I counted down the days until I left, every day I was hoping for more and more information about my upcoming trip. This is life changing, I want to know everything I can about it before I leave. About a week prior to leaving, I got my housing assignment, finally. I opened the email and it talks about the city I’m going to live in, blah blah blah, I wanted the good stuff. Who am I living with? What’s the family like? Well I was assigned a roommate and about three small paragraphs about my future family. Three, that’s it? Little detail is given before you arrive. They parents told me I had two brothers, a sister, and a nephew and a roommate. So off I go to a foreign country, knowing no one there or much of the language at all.

We met the family our second day in the country and stayed our second night with them, in the house. Weird, adopting a foreign family is like no other experience. First you go through the awkward what do they frown upon, what time is dinner, what should I expect. But after being here for two months I can safely say that living with a host family is one of the best parts of studying abroad.

You get what you put in. So if you put the effort forth, then you’re going to get that love and care given right back to you. My tico family has watched over me like I am blood related. Knowing that you have someone by your side and someone that helps you over the little bumps and through the bruises is a huge relief.

Mama Tica especially has been there for me through and through. She cooks breakfast and dinner for me each night and there is no cooking like hers. She takes care of me like I’m her actual daughter, and she actually calls me “hija” as a term of endearment. It’s a safe environment and the best place to practice speaking Spanish. My tico brothers have acted like the brothers I’ve never had. They are amazing. They talk to me and help me practice, they also pick on me like any other brother.

Keep your expectations low, but know that they will treat you like family. If you respect them, they respect you. It’s amazing how much your home life can affect your study abroad experience. I really encourage you to get close to the family and treat them like your own. You never know what they can do for you or show you about their home country!

Written by Chelsea Bates, Social Media Journalist

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