France, French Homestay, Lyon, Travel 35 COMMENTS

Where in the World am I? I’m in Craponne, France!

Craponne is probably a place you’ve never heard of before in your entire life, which is okay, because I didn’t know this place existed up until a month and a half ago. It’s a small, peaceful town just a few minutes by car or public transport from Lyon, France’s third largest city, in the Rhône-Alpes region. I’ll be living here for two months (November & December, originally three months but there was a problem with my visa and the French embassy could only grant me the two extra months after my Eurotrip) with the Garcia family, learning all about the French culture, their food, way of life, and hopefully pick up more of their language while teaching them conversational English in return. It’s a pretty awesome deal.

I’ve been planning this homestay since the beginning of the year when I randomly stumbled upon Cultural Homestay International after how many nights of endless Google searches on programs that would allow me to live in France for a short period of time without having to go through the pain-staking process of looking for a job and applying for a work visa, or having to pay hefty fees to study again. I wanted full-on immersion, where I didn’t have to worry about working or studying, just living in a different country for a while, and CHI’s World Explorers Program was what made this a possibility. You can read all about the CHI World Explorers Program on their website, which will answer all your questions about how the program works, but to be clear, it is a PAID program — meaning you WILL have to pay to live with your host family. It was a painless process, though, and the World Explorers program head, Heidi, made it a very easy process as well. All I had to do was fill up my application, pay a downpayment fee, wait a bit until they found me a family and here I am! I think waiting to be matched with a family was the hardest part… But basically you’ll have Heidi help you through everything.

I scheduled the homestay to commence right after my Eurotrip with Gab, so I’d save on airfare and because I wanted to experience winter + the holiday season. Europe is great with Christmas markets, so that’s something I’m terribly excited to see with my own eyes.  I’ll try to document my life in France as much as I can and blog about it weekly.

Being it only my second day here, I’m still a little uncomfortable to move about the house freely, which of course wouldn’t come as a surprise. This family and I are strangers to one another. I wouldn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable in their own home, or I wouldn’t want to offend — so for now I’m treading carefully. Just this morning I stayed in my room for about 2 hours before stepping out, all because I felt too awkward to go to the bathroom even though I really needed to pee. I know, it’s ridiculous! Give me a few more days and I’ll start feeling normal again.

If you’re wondering about my host family — they’re exactly what I was hoping for. Initially, I was very anxious and scared that we wouldn’t be a match, that maybe there would be too much of a difference in interests, but I’m glad to say that they’re very warm & welcoming, eager to learn the English language and also enthusiastic with teaching me all about the French culture. Oh, and they love wine — I mean, of course they do, they’re French afterall — which is great because I love wine and have always wanted to learn more about it!

Wish me luck, and I can’t wait to share all my new experiences on this blog. :-)



I’m also in the process of trying to edit my Eurotrip photos so I can share with you guys everything we saw and did. Thanks for the patience, I know I’m taking forever!

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  • Reply Michelle B 2 November 2015 at 1:17 am

    So brave of you for doing this! Two months is quite a long time to be spent with a family you haven’t met and you’re actually doing it so, kudos to you! I have to ask, what made you push through with all of this? :D

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:20 am

      Thanks Mich! :) What made me push through? Well, it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do since forever, and when my endless google searching finally led me to the exact answer I’ve been looking for, I knew it was now or never. I’m young, nothing ties me down, I can do whatever I want with the money I’ve earned and so I just went for it. I’ve been here for 2-3 days and already I know FOR SURE that this is something I would do all over again. I’m so disappointed I can’t stay for 3 full months. Haha

  • Reply Louise Ramos 2 November 2015 at 1:39 am

    This is so inspiring. Travel goals and all the living like a local thing; can’t do that yet (and I doubt that I’m ready at this time for a huuuuge thing like that) so kudos to you for such a bold move. I really enjoy your snaps and tweets about your trip lately haha. I even got legit sad over you and Gab not seeing each other for 2 months </3 Enjoy the rest of your trip still! ❤️
    Caffeine Rush

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:22 am

      Aww! Haha Yeah I had that Instagram post and a lot of people seemed to really like it and feel saddened by it. I think my feelings were so intense that pouring it out over social media spilled through everyone’s screens and they felt what I was feeling. Haha

      But hey, maybe one day when you’re ready! I wasn’t ready too before, I had to wait until I could make it happen for myself and when I found the opportunity, I just took it and ran with it. What else is there left to do, right? :)

  • Reply Elle Strange 2 November 2015 at 1:59 am

    OMG. I feel really excited for this chapter of your life, Camie! I wish you all the best and even though I miss seeing your posts popping into my dashboard, I will be patiently waiting for your updates. Teehee!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:23 am

      Thanks Elle! I know, I’m struggling to find the time to edit photos + vlog videos + document my stay here. It’s overwhelming!!!! Haha

  • Reply Pia Bona 2 November 2015 at 7:56 am

    You go, girl! You must be living a very interesting and entertaining life right now. More wines to drink and cheese to smell. Be safe!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:18 am

      Thanks Pia! Well, yes I’d have to agree life is pretty interesting right now… I’m really glad I went for it and made it happen! :)

  • Reply Corinth 2 November 2015 at 11:06 am

    Oh them wine and cheese! :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:18 am

      Cheese after every main meal (literally), and lots of wine on weekends. YAAAAAS

  • Reply Leslie 2 November 2015 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for sharing this experience and information Camie! I’d love to do something like that. So interesting!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:17 am

      No problem! :D The only requirement is you tutor/teach english at least 3 hours a day from monday-friday, which isn’t a problem if English is already your first language! Generally though, they prefer english speakers from places like the US/UK, so I had to show proof that I could speak English well through my YouTube videos!

  • Reply Cara 2 November 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Omg! This is actually one of the many things I was planning to do – I’ve looked up travel and study abroad programs and all, but I felt like I’m not quite there just yet. Right now I’m living with a roommate in Hawaii but I’m basically on my own. Months in and there are still days wherein everything feels overwhelming and scary and the homesickness is just awful – but at the end of the day I relish the form of independence that I have. So much adventure awaits! I hope the same for you.

    This is so exciting and inspiring. I look forward to your stories and your life in France, Camie! :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:16 am

      Thanks Cariza! :D

      I actually like what you’re doing and wish I could just up and move. I quite like the feeling of fear when it comes to things like this, because I know I can overcome it and when I do it feels like I can just about do anything!

      One question, why Hawaii? :)

  • Reply Alissa 2 November 2015 at 1:34 pm

    SO excited for you Camie! I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun there even without Gab. Thanks for mentioning the program you are in. I would love to do this if I can.

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:14 am

      Of course, I’m sure a lot of people would be interested too. :)

  • Reply Rej Relova 2 November 2015 at 1:38 pm

    This sounds tempting. I actually want to try and live in another country even for a few weeks/months. Hope you’re having fun! :)

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:14 am

      Thanks Rej! :) I’m having a blast!

  • Reply MJ Matienzo 2 November 2015 at 3:31 pm

    This is such a great experience at a very young age. Have fun and treasure each and every moment of your stay there!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:13 am

      I feel like it’s something I would do again in a few years time, depending on schedule and finances! Haha And thank you :)

  • Reply Nichole 2 November 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I can’t believe the Eurotrip with Gab is over! Time flies by too fast :( But wow, this is such a great opportunity! I’ve always admired you for your confidence and your willingness to chase after your dreams. Are you going to share them the Filipino culture as well? :) Enjoy Camie, we can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:13 am

      The Eurotrip flew by so fast, though during the trip itself it felt like time went on as normal. Now that it’s over, I just realized how fast it went!

      Yes, I do share with them information about Philippine culture and we discuss differences and similarities :)

  • Reply Yana C. (@tristinalyana) 2 November 2015 at 6:12 pm

    What a great opportunity. I’m sure it’ll be awesome!

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:12 am

      Thanks Yana! :) It already is pretty awesome and it’s only day 2!

  • Reply Kaye 3 November 2015 at 12:15 am

    I didn’t know you were staying there for a while. That’s so awesome! Now I’m curious about this program. Thanks for sharing about this Camie. This is actually a good option for people wanting to migrate but afraid of not being able to adapt the culture and lifestyle. Like a test phase. I don’t know if that’s the best decision though. Haha!

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of your journey!! :))

    • Reply Camie Juan 3 November 2015 at 5:11 am

      Yes, that’s a good idea for people who want to experience lifestyle, though I think it would still be heaps different considering you’d be living with people and won’t have to pay for anything else except personal expenses… It might not really give you the REAL feel of living abroad and how it is dealing with moving, and adjusting with new governments, etc etc. Though it’s great exposure for learning culture and customs! :)

  • Reply Patricia 3 November 2015 at 9:43 am

    This is so cool, Camie! May I ask how much did you pay for the program? I’m really interested in doing this someday :) Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  • Reply Cyndrel 3 November 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Craponne…that’s something to remember! Enjoy your immersion on French culture! Can’t wait for your other Euro trip blog posts…but yeah, I understand that you’re still ‘overwhelmed’ about everything that’s happening to you right now. Haha~ have fun learning and teaching! You are totally living your past life, French girl! :)

  • Reply Kristine 4 November 2015 at 5:50 am

    Wow. This is really a great idea, I mean you could be in another country learning cultures and to be with other people that you really don’t know is a brave thing to do. But I am sure you’ll enjoy two months in France! :) photos looks lovely and always be safe :)

  • Reply Chel 5 November 2015 at 9:27 am

    I’m so jealous of your Europe travels! Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to save up for it xx Also, my boyfriend is from Lyon and he said that Craponne is a beautiful place. Eat lots of French cheese for me :)

  • Reply Sara 6 November 2015 at 4:13 am

    Oh my goodness, home staying and immersing yourself in a completely new and different culture is such a bold yet brave move! Kudos to you! I feel like I would love to have an opportunity like that but, unfortunately, at this time I have to prioritize school.

    It looks very quaint in Craponne? Is it considered a suburban area? I would love to go one day and I’m very envious that you get to experience this. I think I will have to live vicariously through you… for now, haha!

    P.S. Absolutely can NOT wait for the photos – You have a knack for taking incredibly good ones!

  • Reply Marla Esquivel 8 November 2015 at 8:22 am

    I do hope that you get to settle and be comfortable as easy as possible at your new, i mean 2-month stay there. Afterall, France is your home Ate Camie!!! <3

  • Reply K 10 November 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Camie, I know there’s only a small chance you’ll be able to read this, but I wanna tell you anyway. In a nutshell: I love you and I look up to you. Thank you for inspiring, although unknowingly, this 16 year old. :) There’s so much to tell, but this will do. Enjoy Europe, Camie! Someday I hope to be there, too. :)

  • Reply Precious 14 November 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Camie! This may be something I would like to do in the very near future. Just a note not related to this post, what font did you use for the word France in your photo? Thanks!

  • Reply Mikey 3 December 2015 at 8:09 am

    Hi Camie! Funny, I also stumbled upon CHI this morning as I was searching for alternative accomodation abroad aside from hostels and hotels! Reading through their program really excited me and I really, really want to give it a try (as soon as I get my finances in order) and seeing that you’re currently doing their cultural homestay made me happy since I now have a resource person! Hahaha :) Enjoy France, Camie!

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