Living with a host family is a unique cultural experience like no other. It's one of the best ways to rapidly increase language proficiency while abroad, but there are many other benefits as well. Here I've listed what I've found to be the best perks of living in a Spanish home-stay.
- The people: My host family is amazing. I live with a married couple and their two adult daughters. They are all so kind, generous, and hospitable. We love telling stories and sharing laughs together. It's really fun to be able to learn about someone else's culture while living in it, and also sharing about your own as well. Host families are great because they want to help make the study abroad experience an enjoyable one, and it can help with the adjustment from American to Spanish culture, as they’re there to explain things in a non-threatening environment. You can ask them all the questions about the culture and the language you’re too embarrassed to ask anyone else.
| my host mom does so much for us,
including cooking all the meals!
- Meals and chores are taken care of: I totally recommend trying all the great restaurants and tapas bars you can, but when spending cash gets low, your host mom has you covered! Also, my señora changes the sheets on my bed, cleans my room, and does my laundry. Now that’s a sweet deal.
| my host dad Manuel is excited
for paella - who wouldn't be?
- The food: The homemade meals are reason enough to pick a homestay. Think lentil soup, tortilla española, fresh salads, empanadas, artisanal bread, local fried fish, seafood paella, vegetable paella, paella with pork. . . did I mention paella? Also, there's merienda, the Spanish tradition of a sweet afternoon snack, usually accompanied by coffee or tea. My host dad prepares coffee and cookies for us all every day, and it's one of my favorite things we do.
| the gameshow Pasapalabra is super fun to watch - if
you can keep up with the rapid-fire speech of the host
- Spanish TV: Another great way to improve your Spanish skills is by listening to Spanish TV shows, or even watching popular American movies dubbed in Spanish audio. And if you're missing your favorite shows from home, whether soap operas, action movies, the nightly news, game shows, or even the Bachelor, there’s pretty much a Spanish equivalent to all of those. I highly recommend First Dates (a reality show) and Pasapalabra, a fun gameshow my host parents watch religiously every night.
| room sweet room - my own corner of the
house to rest, relax, and do homework
- A relaxed atmosphere: For introverts (like me) or those who value a little more privacy, a homestay may be a better choice than a residencia. Even though there is another CEA student in the homestay, we each have our own rooms, so I've made a really good friend while still having a place to retreat when I need some alone time. And after a long day of class or going out with friends, I can come back to the peace and quiet of my homestay.
Study abroad itself is a life-changing experience, but choosing to live with a homestay family is an opportunity to create so many more unique, unforgettable memories.
Anastasia K. is the Spring 2018 MOJO in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying English at Liberty University.
Anastasia Kingsley is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain, and is currently studying at Liberty University.