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I came to Shanghai about three weeks ago to study Chinese language in a local university. First thing I did when I arrived was to look for a place to live. As it was my first time coming to Shanghai (and China for that matter), I have no clue what to expect and was obviously lost when I arrived here. Shanghai is surprisingly pretty big! I tried my luck with real estate agencies (phew, they are everywhere), but it was honestly just a waste of time. They speak little English so I probably spent a good hour making sign languages to them, trying to make them understand what I'm saying. All they did was offer me ridiculously high-priced apartments too (seeing that I'm a young foreigner they probably tried their best to scam me).
Luckily, I met an expat here who recommended me to try homestay. I was skeptical and hesitant at first because I didn't really want to live with locals but seeing that I have no other options, I thought I should give it a try. I scouted the web and www.homestayglobal.com came up. I emailed them and got a response immediately. They arranged a meeting with the host, and took me to see the house. The host family seemed nice and the house, although a bit old, really gave me a feeling of belongingness.
I'm now staying with the family and I'm really happy that I gave it a chance. The people I'm with are really nice and regularly cook dinner for me. Aside from improving my Mandarin quicker than what I expected, I was able to learn how to make Jiaozi (dumplings). Mmm.. yummy! It has been a pleasant experience so far; I would like to thank Homestayglobal for their help. My experience so far has been truly unique and memorable.
If you're coming to study, work, or just experience life in China, think about doing homestay; it will probably change your life.