Thursday, October 15, 2015

Homestays and Spanish Classes in San Jose by Masha Toulokhonova

            Every additional bump we hit on the road brought increasing discomfort. I couldn’t fall asleep, I couldn’t focus on my book, the only thing I could do was wait. Wait until we find an appropriate pit stop that has a bathroom. Frequent bathroom use has been a hilarious motif in our travels among this group of 12 girls. Along with the strong urination urges, traveling 3 hours to San Jose for our homestay visits brought a whole range of emotions. Personally, I was incredibly nervous to live with a new family and especially worried for the Spanish immersion.  
            We waved goodbye to our professors, loaded up the Costa Rica Language Academy (CRLA) bus with our luggage, and dropped off each student in their respective new homes. Our new families greeted us with a warm welcome, a kiss on the cheek, and delicious food! My worries quickly dissipated.
My first concern was speaking Spanish all day. During the first few days, it took me about 5 minutes to speak a few very simple phrases. This was quite embarrassing given how many years of Spanish classes I have taken. However, the teaching at CRLA was incredibly efficient and I was amazed at how quickly I picked up Spanish. Later on, I was able to have a normal-sounding conversation with my host family!
My second concern regarding the homestay was the family life/environment. I’ve never lived with another family for an extended period of time and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the food would be delicious (all the food I’ve had here has been “on-point”), but I also knew that I would have to adjust to the new household schedule and rules. The graciousness and acceptance I felt from my new family is difficult to put into words, but I felt so comfortable and cared-for. While this was my personal experience, many, if not all, of my classmates felt similarly.

The homestay and CRLA experience forced me to go with the flow, admit to myself that I can’t control everything, and helped me realize my mistakes are both inevitable and an important part of the language learning process. I can’t wait to come back!    

No comments:

Post a Comment