Housing, Language Learning, Living Abroad, Student Life Abroad, Uncategorized, University Abroad

Living With A Family

September 27, 2014

Let me start this off by saying, I’ve had a wonderful experience with my host family. They’ve done everything possible to make me as confortable as they possible can and I’m extremely grateful for that. Last weekend they took me to Castillo De Santa Catalina, which is the castle that overlooks Jaén. It was really cool to see all the old ruins and different parts of its history. Three different groups (Islamic, French, and Castellan) had all at one point had control of the castle.

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Even though my experience with them has been great. I’d like to move into my own room in an apartment, or piso as they’re called in Spain. I miss the independence that comes with my own living space and that you can’t get when living with a family. Bringing this up with them has been a little awkward. I didn’twant them to think it was because I didn’t like them or they had done something wrong or offended me, because they hadn’t. The university in Jaén had given them the impression that the student they had would only move out if they student and the family didn’t like each other and that this month we’d be staying with them was a trial period. They expected this to be a yearlong thing.
My understanding was that this month was just to get acclimated with the city and Spain in general. After the month my option were to stay with the family, find a piso, or move in to the universities dormitories. As part of my acceptance packet I even filled out a form that asked which I’d be most likely to do. I put find my own piso. I had thought the family had seen that form and knew that was the direction I planned to go because they knew the other information on that form, like if I had any food or pet allergies or not. They hadn’t.
It think my host mom was a little shocked the first time I brought it up, just because they weren’t expecting it with how much I had said I like it with them. I had to explain that it’s mostly about me wanting my independence and my own space. People are really family-oriented in Spain. The children don’t spend a lot of time in their rooms and instead everybody hangs out in the living room as a family. The first time I spend an extended amount of time in my room, which is normal for me back home, they thought I was sick. I also felt a little weird about coming home late. It’s normal for young people to go out very late. The clubs, or discoteca’s as they’re called here, don’t start until 2:00 AM and don’t close until 7:00 AM. The weekend starts on Thursday and it’s a popular day to go out. The kids in my family are 9 and 14 years old with school on Friday. Because I don’t have class on Friday, I can go out. But I don’t want to come home super late and wake them up so I’ve been trying to come home decently early. It still ends up being around 5/6 AM because things don’t open until 2. This weekend had been Oktoberfest here so this issue has come up a bit more.
Although talking about me moving out had been awkward we’ve reached an understanding. I had a nice talk with my host dad the other day and about it. He said that if he was 20 years old and living in a different country and he had the option for a flat, he would take it as well. Tonight I’m making pancakes as a way to show my appreciation for everything my family has done for me. Pancakes are not common and I was told the daughter have only had them once before and had really liked them. I’m glad we reached an understanding and I’m exited to find my piso here with some local students to improve my Spanish.IMG_2025 IMG_2026 IMG_2042 IMG_2046 IMG_2060 IMG_2066IMG_2068

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