My name is Moshay Turner and I studied abroad in June of 2023. As a TODOS Scholar, I chose to write this blog for those who are still deciding whether to stay in a homestay, apartment, or student dorm during their Barcelona SAE experience. I’ve got good news for you! I was honored to live in a homestay that consisted of a host mom, dog, and a fellow Barcelona SAE student. Practicing Spanish was one of my main goals while in Barcelona and I had the opportunity to do this on a daily basis! Even though my Spanish was a bit rusty, my host mom was very patient and understanding. Besides getting to practice with my host family, I elected to take an independent Spanish class with one other student. This class challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and verbally communicate in Spanish. The best parts were getting to see how my language skills improved over time and how I could incorporate them in my homestay.
Another reason why I loved being in a homestay is because I needed a place to call home while studying abroad. Having another student in my homestay was quite beneficial for me. I would consider myself as more on the introvert side and I prefer to make friends in smaller group settings. My roommate was welcoming, considerate, and fun! I don’t think I would have been able to explore much of Barcelona if I didn’t have them by my side. One of my favorite moments together would have to be daily balcony chats after dinner. This was a time when we could talk about our daily life. It could have been complaining about how we couldn’t understand any menus at a restaurant or how Gaudi’s architecture made us speechless.
Lastly, I loved being immersed in the culture. As a student living in a homestay, I received breakfast and dinner. Every day, my host mom would make something different. This was perfect for me as I wanted to try new dishes without having to spend a ton of money. I would have to say my favorite dish was lentil stew, which consisted of carrots, two types of sausage, potatoes, and more! Another aspect of culture that I experienced was basic living activities such as doing laundry, sharing communal spaces, connecting with the neighborhood, and schedules. Laundry may be a silly thing to point out but it is slightly different than how I do it in the United States. I learned that most people do not own a dryer in their homes, so hanging laundry is very common. As far as communal spaces, I noticed that my host mom spent quite some time in the living room area. This space was used for watching TV alongside her dog and roommate. Back at my home in the United States, it is rare to see all of my family in one space, even during dinner time. So, this was something I really appreciated in my homestay. I loved eating as a group and learning about what everyone did on that day. I truly felt like I was part of a family unit.
My homestay was located in the middle of bordering neighborhoods and I had the opportunity to interact with locals, try lots of food during lunchtime, and explore all that the community had to offer. Lastly, I noticed that the Spanish “life” schedule is a bit different from what I’m used to. For example, lunch was around 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. and dinner was around 9:30 p.m. It took me about a week to get used to this schedule. I did so by making sure I had plenty of snacks, staying hydrated, and staying up a bit later to give my food some time to digest.
I could go on and on about what living in a homestay is like but I want YOU to find out for yourself. You will not regret it! Thank you Barcelona SAE for allowing me to be a part of this incredible experience. I can’t wait to be reunited with my host family and get back abroad!