Taylor is a young, smiley student that turned 21 surrounded by a new family. She comes from the University of Richmond and is studying abroad in Barcelona at the University Pompeu Fabra. She took the wise decision of experiencing Spain as the Spanish do-- she chose to live in a home. Maria Rosa is her host mom and she has three children and three grandchildren.
Taylor shares her experience:
Language: If learning the language of the foreign country in which you are staying is a priority of yours during your study abroad experience, living in a homestay is definitely the way to go.
Food: I don't have to worry about carving out time in my schedule to grocery shop or cook meals--my host mom does that for me! And the food I eat is real, authentic Spanish food, not pasta or frozen pizza every night like many study abroad students make. Living with an older Spanish woman has made my study abroad experience more 'home-y.' It's so nice coming home to such a calming environment after a long day or night in the city. I love my homestay because my host mom lets me have the freedom to go about my day and night but always has meals waiting for me and knows the city incredibly well and therefore always has restaurant or transportation suggestions.
Culture: I've also gotten the chance to talk to my host mom's granddaughter and other family members, which is great because I can talk about the differences between our cultures. Living with other American or even international students just doesn't give you the opportunity to speak the language of your host country as often as it's necessary to become fluent. I feel as if my Spanish has improved incredibly during my homestay abroad experience so far and has given me confidence to converse with other Spaniards. I feel more confident in general and would definitely recommend this option to other potential study abroad students.