(Host) Mothers Know Best
(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.
This past weekend a group of my friends and I decided to go to Budapest, but wanted to go with a group because we were unsure of what we wanted to do and how to plan our trip. Booking the trip through WSA was the best idea we ever had. It was basically all planned out for us (excluding flights). It was great because there were plenty of things planned for us that were included in the package, but there was also a bit of free time for us to explore the city and do the things we were most interested in. I really enjoyed the caving and thermal baths we visited during our trip! Also the hostel that was booked for us through WSA was great and our tour guide, Bogi, was amazing! I would definitely recommend this trip to everyone and am happy to say that I will be booking more trips with WSA in the future!Danielle Maclain, Concordia University - Irvine ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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