A unique and special part of the USP semester is the Mukono homestay experience. Living with a Ugandan family is one of the most enriching and valuable parts of cultural immersion. All of our 18 'On-Campus' students (those who have chosen to live in dorms for the semester) live with a family in Mukono for two weeks. They’re currently halfway through their homestays and so far they’ve had a lot of great stories and photos to share.
|Getting ready to be dropped off with their new families!|
Ugandans are known for their incredible hospitality, which is evident in the way they welcome their new sons and daughters with big hugs and warm smiles.
|Lauren Kenley meeting her Mama Margaret!|
Students learn through participating in the daily life of their family; helping prepare meals and washing dishes, joining in as family members clean the house, feeding the chickens, making fresh fruit juice etc. They also spend time relaxing and having fun with their family, drinking tea, watching TV or having Bible studies and playing with little brothers and sisters. Some students may even have the opportunity to attend special occasions or events with their families, such as Ugandan parties, introduction (engagement) ceremonies and weddings.
|Lauren Wilkes with her new sisters!|
During their homestays, students walk from their homes to campus and back every day, which adds to their experience as a local university student. Often times there are many neighborhood children eagerly waiting for them to walk by so they can greet them. Being called “Muzungu!!” by excited children becomes a familiar part of the routine, as is arriving home after a long day and taking evening tea with whoever is around.
|Jenna Gibbons with her mama Aida!|
The homestay experience can be challenging at times, but stepping outside of what is comfortable and known is often when we grow the most, gaining new perspectives and insights.
What some students are saying about their homestays...
“I’ve loved getting to know my host family. They’ve accepted me as one of their own by calling me ‘baby girl’ and serving me copious amounts of food.” - Paige Schaefer
“Every night my family comes together to read scripture, pray and sing Luganda worship songs. They truly work so hard in making sure I feel a part of the family.” - Delaina peek
“One evening when I got home from a long day of internship, I was met with a big hug from my 13-year-old host sister. This is a perfect description of how warmly I’ve been welcomed by my host family.” - Maya Rowland
“One of my favorite parts of my homestay is walking down the hill to my house and seeing my two younger siblings running up the hill to eagerly greet me after a long day of school or internship. It’s been so amazing getting to develop relationships with my host parents and eight siblings.” - Julia Stanch
|Rebecca Carswell with her host mama and sisters!|
Before they know it, they’ll each have a 'home away from home' here in Mukono where they can return throughout the semester!