Kristin Sutter is a student at Huntington University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica.
With the excitement of studying abroad comes the anticipation of many new experiences: new culture, new food, new friends, new language, etc. It is fun to imagine the adventures you will have and the stories you will be able to tell. Having the freedom to explore a new country is exhilarating! Even as all of those pieces parts shape and create your abroad experiences, there is another critical component: your host family. They are the ones who can provide a home away from home.
As I thought about and prepared for my trip to Costa Rica, the thing that I was most excited about was getting to live with a host family. I waited in anticipation to learn who they might be, and when I finally received the information, I was elated! It made the prospect of my going abroad seem more real, and much to my excitement, my family was composed of a mom, a dad, and three kids. I was ready to begin my adventure and meet my new family.
Nearing the end of my time here in Costa Rica, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have asked for a better host family! They welcomed me into their home and family with open arms. My mama tica (tico/tica is refers to a Costa Rican) is not just there to provide my meals and such, but rather she has become a companion and friend. Many nights, as she cleans the kitchen, a task she never lets me help with, I’ll stand in the doorway to keep her company. We talk about a variety of things ranging from music to plans for the future, from food to the kiddos. She is more than willing to help me with my homework, and I get to help her with hers periodically too! I cannot tell you how many times my mama tica has told me how much she loves hosting students!
My host siblings are bundles of energy! Whether we are playing games with my “Loopy” (aka: Snoopy) cards, doing “exercises” around the house, or making silly videos, I am never at a loss of ways to expend energy. Their laughter, smiles, and hugs always brighten my day!
Living with a host family has been one of my favorite abroad experiences. Take advantage of the opportunity you have to live with a native family and get to know them! My return to the States is bitter, sweet, as I’m excited to see my family back home, but also aware of the family I’m leaving here. I will forever cherish my family in Costa Rica, mi familia tica, and I hope to be able to visit them again, someday. I am so grateful for their hospitality and willingness to so openly invite me into their family.
The world awaits…discover it.