Hand selecting a host family for each of 75 students is probably as hard as it sounds. I think this becomes especially hard when trying to place students with different needs who are already putting themselves through a gratifying but tumultuous change in their lives. I, for example, wanted to be in a family with only women and no children. I am also an extremely picky eater and wanted to live with LGBTQ+ friendly. Imagine 74 other tall orders like mine with different variations. Of course, there is no way to get every single match right, but for the most part, everyone has had good matches with their families. Personally, I absolutely love my host family.
They are camera shy so it is hard to get them on the picture but this is a photo of them at pride ten years ago here in Madrid.
Sara is getting her Ph.D. in philosophy at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. As she is writing her thesis, she is an active participant in many social justice groups. Raquel is an event producer at an events company. She has seen clients such as Volkswagen and Disney. In her job, she gets to see all types of disciplines. They are both from Galicia, a region in the northern part of Spain, and speak Galician which is close to Portuguese. When I get home, they’re usually sitting next to the computer, watching all kinds of movies. We eat at around 9pm and discuss many topics throughout the night. They keep me updated on social justice movements, Madrid slang and invite me to participate in intricate discussions about the world. My favorite part of dinner is that we always have bread, and they have worked really hard to get to know what I like and don’t like to eat. If I truly don’t like something, they are ready with a backup plan. Here are some of my favorite meals so far.
Next, they offer me about five different options for dessert which I love, ranging from ice cream to chocolate bars to cookies. We truly respect dessert in this home. And finally, if we’re all up for it we play some cards or dice games. I will just add as a final point that I win all the time.
Mayeline Peña, student blogger primavera 2020