For my first trip solo to Ecuador, I stayed with an Ecuadorian family. During the time, I had more than one sibling and was also the youngest in the family for the first time.
The goal of the trip was to speak only Spanish and practice. I’m happy to say I’ve accomplished that goal, but I also ended up learning more than just language.
That’s why from my experience, I think staying with a family in another country is the best.
A part from practicing Spanish, I learned…
Since I always want to help and have the opportunity to talk too, I helped cook. Usually I’d make the salad with cut carrots, tomatoes and lettuce. And I also fried the plantains and learned the different ways to cook it. You can make chifles (chips, salty), patacones (not very ripe plantains, salty) and fried maduro (the ripe plantain, sweet).
But if I wasn’t physically doing the cooking, I watched and learned that way too. And also have ideas for dishes to make back home.
This is an obvious. Since living with the family, I got to know how life is like in Ecuador for this particular family. I went to work by volunteering at a school where I helped kids around 6 years old to read in Spanish.
I also ate all meals with the family, went to church on Sundays, run errands and other activities. I even attended a family reunion type gathering for the grandpa’s 85th birthday!
I also got to find out about the lives of people around my age in another country. It’s interesting. Even though we are from different countries, as much as there are differences, there’s still so many similarities.
Nowadays with technology, I realized that we can like the same music, websites and use social media platforms. I find here Facebook is most common among people my age.
Of course, the kids in the family have friends so I’m thankful I was able to accompany, meet their friends and feel like part of the group temporarily too.
No words in English or Spanish can express how thankful I am for the family I got to stay with. I truly felt like I was part of the family and got the best experience out of it.