Skip to main content

Reflection on a Summer in Spain

Throughout my whole life, I’ve always wanted to travel. Seeing the world, other ways of life, and other cultures has always been a dream of mine. Finally being able to go to a place like Spain, and do it through ANDEO, was better than I could’ve hoped.


I was a little scared going into it, I had never been out of the country before and going by yourself can be scary. Once I got there, though, my family was immediately very nice and welcoming. My host sister is one of my favorite people in the world, and I know I’ll never forget her. They were willing to welcome me into their home with open arms, and I will be forever grateful for how easy they made the transition into Spanish life. I am so lucky to be able to have had an experience like this. Being able to live in a different country, even for just three weeks, gives you such a new perspective on the world. 

I also got to meet a bunch of amazing new people through my host family. They taught me a bunch of new card games, and we each got to learn about what life is like in different countries. Just hanging around the pool doing nothing with them are some of the best times I had in Spain. I am already trying to make plans to visit them again within the next few years, I’m planning on bringing more pants the next time, though (I ripped two of the three pairs I brought with me).


Being a very picky eater, I was nervous about going to a new country. I wasn’t sure what the food was going to be like, or if I would like any of it. Rest assured, Spanish food is probably my favorite now. Paella is one of the most delicious things in the world. I also really appreciated how my host family asked me about what I liked and didn't like. I made a promise to myself before I went that I would try everything, but it was very comforting to know that they were willing to help me if I ended up not liking something. 

Being surrounded by Spanish 24/7 improved my speaking abilities by so much. I left feeling like I could barely hold my own in a conversation, but by the time I got back all that fear was gone. It was interesting to learn new words, too. I say ‘vale’ in almost every conversation now, even the English ones. I also speak with the Spanish lisp, which earns me a few strange looks from my friends and classmates, but gives me a reminder of the amazing trip I got to go on whenever I speak Spanish. 



The fact that I had the opportunity to go on this trip and meet so many amazing people is something I am so grateful for. My host family and the friends I met are people I want to stay in touch with for the rest of my life. I got to have an amazing experience, and see what it’s like living in another country. I found so many more amazing foods to eat, and I feel so much more confident in my Spanish abilities. I am so thankful that I found this organization and I went on the trip with them, it was once of the best experiences in my life. 

-Piper Riley

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to Write a Letter to Your Host Family

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application; it’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not.
Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family:
Use a positive tone. “The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive.
Go deeper than the application form.Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a chance to talk…

Tackling the Dust Bunnies (and other surprising benefits of hosting an exchange student)

By Elizabeth Markleson, host momYou could say I'm a relaxed housekeeper. Our kitchen table is covered with piles of papers "to be dealt with later", our sink is often full of dishes, and you can be sure there is a whole family of dust bunnies living under the furniture. When my kids were little and they would see me go into my cleaning mode, they would always ask, "Who is coming to visit?" Not much changes over the years! When it comes to housework, a guest is a great motivator.

The days were ticking down before our Spanish student arrived and my to-do list was getting longer and longer. “Don’t stress too much about it,” my sister said. “Isn’t your student just supposed to blend into your family as it is? This is an exchange student, not a visiting dignitary, after all.”

True, but I am a strong believer in the power of first impressions. When my daughter went to Spain a few years ago, her host family added some really nice touches to make her feel welcome...like …

From Guest to Family- All in 48 Hours

by Judith, Immersion in France, 2016



The first 48 hours of your time abroad will probably be the most exciting of your entire stay. There is so much to discover, so much to explore, so much you don’t know about…These first two days are filled with emotions: you may be a little anxious and worry that your second language is not good enough. You may be struggling to fit in and overwhelmed by everything new you discover.
As my own day of departure for France drew near, I wondered what my upcoming trip would be like. I wanted to know what it is like to meet a complete stranger. I wanted to know what it would be like to speak French all day long. Most of all, I wanted to know what my host family would be like.I hope to be able to help you answer these questions and ease a bit of your anxiety. What is it like to meet a complete stranger?First of all, you probably won’t be meeting a complete stranger. You’ll be meeting someone you know is interested in getting to know you and your culture. You’…