Donna decided to take one of our Intensive Spanish courses over 4 weeks and needed somewhere to stay. She opted for a Homestay.
We asked her to tell us how she had found the experience:
Donna: “I felt if I was coming all the way to Spain to learn Spanish, I needed to make the most of the time I was here and practise as much as I possibly could. The Homestay option seemed ideal, I liked the idea of living with a host family and gaining the opportunity to learn more about Spanish customs and daily life.
Us: So, having spent 4 weeks living in a Spanish home, what were your impressions of this type of accommodation and do you have any advice to give?
Donna: I would tell prospective students never to forget that you live in another person´s home. You must allow for that. Host families are normal people living their everyday lives and are subject to the same stresses and strains as the rest of us. They may come home tired or may have had a bad day – that´s only normal. Try to put yourself in their shoes – how would you be feeling? Also, every family, of whatever country has their own norms and habits. They may be alien to you but whatever your opinion you must do the family the courtesy of respecting them. Try to think that the rules of the house are neither better or worse, just different.
Us: how did you manage with your Spanish?
Donna: I have a more or less pre-intermediate level of Spanish which, I think, was perhaps a bit of a drawback to this type of experience. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of my host, I found some things difficult to understand and missed information which may have been important and useful in terms of my stay. I know a lot got lost in translation. I found it frustrating that I couldn´t ask for things or explain a problem I had using polite and respectful language as I would have done at home. If my host changed the TV channel from one I was watching, I didn´t have the language to politely ask if I we could switch back because I found it interesting.
Us: What are the positives of this type of accommodation?
Donna: When I was on holiday, using a foreign language seemed unreal. Here in Valladolid, and living with a local person, I have to speak Spanish “for real”, to be understood and to survive. I must admit that when I was thinking about coming to Spain, an immersion experience in another language seemed scary but now I´m here it seems perfectly normal and natural.
Want more information about General Intensive Spanish courses with homestay in either Valladolid or Santander with International House? Find out more on our website www.espaname.es