this humble homestay in a social networking service via a mobile app. It is located in the heart of Hanoi, Vietnam specifically in Ba Dinh district. It was a 5-day of a fun-filled learning experience and I would love to tour you around and share you my thoughts, so read along…
The House and the Rooms
It’s a 5-story building with 6 rooms (2 for gentlemen and 4 for the ladies). Basically, each room has bunk beds and a common bathroom on each floor. A typical hostel setting. There are a shared dining area and a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry area, and social gathering areas (e.g. the living room, the rooftop).
One of the ladies’ rooms. The photo was taken by IG @Ebyangrax
Room 2 represent! One of the gentlemen’s rooms.
(English Club night, usually happens every weekend.)
Classes are divided into two, Basic and Advance.
Every weekend, the host (Khue), will arrange a small meeting for the class schedules of the following week. Schedules are agreed by the teachers. FYI, if you also have concerns about your stay, let Khue knows about it. He’s the one in charge here. Don’t worry he’s a very humble and approachable guy. Feel free to talk to him anytime.
Going back to the classes, you can choose any time slot from Morning 8am-12nn, Afternoon 2pm-6pm, to Evening 6pm-7pm then there’s an hour break for dinner and class resumes at 8pm-9: 30 pm.
Every day they will send a poll via group chat and students will get a chance to pick which classes they want to attend to. They can attend as many classes as they can. On a teacher’s perspective, this will give you an idea of how many students are going to your class and you can prepare the appropriate activity base on the numbers.
This homestay values diversity and everyone is welcome. It consists of various racial and ethnic groups. People came from different cultures, origins, and have different personalities yet it opens up each other’s minds. As we speak up, learning about other countries’ cultures gave us clarity and gain a better understanding. In short, it helps us understand more the word “respect” and eliminates our personal biases.
On a positive note, you will also meet people with the same level of craziness as you are. Which is a good thing? Hahaha. Your stay will never be boring. (Shout out to Kent, Tony, Vuong, Thuan, Regina, Sharon and more.)
(Filipinos, Ghanaian, Indian and Italian in one frame. Taken a night before I leave.)
A typical Vietnamese meal is always served with veggies.
This is the living room, housemates will turn it into a dining room and gathered here to eat lunch and dinner.
Linh Bee, one of the housemates cooking for lunch.
They said diving into the local cuisines is like a portal to one country’s culture. Since most of the housemates are Vietnamese, you will have a chance to taste an authentic Vietnamese cuisine while you are staying here.
Moreover, you will be more informed about other people’s cultures by trying their food. No matter where you from, try to share and introduce the traditional food from your home country. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to cook for them because of my tight schedules but I promise I will cook one dish for them when I get back. 😉
I went to Hoan Kiem Lake this night, then these friendly guys invited me to have a quick drink and chat on a nearby convenience store. From left to right (Me, Linh Bee, Linh, Hoang)
For me what makes this experience unique and special is the people. The first time I came, I felt the warm welcome as we enjoy a feast for our dinner even though I arrived late at night around 9 pm. And one thing I really like the most is, people here eat together during lunch and dinner. Like one big happy family. 🙂
The vibe of the people is contagious. Because most of them are kind and outgoing, you will have the opportunity to have a social experience and the exchange of laughter.
A piece of advice
When you get here, try to talk and know each one of them seriously. Some of them can conversate fluently in English but most of them are afraid of talking because they only have limited knowledge of the language. You can start from simple and common vocabularies, proper pronunciation, etc. Though you will see the eagerness and enthusiasm, still, try to challenge them and at the same time guide them in any possible way that you can. Sometimes small gestures can have a big impact on them. 😊
Why stay in Ba Dinh Homestay?
If you are the person who likes to meet new people, an open-minded person who doesn’t mind sharing spaces with strangers. And love to share stories, knowledge and life experiences. This is the place to be.
First, you will meet people from different countries, cultures, lifestyles, with different beliefs but the bond and connections you will create can turn into new friendships.
Second, in addition to staying and teaching, the host typically offers activities that bring all of the students, teachers, and guests together. Such us picnic, a dinner outside, coffee, karaoke, movie nights, and the game or English club nights. Which is a good thing, as it allows you to develop your collaborative spirit and makes you grow as a person?
Lastly, you are part of the family. You don’t know each other but the treatment is like brothers and sisters. You will have the feeling of having siblings from another mother/father. LOL.
I really had good times and I will always cherish the memories I made with them and how much fun we’ve had. I will definitely go back here if ever I’ll get across Hanoi in the future.
For you guys whose reading this, yes you! If you happened to be around Hanoi. I would highly recommend this homestay and give it a try. 🙂
FOR INQUIRIES AND OTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY:
Homestay Ba Dinh
Address: Số 56, phố Vĩnh Phúc, Ba Đình, Hanoi, Vietnam
Contact Number: +84 962881192
Facebook: Homestay Ba Đình – Học tiếng Anh 24/7 với giáo viên bản ngữ