During my time in Sevilla, I have had the opportunity to meet many Spaniards, and I have learned so much from all of these unexpected interactions. Of all the people I have encountered, however, my favorite interactions have been with my Spanish host family. Many encounters have been random for me: chatting with locals at Carnaval, talking to Sevillanos in restaurants, or meeting others during Semana Santa processions. These interactions are great as well, as I really do enjoy meeting new people and practicing my Spanish. However, I interacted with my Spanish family every day and that has been more meaningful for me. Here are three things I have appreciated from my host family, and three reasons why I would recommend host families to any study abroad student:
- The Language: My host family has been with me through all of my language struggles this semester, and I am so grateful for their infinite patience. I have learned a countless amount of words from my family, many revolving around food as we eat every day together, and I have practiced speaking the language with them every day. My knowledge and confidence with Spanish has grown thanks to my family.
- Cultural Conversations: While getting to know my host family this semester, I also learned more about their opinions of and experience with aspects of Spanish culture. Many of these conversations included Spanish history, politics, and cultural norms. Receiving their perspective on Spanish culture has been a valuable learning experience.
- We laugh together: As the semester progressed and my Spanish improved, I loved joking and laughing with my host family. Andalucian humor is often different from American humor, and is sometimes difficult to understand. Laughing with my host mom and sisters about mishaps, television programs, and simple jokes has been one of my most memorable experiences.
In addition to these three reasons, having a family away from home helped me through all of the ups and downs of studying abroad. For these reasons, I am eternally grateful for my lovely Spanish family!