Living with a Host Family in Spain

Vanessa Chiodo
Major: Spanish
Universidad de Cantabria, Spain, Summer II, 2017

When thinking about studying abroad to Spain, I was super worried about my future host family. Two months is a long time to be uncomfortable in a random house with random people. I first messaged my host mom three weeks before the program and just told her who I was and that I was going to be living with her. She told me it was just her and her 13 year old son and she was excited to meet me.

I met my host family after a long week of traveling and I was so nervous. I knocked on the door to her apartment and she was so excited when she opened the door. She gave me two kisses on my cheeks (which is standard in Spain). I then had to receive kisses from her 13 year old son, who felt as awkward as I did during the process. I was shown my room and she told me that she had to leave to go grocery shopping because I arrived on Saturday and on Sunday, almost all of the stores are closed. I unpacked my stuff and laid down in my new bed and contemplated my next two months in Spain. The first day was awkward because I was tired and overwhelmed. My host brother was quiet because he was shy and I couldn’t always understand my host mom, but he helped me understand.

It’s hard to believe that was only a month ago, because now, I talk to my host brother at all meals and it’s easy to talk to my host mom. I can form sentences faster and actually vocalize my thoughts without getting lost in them. I get along super well with my host family and I like them a lot. I think it’s easy to think the worst when thinking about living with a host family, but most families have done this before and are ready to welcome you with open arms into their house. Even now, my host mom always lets me know that this is my house too now and she enjoys helping me with homework because she takes her job as a host mom seriously. It also immerses me deep into the culture of Spain which I wouldn’t get without my host family.

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