What better way to learn what it’s like to Teach in a Homestay in Spain than from a first-hand experience! Jennifer is a Greenheart Traveler who took the time to share a bit about her life in Spain in this week’s Take 5.
I had been to Barcelona and Ibiza before however wanted more of a cultural experience. I have always been so fascinated and in love with the language, people, art, architecture, food and so on. Since I only had a little taste and was hungry to learn more, I did a fair amount of research and found that Greenheart had the perfect program for someone my age. I am still not done exploring and regret only choosing to stay 1 month. The whole fear of the unknown, and not knowing exactly where I would be placed was half of the fun. I imagined being placed in a major city and was nervous that I was going to be living in such a rural area. Once I was there I was so grateful that I wasn’t in a larger city because I could easily plan that on my own. It was so much more valuable going somewhere I had never heard of, and that I probably would’ve never chosen on my own. It made my experience that much more special and close to my heart.
It’s crazy because everyone I had spoken with whether it was a Greenheart representative or Greenheart alumni, I was told to make sure that I keep busy because they had a lot of free time. I was advised to research what I wanted to do while out there. Miraculously, I was blessed with the best family ever. It was also during summertime, so there was no school in session. My host family and I spent every weekend together. Usually I love exploring and alone time however, it worked out for the better with the short amount of time we shared together. We did a lot of hiking and spent most of the time outdoors, swimming, shopping, running in the mountains, exploring new towns and cities, visited many churches, and obviously eating. I was open to trying everything and anything.
The first homemade meal I had was a seafood dish with a tomato broth. I can’t remember the formal name, but it was overwhelmingly delicious. Everything we ate was complimented with fresh bread. Would literally dip bread in almost every sauce, broth, or soup. Alongside with most meals was an ice cold cerveza in a frozen ceramic mug. The first meal my host father made for us is called pipirrana. Pipirrana is an Andalusian dish whose basic ingredients are onion, tomato, green pepper and cucumber. I have included a picture 🙂
I think the most valuable lesson I learned from this experience is that only positive things stem from stepping out of your comfort zone. I learned how brave, capable, and independent I am. I came home with a new level of confidence. It was very pivotal learning that there are some really genuine people out there. Not to mention, it was such a breath of fresh air to meet and live with a family that takes such pride in where they come from.
The best advice received was to have no regrets, place no expectations, and to be grateful that I am able to take this opportunity. Not everyone is able to endure milestones like this, so I am forever grateful to have received such a gift.