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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


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