ARS1- Blog 3, Homestay by Students
25 July, 2018
The first day of homestay was not what most of us had expected. We were greeted with an incredibly warm welcome at the TS Eliot English Institute— our host families held signs with our names on them and eagerly awaited our introduction. After the chaos of the first meeting was over, we each retreated to our respective homes. We spent some time with our families and later some of our host siblings organized a welcome “party” where we played Uno, listened to music, drank yerba mate (a type of Argentinian tea), and walked around the neighborhood. We returned back to our houses at around 11, which, we would come to learn, was an early night for our host siblings.
Over the next ten days we formed bonds stronger than any of us knew were possible. Our host siblings took us to dance classes, to visit their schools, to their favorite stores and restaurants and more. Some of them even took us on day trip excursions, or accompanied us during our community service. Many of us went to a family birthday celebration for Peter’s brother, some played soccer with local children, and others spent a day in San Salvador with our siblings. While our families cooked delicious traditional Argentinian food like empanadas and milanesa, we introduced them to American dishes such as pancakes! They also had many thoughtful gifts for us— Giuseppe’s family gifted him slippers because he only wore socks around the house and they wanted to make sure his feet weren’t cold, while Peter’s, Arden’s, and Christie’s families gave them mate sets so they could take home a taste of the Argentinian staple. At the despedida dinner on Tuesday night, students and host families both took the mic to thank and say goodbye to each other. A few tears were shed, to say the least. Then came our last day. We had the morning to spend with our families, to pack, and to visit our favorite places in San Pedro for the last time. We were scheduled to leave at 4pm, but our bus didn’t pull away until almost 5 because no one could pull us away from our families (though Dylan eventually managed to!). Some might wonder how it’s possible to form such close bonds over the course of only ten days— we wondered this too. But they do call it a host family for a reason. We hope to stay in touch with all the siblings and family members and maybe even return to visit one day.
Sam, Kaitlyn and Peter
Christie, Arden, Sam, Olivia, Peter, and Beverly on the first day of community service!
The last day of spanish class!
Peter, Zeyad, Olivia, Beverly, Z, and Nico stopping at the highest point on the way to the salt flats— nearly 14,000 feet!
Peter, Nico, and Sam hugging their host siblings on the last day of community service.
Hard at work painting the police station!
A post- or pre-tears selfie at the goodbye dinner.