Friday, February 7, 2014

¡Hola desde Granada!

Hola from Granada, Spain! I am spending my semester with 16 other FCRH and FCLC students at Fordham in Granada, a Fordham study abroad program in Andalucía, the southernmost region of Spain. The study abroad process is full of complex, tough decisions: where to go, what to study, how to budget, how to make friends, and where to stay. That last one may sneak up on you after settling on London or Johannesburg or Shanghai or Antiguo Cuscatlán.

A view of Granada from Placeta de la Puerta del Sol, which I found while lost exploring

Luckily for me, Fordham sets up each student in our program with a homestay family, and it’s just that, a family. We live in pairs (you can request a roommate or take your chances; my random assignment is fantastic) with Spanish families. Everyone’s homestay experience is different, whether you are with young parents, a retired couple, or a mother and her adult children. What is the same about every experience (even when our group stayed with families in Morocco for two nights) is that it is a family. We eat together, watch TV together, and talk to each other about our days. 

Our group with some Moroccan friends in Rabat.
The homestay experience makes a huge difference in how the city feels, too. Rather than being a foreign visitor with a bunch of other exchange students, I am living and breathing the Granada lifestyle (including the mandatory siesta!). I don’t need to seek out authentic cuisine, or try to figure out what’s happening in Spanish politics—I just need to sit down at the dinner table and ask.

Obviously, it’s not a replacement for my own family or my Fordham family. But my Granada family is certainly a good substitute. 

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