If I can give you any study abroad advice, it would be to live in a homestay. I have been in Seville for about 3 weeks now. Coming here I was extremely nervous to stay in a homestay. I was nervous to share a room with someone I didn’t know, I was nervous I wouldn’t like the cooking, and most of all I was nervous my host mom wouldn’t like me. Every single one of those things couldn’t be further from the truth. To stay I am ecstatic about my homestay is an understatement.
I currently live with Concha in Los Remedios. She is kind-hearted and unapologetically hilarious. From the second I stepped of the bus, I was welcomed with open arms. She is constantly stuffing me with her delicious food and sharing her funny stories. She is more than accommodating, especially with me being a pescatarian. Not only is Concha great, but my roommate and I get along well with our host brother and host sister, with whom we share the house. I cannot forget to mention our two furry little friends -- Leo and Milka, the Persian cats. I feel comfortable to sit on the couch and have a conversation with my host family, and I feel just as comfortable to retreat to my cozy room when it’s time for a siesta or I just need a little break. I share my room with one other student. My roommate and I didn’t know each other coming into the program, but whoever put us together did a great job because we are scarily the same. Our room is the perfect size for the two of us, and Concha makes sure we have everything we could need. We each have our own closet, which is big enough for the ridiculous amount of clothes I decided to bring and includes some shelves a bedside table. If we are not in our room or spending time with our host family, we are probably out exploring the neighborhood we live in, Los Remedios.
Los Remedios is over the bridge and about a 25-minute walk from the center of the city. It is mainly a residential neighborhood but is filled with places to shop and a whole lot of good food. No matter what time of day it is, the streets are lively with the laughter of children and the sound of Spanish families enjoying themselves over tapas. Los Remedios is the perfect location for my homestay; it is close enough to the center but gives me the cultural experience of living in Spanish neighborhood. I can go to the tapas bar that is connected to my apartment building and meet locals who will tell me places to go for the best croquettes or the local tailor for my ripped romper.
Living in a homestay has drastically impacted my stay in Seville so far in a wonderful way. I have a place to go home to at the end of the night that makes me feel welcomed and comforted in a foreign place. I am able to expand and practice my Spanish with my family, I have an immediate friend, my roommate, and I get an authentic cultural experience having connections with locals in a local neighborhood. If I had chosen another housing option, I would still be having the best time of life -- but living in a homestay, I get to experience some comforting and exciting perks. If you are considering living in a homestay, I urge you to do it. Face your fear of a language barrier or anything else that may be standing in your way, because at the end of the day, those people want you in their home to make your experience abroad the best it can be.
Marley Lucas is a CEA Content Contributor studying abroad in Seville, Spain, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is currently a student at the College of Charleston.