Meeting Your Host Family First Time? How To Combat The Fear (Updated)
Meeting your host family can be very nerve wracking - you may be wondering: What will they be like? Will they like me? How much food should I eat? Should I do my laundry? The list of questions goes on. . . I am going to give you some tips for meeting your host family and tips for living with a new person/family throughout your study abroad.
First and foremost: be communicative. If you do not like a food, tell them! Your host family wants you to enjoy your time there and does not want to make something you do not like. I would say always try something first unless it is a big pre-experienced no no for you, but keep an open mind and try it before you do not say you do not like it. They prepare things so differently in other questions, and the tastes, textures, and experience might change your mind about a food! However, if you can not choke it down, TELL THEM. You can say "I appreciate this so much but "carrots" aren't my favorite, or right off the bat if they ask you what do you like and not like, be sure to be very clear, this helps a lot. In terms of laundry, and cleaning your room, lots of Spanish mothers are going to do this regularly. If you are uncomfortable with it, my first answer is do not be, they do this all the time and do not think twice about it, but if you really feel uncomfortable just ask to do your own laundry and clean your own room and you can work something out. If you are homesick or down, tell them! Make sure to tell them if you need some space or maybe you are not feeling great - they are a great rescource and want to help be there for you.
When you first meet them, bring a small gift representing your culture or home state. I am from Maine, so I will bring soaps, honey, post cards, bags, lobster designed things, stuff like that. It is a nice gesture and can be very small.
Hangout in the living room and dining room spaces! Your host family wants you to be around them, and if they have kids they will be obsessed with you so try to hangout in the more public spaces.
Be respectful of meal times, if you can not make a meal, tell them. You want to make sure that you are respecting their rules of the home. In general, if they have any "rules" try to respect them and communicate about them.
A HUGE thing in Spanish homes is TURNING OFF THE LIGHTS and not taking 15-minute showers. Electricity is very expensive, and your family will constantly remind you to turn off lights. Water is also expensive, so I would say at 6-10 minute shower is perfect.
Ask them questions! Ask them about their families, life, what it was like growing up, compare your cultures, ask them questions about Spanish, etc. Show them you also want to get to know them:)
If they offer to take you to any games or events with family + cultural events, go!!! You will have so much fun and learn so much from native speakers and residents. It is amazing how many people you will connect with.
I have had three home stays and have ADORED all of them. These are a FEW of the things I have learned from mistakes and experiences along the way:)
By: Amelia Asfaw The Liberal Arts program in Sevilla, Spain offers all Spanish classes taught at both the CIEE center and at the University of Sevilla. And at the University... keep reading