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Homestay Livin’ in Sevilla, Spain

The following post is by Casey Purcell, ISA High School Global Ambassador

Before I arrived in Sevilla, Spain for my month-long study-abroad trip, I was quite nervous about my homestay.  I had never lived away from home for longer than a couple of weeks, so I didn’t know if I would adjust well to living in a new home in a new country.  Although my mother, who has lived in Spain multiple times throughout her life, gave me an idea of what a Spanish homestay would be like, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect.  I packed my bags and hoped that I would adjust easily to living in a new country.

The cab ride from the train station to my host mother’s home was nerve-wracking, to say the least.  However, when she greeted me with the traditional cheek kisses and helped me carry my bags up to my new room, all of my nerves disappeared.  She made me feel at ease, and the home itself had a comfortable vibe.

street The street outside my host mother’s house, where I walked multiple times every day.

I quickly adapted to living in Sevilla.  Although the meal times were different (lunch was usually around 2:00 or 3:00 and dinner around 9:00 or 10:00), and there was a greater emphasis on water and energy conservation than what I had been used to (showers were expected to last no longer than six to eight minutes), I adjusted to the household norms after about a week.  Even upon my arrival back in the United States, I found myself planning lunch outings with friends around 2:00 and taking significantly shorter showers!

ManoliMe and my host mother, Manoli.

My host mother was incredible. She has been hosting students from all over the world for eighteen years, and she knew exactly how to take care of me and my roommates.  She was always there for us if we needed anything, but also gave us our space.  She worked hard everyday to clean the house, wash our clothes, and cook delicious food: all so that we could live comfortably in the home.  She regularly checked up on us to make sure we were doing okay, and she definitely always made sure we had enough to eat! My host mother paid close attention to our desires when it came to food.  Being a vegetarian and a somewhat-picky eater, I was afraid that I would have a hard time finding things that my host mother could make for me and that I actually enjoyed eating.  However, after the first couple of days, she adjusted our meals accordingly to fit my eating habits, and I continued to savor her delicious recipes for the remainder of my stay.  My hands-down favorite meal was Tortilla Española, a thick “omelette” made of eggs and potatoes.

roomMy bedroom in my homestay in Sevilla.

The roommates I lived with were two amazing girls who I became very close with.  We each had our own separate rooms in the house, so we could have our privacy when we wanted it, but we could also spend time together in someone’s room if we desired.  Our host mother only spoke to us in Spanish, so communicating with her was a collective effort at times.  Having two other Spanish students there with me at all times as resources for translations of specific words definitely helped me learn even more Spanish.

All in all, my homestay in Sevilla was incredible.  All of the worries I had going into the trip were completely washed away by the first day I arrived in the home.  My host mother was kind, caring, and comforting and always made sure my roommates and I were having a pleasant experience living in the house.  I easily adjusted to the Spanish way of life, and I improved my language skills immensely through communicating with my host mother.  I became extremely close with my two roommates, and I shared many great experiences with them, both inside and outside of the house.  The Spanish way of life is much different than the Western way of life, but I enjoyed it so much that I would surely recommend living in Spain to anyone!

Have questions about what it’s like living with a Host Family? Feel free to the ISA High School office a call at (512) 474-1041. Also, be sure to visit the ISA High School website!

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