Everybody told me that the way to get the most out of my study abroad experience was to apply for a host family. One of my main goals while studying in Granada, Spain, was to learn Spanish and learn more about Spanish culture, so living with a Spanish family just made sense. As the date of my departure approached, I became more and more anxious about the prospect of living in a house full of strangers: What if I couldn’t communicate with them? What if I didn’t like the food? And, most importantly, what if they didn’t like me? While I am only two months into my study abroad experience, I already know that choosing a host family was the best decision I could have made. Here are three reasons why:
Obviously, one of the best things about living with a host family is the ability to practice a new language. I was a little intimidated when I first learned that my host mom, Marieta, didn’t speak a lot of English, but now, I look forward to our conversations around the dinner table and being able to use the new tenses and vocabulary I’m learning in my classes. And it’s nice having somebody that will stop and correct you if you say something wrong!
Everybody will tell you that Spanish host moms make the best food, and they are right! I was initially nervous about the fact that my host mom made a lot of seafood, because it’s not something I eat a lot in the US, but I have not met a dish I don’t like yet. Marieta’s Cazuela de fideos and her paella are my two favorite dishes that she makes. The trick is to keep an open mind and try everything!
Even though I haven’t been in Granada for very long, my host family really has become my second family. Marieta reminds me a lot of my own mom: she is always excited and interested to hear about my plans for the day and is good at listening when I am homesick or sad. My host sister, Claudia, is only two years older than me, so we have become fast friends. I also consider my roommate a part of my Spanish family, and consider myself lucky to have two sisters in Spain. Even Chanel (my host dog) is quick to greet me at the door!
Overall, I am certain that choosing to live with a host family was the best option for me. I enjoy having a support system when I am so far from my home in the United States! It is nice to be able to come home at the end of the day to a family.
The world awaits…discover it.