I would like to compare host families. It may seem weird, but this was my second trip to Spain both times in different locations and very different circumstances.
2009 – Background: I was a 20 something year old female finishing my bachelor’s degree in Spanish. My host family was very strict, and could not understand my situation. They did not understand why I did not want to stay out partying or why I spent my time focusing on school work. They did not even realize that on top of the homework assigned to us from the University of Valladolid, we were assigned homework from the Univeristy of Akron. Nearly criticizing everything that I did. Showering too long, not cleaning the shower properly, not staying out late, and other things. I remember they got mad enough at me once that I ended up going out with a group and crying. When the rest of the group saw this they tried to get me removed from that location. We only had a week remaining at that point so they couldn’t do anything.
Fast forward to 2016… Background: I’m a 30 year old pharmacy school student. My mother passed away the Tuesday before I left. I missed the first week because she was in bad shape and I was not going to leave. I arrived in Spain. My host mom was very supportive, and she understood what I went through. She understood that I had to do the make up work from the previous week, and helped me to push through the work. Supporting me every step of the way. We went to the gym together 5 days a week, and I had a very supportive roommate. Lucia made some of my favorite meals because she knew I liked them, and I got to return the favor by cooking something new for her a couple of times. I would not have enjoyed the trip as much if it weren’t for the support system.
Overall, support systems…including classmates, teachers, and host families can change the perspective of the trip. Needless to say I was the last student the other host family took in. I hope that Lucia takes them in all the time because she is a great support and great host.