That's a tough question. Certainly going as a tourist doesn't show you what living there is like. When you stay for a while, you tend to go through stages of acculturation, including culture shock, where you may be really uncomfortable for a while. For student studying abroad, that often happens in the 3rd or 4th month. That's why we often advise students to go for a full year, not just a semester. One semester gives them just enough time to go into culture shock. But it's still different from living in a place permanently, where you're dealing with the issues of arranging and paying for housing, utilities etc., going to work every day, coping with the people as co-workers and neighbors. I don't think you can really know what those things are like until you do them.