I woke up in the earliest hours of the day, before daylight, in order to make my flight. My first time flying alone to a foreign country. I arrived at the check-in only to discover my flight was canceled due to an airport strike. The initial chaos wasn’t indicative of the rest of my trip. Yeah, I arrived to my host family’s house 15 hours late, but they couldn’t have been more welcoming.
The door opened to not only who I would be spending the next three weeks with, but their entire extended family as well. It was comforting to see so many friendly faces after such a nerve-racking trip. First, I was given an extensive tour of the apartment and all the stories that went along with it. I felt proud because my host family said I was one of the most proficient speakers they had ever had stay with them. Afterwards, we ate the first round of what seemed to be three weeks of constantly eating potatoes. Luckily, I love potatoes.
The next morning I walked to school and met people from all over the world-- my new best friends. By far my favorite part of the trip was the new relationships I made. Figuring out how best to adapt to the Spanish lifestyle with other people going through the same experience was an important part of my trip. We all fell in love with the Spanish culture as well as the Basque culture (we stayed in San Sebastian which is in País Vasco aka the Basque Country).
I had always been reluctant to speak up in my Spanish classes at school, but in Spain I truly pushed myself to take every opportunity I could to speak, try new foods, talk to strangers, and make more friends. The choice to step a little outside of my comfort zone made my experience worlds better. Simple acts, like ordering an ice cream cone or asking for directions, gave me the experience with speaking Spanish that I could never get back home. Before I knew it, I was having hour long conversations about politics at dinner with my host family.
I was so lucky to have my host family! They were so sweet, my host mom even made lunch for me to bring to school. She helped me understand the unique culture that San Sebastián had to offer. It has been several months since I left the beautiful Basque country, but I still keep in touch with my host family and the friends I met and plan to continue doing so.
For more information about our immersion programs in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, check out these pages!Group trip to Spain
Summer in Spain
Summer in San Sebastian
Summer in Cadiz
Summer in Tarragona
Semester or year in Spain
Programs in Spanish-speaking countries