When students study abroad they have tons of options for housing: apartment, residencia (dormitory style), or homestay. I must say I made the perfect choice for me, I couldn’t have been placed any better!
I had 2 main reasons for choosing to do a homestay:
- I would not have to buy groceries for four months! Paying for groceries and all the essentials certainly adds up! I knew it would be much more difficult to budget and I would end up spending more than the difference between how much it costs for an apartment and a homestay which was no more than $400.00. I was right! After speaking to many people in apartments, I’ve spent almost half and as they did the whole time I’ve been here, including all of the trips I’ve booked! Also, the breakfasts and dinners at Casa Blanca (Blanca is my host mom’s name) are DELICIOUS. I am able to try typical Spanish dishes without having to go to a restaurant! Also, I am especially lucky because there is another woman living with us (Ingrid) who picked up baking classes (Feb-May) as a hobby and she brings home all her homemade goodies!
- I’d be exposed to the Spanish language and culture much more when living with a family/señora. I wanted as much exposure as possible to Spanish since my classes are all taught in English with an exception of my Spanish language class, of course. Mi español va mejorando! (My spanish is improving!) Last night I was sitting with Señora Blanca for dinner as we talked about our days. Our typical conversation starts off with “Que aproveche! Que haces hoy?” then typically I would go into Spanglish, but lately, I’ve been able to speak much more Spanish, and actually in the correct tense! I’ve been getting by with broken Spanish using the infinitive form constantly. But after each complete sentence, I’d ask if I was speaking correctly and I was so excited to hear I was. She is very patient, and a great teacher.
Like everything that’s new, it was an adjustment my first few days. Of course, in the beginning, you want to meet the other students and be surrounded by them, but with a homestay and in an individual room you don’t get that experience from the get go, so the first few nights were a little rough. But with the constant group events with Barcelona SAE, it was so easy to make friends with everyone. Hanging out and going out with friends is only a metro ride or even a walk away and now everybody is jealous of all my amazing food and having my own room…AND I’ve made friends I’ll have forever 🙂
Submitted by Kristen Bathan
California State University – Fullerton
UAB Semester Program, Fall 2012