Discovery Externship Program Homestays
"At the Homestay, On the Porch"
When the Discovery Externship model was conceived, there was a major logistics problem. It was designed as a short-term summer program that would fit well for rising juniors between K's late finish in June and study abroad departures that began as early as July (two-thirds of all long-term programs depart prior to Labor Day). But since it was a short-term experience, apartment sublets were not possible, hotel costs were too high, the U.S. is horrible on the hostel front, and residence halls at colleges and universities would not book short-term stays. So we were left with a problem—where would externs sleep? We took a deep breath and called our alumni site sponsors back, asking if they would take externs into their homes, as well as into their workplaces. To our surprise, most of them said, "Yes." This created Discovery's emphasis on homestays and it gave rise to a phenomenon we neither designed nor anticipated—Porch Time.
Porch Time is an evening walk. It's a morning commute. It's a weekend tour. It's a dinner table conversation. And because it's in the summer, it's discussions on decks, patios, and porches. Porch Time is where sponsors and externs talk about the workday they just shared. They talk about life at K. They discuss family, neighborhoods, and communities of all kinds. They talk about politics, social change, films, food, and more. And some even talk about work as part of a bigger life.
Just as work is a slice of the Discovery Externship that begs for the curiosity and questions of externs, Porch Time might give rise to even more questions. The work site may be what you list on your next resume, but you may find that it is the Porch Time through which you learn the most. In Discovery Externship experiences, you will be living with a K alum. The homestay provides the student and the alum with a time to connect outside of the normal work environment. You can take advantage of this one-on-one time by asking your Discovery Externship sponsor questions about career-related issues or perhaps about how they balance their professional and personal lives. The homestay is often where the "real connection" happens between you and the sponsor and is an integral part of the Discovery Externship Program.