(this post is by Marlee, CU Boulder)
Study Abroad in
Spring semester is coming to its closure and it’s time to look back, already with a hint of nostalgia, and reflect upon all that happened in our center in the last few months. In principle, I should tell you about Nano who joined two soccer teams but decided one of them was not hardcore enough for him. The “softer choice” was fine for Jeff and Joaquin.
I could also tell you about Sarah who joined a volleyball team, Cecilia and Frank who participated in a quiz, which they won because they knew that “&” is called an ampersand, about everybody’s amazing travels, or about Alyse who learned how to dance “vira”, a traditional Portuguese folkdance.
This time, however, I’ve decided to remind you of the importance of the hosts in our program. Hosts are privileged windows into the local culture and life but they can also be much more. They can be a student’s door into a local social circle, they may become one’s safety net to go back to at the end of the day, they can become a student’s buddy on all sorts of activities, in a word, they can become your family away from your family.
Here are some thoughts about our student’s homestay experiences this semester:
“My home stay was with a fun and welcoming family and my house was filled with positive energy. I'm lucky to say I have a home away from home in Lisboa, Portugal.” (Alyse, Rhode Island College)
“My homestay with Odilia was great. She lives with her dog Espiga and is constantly on the go. From working as a psychology professor to going to the gym and taking dance classes with her boyfriend, Odilia is a woman I've come to admire. But she also has time every Sunday to make an amazing lunch. Staying with Odilia was nice because I had my privacy and quiet but it was like having an energetic but laid back and relaxed mom away from home” (Julianne, U of M Amherst)
“I don't think I could have had a better family to live with! They are welcoming and kind and I love hanging out with my host mom and host sisters, enjoying good food and cooking.” (Kelsie, Point Loma)
“My homestay has been one of the main reasons that I have enjoyed my time in Portugal. Since my arrival, my host mother and brother have been nothing but accommodating, and have helped me immerse myself in the Portuguese culture by showing the intricacies of the city as well as helping me practice my Portuguese language skills.” (Chris, Villanova)
“When I hear my host brother practicing his trumpet and smell soup cooking in the kitchen, I know I'm home.” (Emily, Bates)
“My experience with my host family here in Portugal has been absolutely phenomenal. From going on road trips with my host mother and her son to supporting each other through bouts of sickness, I've been welcomed into their lives as if I were "one of the family." All in all, Portuguese and American ideas of "family" aren't all that disparate. (Frank, Georgetown)
“My homestay has been nothing short of incredible- my host mom is inspirational and kind, I have a beautiful balcony that allows me to wake up each morning to the sun, and I love that I live in a part of the city where I have to use my Portuguese.” (Abby, Boulder)
“I've had a really great host situation. I've met the extended family, had silly dance parties with the kids, tried delicious Portuguese food, and really enjoyed living here." (Cecilia, Amherst College)
Portugal has been chosen as n.1 TOP10 destinations at http://www.globespots.com/besttravel.php?year=2013.