Living with a host family is probably one of the best experiences I’ve had while studying abroad in Toledo.  At first, I was very nervous to meet my host family, and even on the plane ride over to Spain I went through certain situations in my head.  Was I going to have host siblings, just a Mom, a Mom and a Dad, etc?  How was it going to be when I met them?  Were they going to be friendly and welcoming?  And most importantly, was I going to be able to understand them?

After a couple days of staying with my host family, all of these things were reassured and things became less intimidating.  Although a little disappointed at first, I am very content with just having a host Mom.  With it just her and I in the house she likes to be very involved in my life.  She is always asking where I am traveling on the weekend, telling me tips of the places I am traveling to, and searching in her “mini library” in her room for travel books of certain cities in Spain.  Also, she is very involved in my schoolwork.  Many nights I do my homework at the kitchen table, and my host Mom is always so excited to explain things to me if I don’t understand them.  One time for one of my classes I needed to define a whole list of words in my workbook so, naturally, I got out my Spanish-English dictionary and began looking up the words.  As soon as my host Mom saw me do this she jumped up from the couch, came over to the kitchen table and said that she wanted to explain or act out each word to me rather than have me look them all up in the dictionary.  This way was much faster and less tedious, and to be honest, I think I learned them faster and understood them better than if I would have had to look them up in a dictionary.

Also, when we eat lunch or dinner together our conversations last for at least an hour.  I learn so much about the culture and the city of Toledo from my host Mom that I am certain I would not learn in any class here or in the states.  I am so thankful for such a great host family [Mom] experience!  This truly has been one of the best cultural experiences in Toledo!

Meg Domnick is studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, with the University of Minnesota.