Mi casa es tu casa: a home stay experience

Today we would like to introduce you to Emma. The 19-years-old university student is currently on her gap year so she and her friend are doing a trip through Europe. She decided to do a big stop in Ronda to take part in the volunteering program at Entrelenguas. She is staying with a host family and we interviewed her to find out more about how it is to live with a Spanish family.

When she found out she was going to be living with a host family, she was excited to be immersed in the Spanish culture, but also nervous because it was a new experience for her. “I knew there would be some things that would be different then at home in Canada but that I would just embrace it for what it was.” 

We wanted to know more about her daily life in the family. Emma describes the daily life at her host family to be pretty similar to any family. The daughter and the father go to work or school earlier in the morning and she usually eats breakfast with her host mother and helps her clean up after the meal. Usually the whole family eats lunch together around 3 pm and dinner around 9 pm. In the evenings, they like to watch television together.

She tells us that the biggest difference between a Spanish and a Canadian family is the meal times. “In Canada we eat for lunch and dinner much earlier. Also here, lunch seems to be a bigger meal when everyone is together whereas in Canada dinner is more significant.”

Also Emma is taking part in the volunteering program. In her free time when she is not working, she usually walks around new parts of the city or finding new trails near the bridge. “There is definitely plenty of time to explore outside if volunteering and taking Spanish classes.”

Attending the Spanish classes helped her to improve her Spanish a lot. “It is hard to not to learn when you are constantly immersed in the language.” Especially volunteering in a nursery and learning alongside the children. Living with a family who speaks almost no English means you are forced to learn quickly. Everything together really helped enhance the experience.

And lastly, Emma’s advice for future students living in a host family means to have an open mind and be flexible because it is going to be different than home, that is given. But if you are eager to learn the language and the culture, your family will be excited to teach you. You can get out of the experience as much as you would like but the more you talk and engage with your family the better it will be. Highly recommended!

© By Sonia Octavio

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