When I decided to study abroad I was given two options as where to stay. And if there is something I have learned with my travels is that if you want to understand a culture, you have to understand its people. I chose to live with an Italian family, because I thought it was the best way to improve my language skills in order to become fluent in Italian. What I found by the end of the semester was the place that feels like home to me.
(With my host sister Katia) [Photo credits: Cristy S.]
Being in a new country with a different language and travelling such a long distance away from my country can be overwhelming. I´m going to be honest and say that there were hard times, but the host family continuously made sure I was happy. My host mom Maddalena makes the best gnocchi a la sorrentina that I have ever tried in my life. I´m not saying this because I lived there, it is just the truth. There were a couple of things that I was not very fond of at the beginning (things I was not used to), but living in a different environment taught me that just because we do not understand something; that does not mean we should be afraid of it. Just like Pimpi (the family cat) and me. When I arrived at the house I did not liked cats, so I usually tried to keep my distance and just say hi as I walked into the house. Long story short by the end of the semester, I absolutely adored him.
( Sunsets in Sorrento) [Photo credits : Cristy S.]
I truly enjoyed the feeling of walking home, as getting lost throughout the little alleys of Sorrento. Living with a host family gave me the ability to see life from a different perspective. I had the opportunity to enjoy those long dinners, fantastic food, and not to mention the chance to watch Italian soap operas. My host sisters are one of the most fashionable people I have ever met. No matter what they are wearing, they always look good. As if Italians are born with a great sense of style within their DNA.
And my host dad is a very inspiring artist and photographer. The people I had the opportunity to have as my host family became actual family to me.
(View from my friend´s house) [Photo credits: Cristy S]
The best thing about a place is without a doubt its people. The ones that make you smile and give you a reason to come back. It´s been two years since I lived with them and there is nothing I would change about that experience. Living with a host family can be challenging, but if you are lucky like I was you will find yourself being thankful for that experience every time you get to talk about it.
This made me think that sometimes, life goes south, but maybe it is not always bad.
Sending you good vibes and hope you visit soon,