Apartment or Homestay: Why I Chose Homestay

Molly Hancuh is a student at the University of Minnesota Morris and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

When I decided to study abroad, I knew that I was going to stay in a homestay.

There was never a doubt in my mind that I’d spend three months living with a family that 1) didn’t speak my language, 2) would teach me about everyday life in Barcelona, and 3) was a support system to help me through difficult times while away from home.

My Spanish family did all of these things for me and much more.

Resting at my host family’s apartment with their dog, Turron!

I was amazed the first night Leo, my fifteen-year-old host brother, came to my room and invited me to watch the Barcelona soccer game with him. We hardly spoke to one another through the game, but we bonded over screaming at the TV and complaining about the unfair calls. From then on, we watched almost every game together.

Maribel, my host mom, spoke about three sentences of English. While the language barrier caused some incredibly frustrating situations, my comprehension improved immensely, as did my comfort level speaking to native Spanish speakers. When I was feeling too sick to get out of bed, she even brought me tea and soup in bed. She insisted on taking my temperature whenever I was awake and ensured I was drinking enough water.

On a Saturday when the majority of my friends were either traveling or busy, Maribel offered to take me to the market with her. We bought the groceries for the week, enjoyed some gelato, and took her dog for a walk around the Gothic Quarter. It was one of my favorite weekends in Barcelona.

The daily schedule in Barcelona was incredibly different than what I was used to in the US. Living in a homestay forced me to adjust to their schedule. While eating dinner after 8 was a major adjustment, I learned to love ending the day with a family meal and fun conversation.

When I chose a homestay, I didn’t feel that I was picking a building to live in but a family to live with. While there were difficult times concerning language barriers, adhering to another family’s schedule, and not completely having my own space, it was worth it for the cultural experience and amazing support system.



Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

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