Want to know how other travelers have gotten involved in their host community? We interviewed Greenheart Traveler Ryan Angeles about his homestay experience and how he dove into his life abroad by teaching English in local schools in addition to his homestay experience.
It was either Argentina or Chile, and to be honest I didn’t know much about Chile at all. I remember first traveling to Colombia and meeting five Argentinian men about five years ago and hearing their Spanish accent which I thought was very different and difficult for me to understand at that time. So going based off that ignorant knowledge, I chose Chile. Once I was in Chile and hearing Spanish slang, I was completely lost. It didn’t phase me though, it was more of a challenge and took it as an interest to hear the different Spanish accents. Eventually, I did understand some things through conversation and I felt good about that.
I chose this program because I wanted to make an impact and hope I can help a family with their English pronunciation and get the authentic feel of living like a Chilean in a small town.
I actually lucked out because my host family (the father) was an English teacher and my program coordinator was an English teacher as well in a couple of elementary schools. They both offered if I wanted to come into their schools and talk about Toronto Canada and the lifestyle there. I asked if they needed any assistance in their classes or workshop’s and they were both happy for me to help them out a couple of times a week.
Before coming here make sure to have basic Spanish communication skills. You will enjoy the experience and interacting with locals when you’re forced to use your Spanish when asking questions when you need to get around or getting involved in their community.
I learned the value of being humble, of helping others to spark interest in continuing to learn a different language plus the importance of being a guided stepping stone for the youth in the schools.
Enjoy the moment, do things that fear you, and continue to learn the language of the country or countries your traveling too to make the experience more special.