Exchange is supposed to be about the people you meet all over the world, and your host family is a huge part of your year. I know I was incredibly lucky to find out mine so early. It's not that easy writing to my family, though. How do you start to get to know the people who are opening their home and family to you for a year? We email in Spanish and I make lots of mistakes and use Google translate more than I'd like. For one thing, after talking to them for 4 months I learned that I should be addressing them using a different, less formal, version of "you" (as in, I was speaking to them formally the way you'd speak to a really important person, the Queen of England maybe, instead of family). A couple times I've almost told them that I was sending them some arms (I meant hugs! In Spanish the words for "hugs" (abrazos) and "arms" (brazos) are just one letter off.) Everyone wants to hear that they will be getting some body parts in the mail (Not). I definitely have stress dreams about going, despite how excited I am about it. My subconscious has gone through all the worst possible scenarios (from a nuclear crisis to leaving after a semester because no one would talk to me) in my dreams. Shut up, Brain, why are you messing with my positive attitude here?!
But seriously, I cannot wait to meet them in person in just 2 more months!
My host family has a beatiful garden with fruit trees and flowers. In September the apples and pears will be ready to eat, yumm!
Oh, did I mention it's practically a small farm? These are some of the chickens, or gallinas. Fresh eggs every day!
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Last spring, my parents and I decided to be a host family. It's really hard to describe how it was to be a host sister. It was just a big change to adjust to a new member of the family. I'm an only child, and there was suddenly a new teenager living with us. It was strange at first to explain things that seemed like normal daily life and sometimes miming to communicate, but by the last few months we were really close. I realized that exchanging is a new and challenging experience for the family as well as for the student. Hosting was one of the best things I could've done to get the full AFS exchange experience. I hope it will help me empathize and connect with my own host family because I've been in similar shoes. and I think the most important thing I learned is to not be afraid to speak up when I'm there!
Here's a visual of the placements of AFS Spain students so far! Just shows that you really can be placed anywhere.
View AFS Spain Placements in a larger map
Hope everyone's having a great summer, and Happy Independence Day USA!