Study Abroad

Homestay Is Where The Heart Is

February 22, 2019

While filling out my application to study abroad, I was very apprehensive about what housing option to choose. Many people told me a homestay would offer a fun, meaningful experience, but I did not like the idea of living in someone else's home, so I was leaning towards choosing the apartment option. For some reason though, I listened to those around me and impulsively chose homestay. Once arriving to Sevilla, I quickly learned that I made the right choice. I lived with my host mother, María, and her children and their spouses would come over for siesta everyday. Being a part of their family for the semester offered me amazing experiences, like attending a Spanish baby shower, that I wouldn't have ever gotten living in an apartment.

María's son and his girlfriend were expecting a baby boy during my semester abroad. Although the baby was going to be born after I returned home, I still got to be apart of the excitement of a baby joining the family. María invited my roommate and I to join her, her son and his girlfriend, and their close family and friends during the baby shower. It only took place in the living room, but it couldn't have been more intimate and special. My host mother and her friends all spent time knitting clothing and accessories for the baby and presented a box full of their hard work to her son and his girlfriend as a gift. They laid out every homemade item on the table and everything was so beautiful. The couple was so thankful and taken aback by the gifts, and I loved being able to see my host mother's expressions during this special time. After they presented the gifts, they spread out so many Spanish desserts, my favorite being the "tarte de manzana," an apple cake. We all then sat around the table filled with love, yummy food, and great conversation. I felt so apart of the family during this moment, and I will forever cherish the memory.

Never did I ever think I would experience a Spanish baby shower during my time abroad and I am so happy to have seen the cultural difference compared to an American style baby shower. Cultural immersion experiences like these can be hard to come by without living in a homestay and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to partake in it. Additionally, nothing could beat eating authentic Spanish meals everyday, being able to practice my Spanish in every conversation, and having hot soup waiting for me after every weekend trip. María and her family really made me feel at home 3,381 miles from home and I couldn't be more thankful to have been paired with them. 

If you are even considering living in a homestay during your time abroad, I urge you to take the leap and choose to. It could make your time abroad all the more special, just as it did mine.