Relationships abroad: Today’s post comes to us from University of South Carolina student and API Global Leader Andrew Dacosta!
“I am a senior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in Marketing and Management with a minor in Spanish. In the spring of 2018, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. I lived with a host mom named Fuensanta Soler and I also had a roommate named Adam.
Fuensanta barely knew any English, which was great for me because I was forced to learn the language quickly.
I made it my goal to develop my Spanish-speaking skills by always speaking with Fuensanta every day. We had a list of vocabulary words on the fridge that I didn’t know and we would check the words every day. She understood that I did not have the best Spanish accent but I was willing to learn.
One day at lunch, Fuensanta and I had a conversation about animals and pets. She told me that she had a cat years ago and that she missed it. I told her that she should think about getting a dog; since they love attention and make you have to get outside for walks. The following week I traveled to Lisbon, Portugal not thinking that she would follow through with the idea.
When I returned to the apartment there was a small white fluff ball sitting on the couch. I couldn’t believe that Fuensanta bought a dog.
I’ve never had the opportunity to have a dog in the United States so I was beyond excited. We named him Bambú and he was a small Maltese dog. We taught him different commands in Spanish and potty trained him. Every morning before going to class, Bambú would scratch at my door to play with me. He always put a smile on my face, which made my mornings so much more enjoyable. Fuensanta and I would also walk Bambú to different parks close by the apartment and meet up with family. I got the opportunity to spend the day with Fuensatan’s family and friends in Sanlúcar la Mayor that is 30 minutes outside Sevilla.
I think it is important to create relationships abroad.
The relationship I had with Fuensanta made my experience more memorable since I could talk to her about anything. I think Bambú brought us more together since he needed so much attention and always wanted to play. In addition, I became friends with many people within the program, which was cool since they all came from different states from the U.S.
Many of my friends in the Sevilla program wished they did a homestay because I got the opportunity to always be around Spanish and get the best-cooked meals. My suggestion is to be yourself and do not hold back when trying to learn Spanish. Living with the locals broadens the world around you and it forces you to step outside your comfort zone. The locals know the best places to go and see which will make your experience so much better.