Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of walking away from your family to get on a plane, and fly thousands of miles away from everything you know. A range of emotions from nervousness to excitement overwhelmed me as boarded the plane. And the nervousness only grew the closer I got to my host country. But once I arrived and unpacked the nerves started to melt, and only the excitement about my new experience remained. My living situation is very unique and I wasn’t too sure about it but it has been a perfect set up for me and my personality. I am living in an apartment with 6 rooms, 2 bathrooms and 11 other American girls… Yes that’s right, 12 girls all in one apartment. As hectic as that sounds, it has actually been amazing. We have a host mom and dad that live in a separate apartment but in the same building, they cook and clean for us everyday and essentially take care of us like we were their own children. I am not the best with change, but I still wanted to experience the immersion of a homestay. This set up has given me a perfect balance of a familiarity of home and Spanish culture.
Here are a few things I have learned through this immersion:
- The language barrier makes things hard but not impossible, in just a short time I have picked up on phrases that make simple conversation easier from just listening to my host mom and dad. They do not speak any English and so we are all constantly exposed to the language, and it has been very helpful. Body language is also incredibly important, and reading it in Spain has been an entirely new experience that allows me to understand even when I don’t understand.
- I am growing into someone who will try new things, from food to being open to talk to new people I have been able to create new experiences for myself and find new things that I now love