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Sneak Peak Into Living with a Host Family

Written by: BayLeigh Routt

Studying in Segovia, Spain, this past summer was one of the greatest journeys that I have ever embarked on. During my time abroad, I learned about myself immensely and grew so much more than I ever thought possible. I am incredibly grateful to have had such an amazing, hilarious, generous, and caring host mom (or my señora). I also owe a lot of thanks to my parents, Director Stewart, and one of my professors for their kindness and support during my time abroad. I am very grateful to have had such an awesome opportunity, and can’t wait to go back!

When you stay with a host family, it might be a little nerve-wracking at first because you’re living in a new country with different customs and expectations. Your host family’s house may look nothing like yours; the smells and sounds will be totally different than your own. It’ll be strange sleeping in a bed so far from home, but eventually, I hope you learn to love living with a host family as much as I did. Throughout the duration of my stay, I really grew to appreciate living with a host family. It gave me a sneak peak into life in Spain. Every house seemed a little different based on what I heard from other students on the trip, which is a bit exciting because I feel as though homes in America have something in common even if the structure is different.

In addition, staying with a host family really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I love meeting new people, even though I’m shy, and I enjoy trying new foods. The times that you eat varies upon what your country in, which might take some getting used to. Not only that, the food is different of course. There will be some food you might not really like, but be as honest as you can be without being disrespectful. My host mom was very comforting because she always told me and my roommate that whenever we got full, just tell her and we didn’t have to eat any more. If you find that you don’t like a certain dish, you could always use being full as a way to politely decline finishing your plate or even more food. I encourage you to try it and to eat as much as you can, but obviously don’t make yourself miserable.

Furthermore, I will let you know that there will be miscommunications. It just happens when you’re learning a second language and your host family doesn’t know any of your first language. Misunderstandings will happen, but take them in stride. Assess the situation when or after a misunderstanding arises. Be polite and positive. Laugh it off when you can; during the moment might work if you have a host mom as humors and carefree as I did. One time my roommate and I misunderstood our host mother’s instructions about dinner and accidentally missed dinner that she cooked because we had gotten dinner on our own; we had thought that she asked if we could get dinner in town and said yes, not realizing that she’d cook dinner for us before she went to visit a friend for dinner. We got back before she did that night and left a note in the kitchen, explaining the situation. The next morning when we talked to her she giggled and said that it was no big deal, that we all make mistakes. Hearing her giggle helped relieve mine and my roommate’s worries.

All in all, I encourage you take everything in strides. There will be hard and stressful moments, but there will be amazing and fun ones as well. Make the most of your journey abroad. Try the pastry or food that you see at the restaurant in the plaza. Travel to another city or another country if you can. Spend time with your host family; get to know them and their interests. Indulge and treat yo self to the tour of the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, even though it’s 18€ and you might be the only one interested at first. You might convince 2-3 others to go with you at the last minute. I hope that you enjoy your month or semester abroad as much as I did.


BayLeigh Routt

Spain II Summer
Transylvania University

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