My Host Family Experience by Lexi Sweezy

I’m still in awe.

I’ve officially been back in the States for two weeks now and already my time in France feels like a lifetime ago. For my last blog post I want to reflect on my semester spent with my host family and how that shaped my abroad experience.

To start, I was extremely nervous about living in another country for an entire semester (this was my first time ever leaving the US) and especially with living in someone’s home. Thankfully we were given our host family’s contact information over the summer and I took that time to write them a letter introducing myself and giving them other means of contacting me; like my phone number, Facebook, etc.

About two weeks later I received an email from them and my host mom, Chantal, had messaged me on Facebook! We began with the basics, such as if I have any food allergies and that kind of thing. They told me all about their family and even video chatted my mom and I one day so that my mom had a chance to meet them and talk to them.

Fast forward two months and I’m arriving at the Gare de La Rochelle to see my host dad, Louison, waving an American and a French flag. We went home and they showed me my room and gave me time to unpack before we had our first dinner together.

It didn’t take long before I felt 100% comfortable in the home and began referring to it as “our home”. We started off eating dinner at the table but as it got colder, we moved into the living room to be by the fire and it became tradition to watch N’oubliez pas les paroles while we ate. After dinner we had dessert and it also became tradition for me to practice saying “yogurt” in French because let me tell you, it’s one of the harder words to pronounce correctly. So Louison and I would be sitting in the living room saying “yogurt yogurt yogurt” back and forth and we even got my friends involved when we had our end-of-year dinner with all of the host families.

I wouldn’t trade my experience with my French family for anything and I highly recommend staying with one if you’re wanting to immerse yourself in the language. I learned more French talking with Chantal each morning at breakfast and them both at dinner every night than I have in any single class I’ve taken.

We still talk regularly, and I can’t wait for the next time I’m able to go back and visit.

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