Being a First-Time Local Host Family and Learning English with an Irish
My Experience Being a Local Host Family and Learning English with an Irish.
My name is Alejandro Leon, I am 17 and I live in Navalmoral de la Mata, Spain. This is my last year in high school, and next year I start my studies at Uni. My current goal is to get my degree in engineering. Since having an engineering degree requires that I understand English, it is imperative that I learn it before then so I can understand the concepts of the courses I will be taking. Plus, it is only beneficial that I learn so I can apply it to not only my career life, but also for leisure purposes (travel) in the future. That´s why this summer my family and I decided to search for an in-depth method of learning English, becoming a local host family rather than taking classes at school. Learning here isn’t that effective because the teachers are so focused with understanding and learning the correct grammar objectives that they forget the purpose of learning a new language, which is teaching us the ability to communicate.
First, we contacted MyHOSTpitality, they offered us the opportunity to become a local host family an Irish boy, Mark, that wanted to learn Spanish. I couldn’t be more excited because I had the chance to learn English, while at the same time making a new friend that shared the same interest and hobbies with me. I’m glad it was so easy connecting with Mark through MyHOSTpitality, they made sure I matched with a person with my similar age, interests, and goals. We even were able to Skype Mark and we got to know each other better to make sure that we were compatible, and figure out all the logistics of the exchange program, like what was the best schedule for him to live with us. The site made it really easy for local host family to interact with the exchange participant.
Mark arrived at the airport in July and the exchange program was going to last 1 month, during this time we were responsible for teaching each other our own language. He would Speak in Spanish and I would speak in English, and at times it was a little intimidating but we both got comfortable with each other and we were able to communicate better. Of course, we would mess up at times, but we only gave each other positive and constructive feedback on how to better speak each other’s language. During Mark’s time, we wanted to make sure he got an immersive experience of Spain and Spanish culture. I took him all around town: I introduced him to my friends, we went out to parties, he enjoyed traditional Spanish food. Whenever we would just hangout, especially at the lakes around our village, Mark and I talked about how better the weather in Spain was compared to Ireland and he would tell me a little bit about his culture and life in Ireland, which seem more interesting than I thought it would be. Mark had plans to see and experience other parts of Spain, so we took him to the village where my grandparents live. There he got to experience even more Spanish customs. He fell in love with the mountains and the natural landscapes of Spain, and he adored the little village fairs. He felt that by having these experiences he had a greater desire to communicate and understand Spanish.
On the last week of Mark’s stay, we took him to Seville because it had been a goal of his to see this wonderful city. We visited the Plaza de España, and took him around to visit all the beautiful architecture, and food that Seville had to offer. He had expectations about this city and they were blown out of the water, he fell in love with it so much that he promised to come back and visit it with his parents, and I can’t wait for him to return.
Finally, the day had come when Mark and I had to say goodbye. He was flying out of Seville so he could at least stay in the city a little while longer. In the end, we were just looking back at all the time we spent together. We were both thankful that we could speak and understand each other’s language better than we ever had before. I am so happy with the match that MyHOSTpitality provided I definitely feel more confident in my English skills (especially with speaking and listening), and I am even more grateful for the memories and friendships that I made over the summer being a local host family. Plus, I now have even greater opportunities to learn other subje
cts in college because I now understand English better, and I can use all my knowledge to help me in my professional career when the time comes. I can’t wait for the day when I get to visit Mark and his
family in Ireland and use all the English Ilearned this past summer.
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