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(Host) Mothers Know Best

Posted by Andy Steves on February 26, 2015.

Tags: student // Study Abroad // host family // WSA

(Host) Mothers Know Best

By Shannen O'Brien

                Does anyone remember in the Disney movie Tangled when Mother Gothel starts singing to Rapunzel about why she shouldn’t leave the tower? Well, while I might have played on the title of this song she sings, I want to clarify that what I’m about to say in regards to my host mother rides on the completely opposite line of advice. For those students who are lucky enough to be in a study abroad program that includes a homestay, one of the most rewarding aspects is the relationship they make with their host mom/parents.

                Host parents have some big advantages. For starters, you’ll eat some of the best typical cuisine of whatever country you choose to study abroad in (and you might even get to learn how to make it!), because there’s no better way to become accustomed to a different country’s gastronomy than by eating home cooked meals. On the topic of food, you’ll also get an excellent insight into the proper table manners and etiquette for eating, which I can guarantee will have some discrepancies from those of the United States.

                My personal favorite part of living with a host family is knowing that they want to host students while they’re studying abroad. Some of the best advice I’ve been given here in Spain has been courtesy of my host mom, and one of the tips that resonated the strongest with me was “take other forms of transportation aside from the metro; you miss out on seeing the layout of the city when all you do is travel underground.” Needless to say, I haven’t regretted switching up my transportation options of public bus or commuter rail, because it’s really neat to see Madrid from a different perspective.

                Finally, (at least in my program), host moms feel like family. I consider my host mother to be more of a host grandmother, and even at that I still consider her my third grandmother. Every day interactions get you slowly more attached to them, so by the end of the semester you can’t help but be upset you won’t see them on a daily basis. I’m not exactly looking forward to that part, but at least I know that staying with a host family has had a positive impact on my time abroad and that I loved every second of my time in their house.

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