As I mentioned before, one of the things I was most nervous about with this experience was my choice of a homestay instead of an apartment with other UF students. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to communicate, do the things I’d want to do, have certain limitations, make friends easily, etc.
About a week and a half prior, I walked into the lobby of my assigned residence and waited for my host family to come meet me. I was thrilled to be greeted by the most adorable, little curly-haired dog, filling me with joy. However, I was also suddenly overwhelmed by the immediate immersion into speaking Spanish after hours of travel and being extremely tired. I was at a loss for words, and I honestly didn’t process a lot of the things I was being told.
With each day that passes, I learn more and grow closer to my new “family.” I find it easier to speak Spanish and communicate, as I consistently hear and utilize the language at home, in class, and on the streets. I was told “don’t think of this as a hotel or somewhere you’re just staying for the summer, this is now your home in Spain.” Every day, I can’t wait to come home after my classes to eat lunch and see Pita, the tiny dog, who now recognizes me as part of the family, is filled with excitement, and runs into my room and hops onto my bed for me to pet her. Lunch comes around, and from Spanish tortillas, to paella, to gazpacho, I try something new every time, experiencing new flavors and small Spanish meal conversations about our days.
Besides all of that, one of the nicest things is never having to cook, clean, do laundry and all the other chores that take up time while I’m here in Spain, so I can spend my days studying and exploring.
To say the least, none of my reservations about the homestay were true. My freedom is not limited as I can come in and out of the house whenever I desire; I made wonderful friends who live nearby, and I can hold meaningful conversations with my family. Greatest of all, I feel no discomfort being in this foreign country, in someone else’s home, as I feel like I am part of the family, and my homestay parent refers to me as her daughter.
Until next time,