Global Voluntary Development Association

Independents Homestay Program

The Independence Homestay Program offers participants a special insight into the host country’s society through experiencing daily life, customs and values. The Independent Homestay Program is an intensive cross-cultural experience and is not a tour or travel program. There are no outside touring programs organized, and you may notwork or attend school during your homestay. You will be received as a member of the family and will be involved in the dailyactivities of that family. You will also have opportunities to go off and explore the host community independently, so you must feel somewhat comfortable with the host country language and exploring on your own.

One of the nice aspects to the Independent Homestay Program is its flexibility. You set your own start and end dates for one to four weeks throughout the year, and you may choose 42 tribes among the Kenyan communities or regions of interest as a homestay destination preference. Although we cannot guarantee your preferences, every attempt will be made to accommodate you in our of your three choices. You may also wish to participate in two consecutive homestay in one the communities of Kenya to a different community for another homestay. Many communities in Kenya can even accommodate couples.


The Independent Homestay focuses on the homestay experience. There is no better way to learn or improve your knowledge about a culture and a language than to live with a family and experience every day life first hand. By living with a family, you are given the opportunity to share in meals, conversation, and daily activities. You will have your own bed and full board (3 meals a day). Most host families are volunteer families and are motivated by the idea of making cross-cultural friendship. They do not see themselves as a hotel. Most families want to get to know you as a person and hope to continue the friendship after the homestay. It is an appropriate gesture to take your host family a small gift from your community or country to thank them for welcoming you into their home.

Host families are carefully selected and screened. Some families have hosted before, but for others it is a first time experience. Your family might be a couple with or without children, a single parent, or a singe person interested in other cultures. All participants must be willing to accept the family matched to them.

Host families are not required or expected to be a tour guide. Within each family you will experience a different dynamic. Typical family activities have often included attending family picnics or visiting relative, going to the movies with a host family member, enjoying long dinners together, meeting the neighbors community , and visiting local shops, site, and city centers together. We ask that you not travel overnight away from your homestay, but you are certainly welcome and expected to explore the area pm your own or with friends you have met in the community.

You will be sent your host family details, including name, address, and telephone number along with some general information about the family within a week prior to your departure. Often you will have placement information earlier than that. You should write or call your host family before arrival in order to introduce yourself personally.


A local representative will assist you with questions you may have during your stay. You will be given the name of the local representative along with your host family details. If you have any questions or difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact your local representative. He or she is there for you.


Upon acceptance to the Independent Homestay Program, make travel arrangements. With host family all travel arrangements are the responsibility of the participant and need to be booked according to instructions. Typically, airport . We will assist as much as possible in suggesting travel arrangements to the homestay community.

However, the ground transportation is your responsibility and you may need to make some transfers independently. In some cases, GVDA representative or your host family will meet you at the airport to the host community.


GVDA Participants accepted for the Independent Homestay Program are expected to have an interest in other cultures and participate as fully as possible in family life. The program is available for participants with intermediate to advanced language experience for the host community. Although a few host families my speak some it is expected that participants will make every effort to converse in the language of the family host community. Please note: If you have elementary language skills, consider participating in one of our intensive language programs to improve your language skills before taking part in one of our Independent Homestay Programs.

You are not allowed to extend your stay with your host family, and you should not ask your family if you might stay longer. Please remember that you family had made a commitment to host you for a specific time frame and it is unfair to pt tem in a position of feeling obligated to accommodate longer stays. If for some reason , your host family invites you to extend your stay, you must notify GVDA staff local representative. If your host family and the GVDA Partner office give approval for a program extension, you will be charged for each additional day’s stay.


Independent Homestay are typically available for 1 to 4 or 8 weeks, throughout the year.


  • • Room and board with a screened host family
  • • Support from the GVDA co-coordinators from the every beginning to he end of your homestay in Kenya with regular personal visits, telephone or email.


  • • Personal items and pocket money
  • • Independent activities or excursions
  • • Round trip air force or ground transportation to host community

Note: We recommends that participants budget approximately $ 500 as spending money for a one-month program to cover additional expenses for excursions, public transportation, telephone calls, souvenirs, emergency while in Kenya.