While staying with a host family, can you go still go out to eat?

Answer

Hi Mara,

You absolutely can -- and you should! Host family placements are almost always arranged through a contract with your study abroad program provider, and the contract will state how much your family is expected to feed you. This can vary from breakfast and dinner during the week to daily meals, and will depend on your provider and placement.

That being said, these aren't ironclad rules, and most host families tend to be pretty flexible about meal plans, especially if you're eating out (thereby saving them money!). In fact, they'll probably encourage you to go out and get a taste for the local cuisine.

Just don't forget your manners, and make sure you let your family know what your plans are. For example, when I was studying abroad in Argentina, my host family asked me to give them a heads-up by noon if I was planning on being out for dinner that night, so they didn't end up making extra food. It's just common courtesy, but it can also be easy to forget, especially if you're a last-minute planner like me, so make sure to ask your host family how they'd like you to let them know if you'll be bailing on dinner, then go out and enjoy your meal!

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