By Jill Salvucci
When requesting my host family the first thing I won’t that I wanted was for them to speak English. I did not think that was a lot to ask. Up to that point I was not confident in my Spanish speaking abilities. Even though I have studied Spanish for around six years, I felt as though I had no experience with the language whatsoever. I felt as though the most I could comprehend was “Hola” and “Adios!”. So with that thought in mind, my family being able to speak English was very important to me.
When arriving to Costa Rica, I was surprised to learn my host mom did not speak any English at all. In that moment I became very nervous. I did not know how it was going to work. I thought we were just not going to be able to communicate and that this experience was just going to be a struggle. However, this was not the case. I underestimated myself. At dinner I was able to tell her about my family and what I like and don’t like. The conversation was very basic but it was better than sitting in silence.
Do not get me wrong though I am nowhere near being fluent and there are times when I have no idea what my host mother or sister are saying and I just say “Si! Si!” (and most of the time Si is not the correct answer to what they are saying). In a way I am happy I did not get what I originally wanted. I will be challenged to use and learn spanish everyday. It will help more be more immersed in the culture not only at school but in my home as well.
The last couple days I have spent mostly in my room; however, I am making an effort from now on to not spend so much time in my room but instead spend it talking with my host family. It feels a little odd to be stepping out of my comfort zone but I know in the end it will really be worth while.