Dorm or Homestay?

The KCP program offers two choices for lodging while studying.  One is a dormitory and one is a family homestay.  Here’s a rundown of the choices.

Homestay

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Here you have a daily opportunity to practice language, as well as connecting with Japanese family life and traditions.  Meals take place in a family setting; you can take trips with your family, bond with the “siblings,” and establish a close, long-term relationship with your family. It’s a great option for younger students.

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On the down side, you’ll find less free time in your schedule.  Of course, helping out around the house is vital to being a member (however temporary) of the family.  Because KCP chooses its hosts carefully and there is a great demand for homestay, if you are attending KCP for multiple semesters you can choose homestay for only one semester.

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Dormitory

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Students are placed in several dorms, depending on availability and demand, in the greater Tokyo area.  The dorm is a great place to meet other young people, some from schools other than KCP.  (Schools in Japan have different dorm arrangements than here in the U.S.–you will likely share the dorm with students from other schools as well as some KCP students.)  You have a private room and more freedom.  Some dorms have full kictchens so you can make your own meals; some don’t.

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A student cafeteria is usually available, as well as vending machines, public phones, and a coin laundry. Meals are not included in the program cost, but utilities and bed linens are included.

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Clearly, you won’t have exposure to family life in a dorm. Dorms in Japan are generally more restrictive than dorms in the U.S.

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Notable points

Both homestay and dormitory lodging are likely to have curfews.  This is a significant difference from college life in the U.S., but it’s not all bad.  It encourages you to get back to your digs in good time for a little studying, on a regular basis.

Whether you live in a dorm or stay with a family, you may find that you have a significant commute into school.  (Remember the famous Tokyo commute?)  This can be an unpleasant surprise at first, but the reality is that a commute can be an opportunity to drill yourself on Japanese hiragana/katakana.

A local transportation pass between your lodging and school is included in the program cost when class is in session for both dorm and homestay students.