When I arrived in France, I was very excited about meeting my host family. It wasn’t until I arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport that it occurred to me that for the next 4 months, I’d be living with people that I didn’t know at all. Once in Rennes, I meet my host mom who, although she knows English, spoke French to me all the time. Next on the list was my host brother and sister. Although it was hard in the beginning, as time passed my understanding of French became better and conversations felt more natural to me.
At home, every night we have dinner together, ask each other about our days and talk about whatever. That’s what I like the most about my host family. Unlike in the US, French people are more open to talk about topics that in the United States are usually avoided. From politics to random YouTube videos, our conversations covered a great variety of subjects.
I think that what makes me feel part of this family the most is that I get to be included in family events such as birthdays and spontaneous events with my family’s friends. For instance, a few weeks ago I got to go to my first « apero » which is a French event similar to a cocktail that takes place before dinner. There, I had the opportunity of meeting French people who were open to accept me and to introduce me to this French tradition.
Having this host family experience had definitely made me more knowledgeable about French culture and its traditions and, of course, has helped me to improve my French language skills.
Daylan Salmeron Gomez
St. Lawrence University