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Living With My Host Family

Living with a host family has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my study abroad experience. Sharing a home with an Italian family has been fascinating, confusing, entertaining, and so many other things. I absolutely love it. Whether it’s eating dinner, watching Italian television, or talking about our days together, I am learning so much.

I know that I am extremely fortunate to be able to share so much time with them. We have our separate schedules and it is always interesting to hear what the family has been up to when we are not spending time together. I get to hear about their days at school, their classes, their soccer games, and the events they go to. I get to see their day-to-day lives first hand and enjoy seeing the little things that differ from what I am used to.

We eat dinner at 8 o’clock every night. The food is fresher, and the mother goes grocery shopping multiple times a week. Italians usually have separate clothes that they wear when they are in the house. Italian homes use a lot more natural light than in the U.S. and they never waste electricity. These new ways of doing things were easy to get used to, and this place could not feel more like home.

If I had to choose a favorite memory from living with my host family I don’t know if would be from my first few days in the city when the grandfather would walk me to school in the morning. I could pick the time my host mother baked meringues and I could not stop eating them. I also love when we have something new for dinner, and one of the children will run over to the chart on the wall that shows the names of vegetables and fruits in both English and Italian, to explain to me what we are eating. The interactions we have together have brought me a strong connection with this place that I would not have otherwise.

Other bonuses of living with a host family: they will invite you to contrade events, they will take care of you when you’re sick, they will give you advice for the trips you plan, they will help you study for your Italian tests (bonus points if you help them study for their english tests). Best of all, they will allow you to see a beautiful culture through their eyes.

Hannah Delphine Ayers - Liberal Arts - Fall Semester 2014