There are only 5 days left!
It’s surreal to think that it’s coming to an end. For this blog post, I’m going to continue talking about the things that made me uncomfortable at first, but ultimately enhanced my experience. Last week, I discussed the difficulty of trying to communicate in Spanish in a business context. This week, I want to discuss the difficulty of leaving with a Spanish family and having to adjust to their customs.
First, I want to say that my host family is amazing. I have great host parents that go out of their way to make sure that I’m comfortable, and three host brothers that remind me of my nephews. However, it took some time to adjust so that I wasn’t viewed as just a house guest.
As I said before, the family went out of there way to make more comfortable, and that included small things like giving me my own bathroom and making dinner at an hour to which I was accustomed to speaking in English so that I understood. And initially, it helped with my transition. But, I wanted more than being just a guest, I wanted to be a part of the family. So, I told them that I only wanted to speak in Spanish, and they loved that I was willing to speak their language, and happy to help me.
And so again I underwent another transition, from American culture to Spanish culture, and then from speaking English to speaking Spanish. Of course, it was difficult at first, but soon I saw that my Spanish started to improve and that it was becoming easier. Now that I had started to communicate in the same language as the family, it was time to take it a step further in order to become a part of the family.
One of the things that I did, which was very useful, but also a great part of my home stay experience, was talking with my host brothers. I have 3 host brothers: 17, 15, and 8. With the 17 and 15 year old, I talked to them about what they did with their friends, their hobbies, sports, music, girls, goals, and whatever else came to mind. I also talked to them about college life in the U.S. which they loved. With the 8 year old, I taught him how to play a card game, and made up a handshake that we do every time he sees me. I also talked with my host parents about the Spanish economy, and other political and current events.
It’s easy to read about Spanish culture and watch tv shows, and they do have their place in helping one to acclimate themselves to the new culture, but I a found that hearing it from the source was the most effective. My host family is going to be one of the factors and aspects of my time here that I will miss immensely.