Homestay Family Testimonial
Ikumi arrived to live with David and I for the 2017 school year, in early January.
Initially Ikumi was shy and quiet, but after about a week she seemed to be a bit glum and unhappy. We took her to visit family, to a park, to the beach but she just did not want to interact or to do anything at any of these places.
We were then told by St Catherine’s school that she was crying at school and they felt she was homesick and needed to be given more Japanese things, like rice. We were surprised because she was able to have rice whenever she wanted. But, when we talked about it she said no, that wasn’t the problem, she just felt sick for Japan. We believe that Ikumi was not really prepared for such a big cultural difference between NZ and Japan and this was part of it. After all you cannot really know that until you experience it.
David and I actually felt relieved because homesickness is a process that changes, and we assured her that some people get homesick, that it was ok for her to cry if she needed to but that in time as she got used to things here she would find it would improve.
After the first month or so things started to get better and we just kept on talking and including her and slowly she became happier, started laughing and talking more and trying out her English on us with out being worried that she would make a mistake.
After things got better for Ikumi she did not look back. She became another member of our family and we really enjoyed her time with us. When she broke her ankle in the third term (a very small fracture), she was so brave, and she did every thing that was needed of her to get better, with great spirit and perseverance. She has such a positive attitude to everything that it made even difficult times like that very easy to get through.
When Ikumi went to the South Island in November on the trip she had been looking forward to for several months, she became homesick again, but this time it was for Wellington and for us! We talked to her by txt a lot and encouraged her to carry on and concentrate on all the new things she was experiencing. Though she wanted to leave and come back to Wellington, she agreed to continue on and she did enjoy herself overall. When she returned home to us, we talked about it and we agreed that she is someone who is what we would call a “homebody”. She likes to make a safe and comfortable place for herself and she feels a bit lost when she is away from her familiar surroundings. I think it is even more credit to her that in having that personality; she came all the way to NZ by herself and did so well here. Ikumi’s english improved hugely in her time in NZ and by the end of her time with, us conversations were easy and comfortable, with lots of jokes and laughter.
We will miss Ikumi; she is a lovely young lady who was a delight to host and we wish her all the best in her future.
David & Gillian