When Wan Yin from Taiwan enrolled in an intensive month-long German class, she decided it would be a good idea to reintroduce herself to the language before commencing her studies.
With this in mind, she started looking for the perfect German family to stay with when Mat's profile caught her eye. Mat has been hosting guests in his Berlin home for over two years now. An artist and a teacher, he loves to cook with guests, play music and garden in his spare time.
Wan Yin with Mat, his daughter and two sons
This was my first experience of staying in a homestay and I really enjoyed the time I spent with my host Mat. From my bedroom to the meals Mat cooked, his family and the beautiful surrounding made my trip special.
Meal cooked by Mat for his homestay guests
Mat has a beautiful garden with a nice swimming pool and a lovely house where he plays many different kinds of music! I found it to be a very comfortable place to stay and I had lots of space to relax. I met his family members too. They are all very friendly, open minded and like to share. I have some very touching memories with them.
Wan Yin enjoys some fresh air in the garden with the family
Another homestay guest, Colm from Ireland, and I went to visit the Alexanderplatz and Ostkreuz station during my first week. They are similar to some places in Taiwan, where I'm from, but much bigger! I found the Berlin locals to be very nice. They are always willing to help you. Now my trip is over, I'll attend a language school called "Sprachenaterlier" where I hope I will learn a lot of German.
Staying with Mat not only helped Wan Yin improve her language skills but also gave her a unique opportunity to learn about German culture through a local family. Likewise, Mat and his family got to learn more about Wan Yin's life back home in Taiwan and she even taught them some Chinese during her stay.
Mat and Juli during a Chinese lesson with Wan Yin
The S-Bahn and U-Bahn in Berlin are both very convenient for travelling around the city. You can download the app called "BVG Fahrinfo Plus Berlin", and it's very useful. Most importantly, I think you have to choose which part of the city you live in carefully because the cost of the ticket will vary greatly as a result. For example, I lived in the "C" part so I had to buy an "ABC" ticket so I could transfer to different parts of Berlin.
Mat prepares a home cooked meal for the family
I had a great experience with my host. Mat is very good at cooking. I got to taste some delicious traditional food made by him. We also cooked another meal together and I made some Taiwanese food for them on a different day. Thankfully, they enjoyed the Taiwanese food a lot!
Traditional Taiwanese food cooked by Wan Yin for her hosts and another guest
In Mat's house, I also saw a heating system for the first time. It amazed me because we don't need this in Taiwan. I liked to chat with Mat too. He has a warm heart and I learned many things from him about gardening, the heating system and the values of life.
Wan Yin enjoys dinner with hosts Mat and Juli and another homestay guest, Colm.
After a great stay with her host Mat and his family, when asked if Wan Yin would stay with them again she simply replied that she would definitely return to visit.
"Mat was like a father, taking care of me during my stay. I created a lot of good memories in their home. If you want to experience the suburbs of Berlin life, I recommend you visit Mat's home!"
Discover its rich history, and culture or visit to brush up on your German with your host.
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