If you haven’t checked out Catherine’s blog, it’s a must read for students considering going abroad. She shared her story about celebrating her birthday abroad, and it’s a great testament to why homestays are so meaningful.
I’ve had a lot of downtime this holiday to reflect on my time abroad. As I was perusing through my old photos, I was reminded of this wonderful story.
Two summers ago, I was ecstatic to be traveling to Spain for six weeks. I was also excited to celebrate my birthday in a different country. What I did consider was that I would find myself more homesick than I’d imagined. I had been away for about two weeks when my birthday came around. All I could think about was my family at home.
To my surprise, when I came home from my classes that day, my host mother had prepared my favorite meal, her famous paella, and a homemade birthday cake! She gave me a huge embrace and an aggressive kiss on each cheek, and invited some of my friends to join in the birthday meal. This gesture meant the world to me and I was no longer homesick. I was able to feel the sense of love and family that I was missing from my home in the U.S. My friends even surprised me and took me out to dinner and my favorite bar. I could not have asked for a better 20th birthday!