Saturday, 26 September 2015

2-Week Homestays!

A core part of the USP student experience is the homestay. Last weekend, each of our eight students who live in the dorms at Uganda Christian University moved in with a Ugandan host family for their two-week homestay in Mukono!

Packed in and ready to go! Both nervous and excited... 

Moving in to a home full of complete strangers is never easy, but the host parents welcomed their students with laughter and warm smiles and open arms. Our host families are some of the most hospitable people in the world. They refer to their USP students as “son” or “daughter”, even within minutes of their student’s arrival.

Laura meets her host mom, mama Odeta.

We spend a lot of time reflecting on concepts of Ugandan culture in our classes, but it’s in the experiences like the homestays where these concepts become everyday reality. Over the last two weeks, students have experienced pieces of life in a Ugandan household: preparing meals, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, playing with little sisters and brothers, watching soap operas, taking tea, relaxing, talking, laughing, singing – and even going to special occasions like parties and introductions!

Kat meeting Mama Margaret

During the homestay, students still come to UCU on weekdays to take classes, so walking to and from school each day is another important part of the experience. Getting enthusiastic greetings from the neighborhood children yelling, “Bye, muzungu!” becomes another part of the daily routine. And nothing beats coming home at the end of a long day to a hearty welcome from Ugandans who consider you family (especially when that welcome includes tea!).

Geralyn and her host mother, Mama Monica

The homestay is definitely a challenging experience – it messes with our expectations and makes us question the lives we live in the West. But it’s also so worthwhile – it grows into a new perspective, a lifelong reminder that differences are beautiful, and that it is truly a gift to be loved by people all around the world.


USP students also have the option to live with a host family in Mukono for the entire semester. We’ll hear more about our semester-long homestay students in the coming weeks…

Post by: Prudence Gordon, USP Program Assistant

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