Hola Mrs. Young’s class!
What great questions you have! I hope to answer them the best of my ability : )
My host family is tri-lingual (that means they speak three languages)! They speak Spanish, Catalan, and English. At their school (Collegi Reial Monestir Santa Isabel) they teach the students all three languages. Can you imagine learning three languages all at once?! They start their tri-lingual education in Kindergarten. My host family knows English fairly well but they are more comfortable speaking Catalan or Spanish because those are both their native languages of Spain. Although, when I am around, they speak only English (at home and in the classroom).
A “host family” is the family members I live with here. They cook my meals, do my laundry and take me places around Barcelona. I am considering them my family while I am in Barcelona, Spain. They are very kind and treat me like one of their own. They are very generous to lend me their home and hospitality while I am student teaching here. I love and appreciate them very much!
I have grown very fond of my “host family” here. As you might expect, it was awkward the first few days but now I can say I am comfortable around them and appreciate all they have done for me so far. It is so kind of them to let a stranger come into their home and to treat them like they are one of their own children. Have you ever heard of, “Me casa es su casa”? That translates to “my house is your house”. They told me this as soon as I arrived : )
Bullfighting and Running of the Bulls are both popular in Madrid, Spain but not in Barcelona, Spain. I did not know this until I came here. I thought they did it all over Spain but the inhabitants have told me otherwise. During my last weekend here, I would like to visit Madrid and see a bullfight! I think it would be rather interesting.
There are so many different types of bread and cheese here that I cannot even count! Some of the most famous cheeses here are brie, feta, parmigianino reggiano, provolone, smoked gouda, swiss, and blue cheese. In Spain, bread is called pan. The traditional Spanish pan is a long loaf of bread, similar to the French baguette but wider. One can buy it freshly made every morning in the traditional bakeries, where there is a large assortment of bread.
Currency exchange rates allow you to determine how much of one currency you can exchange for another. Exchange rates change every day because currencies are traded on the foreign exchange market. Today, 1 Euro = roughly $1.30 in the U.S. When I exchanged $630.16 in the airport, I only received 400 Euros because of the exchange rate.
How the school day operates may surprise you just as much as it did myself! Instead of the students transitioning during the day for each class, the teacher moves to the different classrooms here and the students stay in the same classroom all day long. This is difficult for me to adjust to. Teachers’ cannot sit their materials down and stay settled in one classroom, they are constantly moving! I guess I am getting a taste of what it is like to be in your shoes. : ) Also, boys and girls are in separate classes. I am currently teaching Science and English to 4th grade girls and boys (but not together, separate). And to answer your other question- Spanish families have a love/hate relationship just like American families. They are kind to each other at one moment and another they are fighting and feeling like they are not getting “their way”. There is no difference there!
In the city, many Spaniards (people who live in Spain) live in “flats” which is kind of ironic because they are what we call apartments and they are really tall, not flat. My host family lives in a flat.
Catherine and Dyllan,
About the trashcans, it is an adjustment that is not comfortable for me but I am quickly adapting. I have noticed that each day I collect less and less trash. They are very eco-friendly here and it is something that I am going to take back with me.
The food is wonderful here! You are right; because the food is fresh it tastes so much better. On Friday I went to La Boqueria (a huge fresh food market). Vendors were selling poultry, game, eggs, carniceria (pork and beef), specialty (pizza, cakes, exotic fruits, chocolate, and other candy), nuts, seafood, legumes and cereals, fruits and vegetables. I did not buy anything but my host family buys their groceries here.
The school is MUCH bigger than West Louisville Elementary. This school houses students from Kindergarten all the way up to High School. I am not sure how many students attend RMSI but I would say easily over 1,000.
The students do wear uniforms. The uniform is the medium that creates a sense of belonging to the institution. The students wear the uniform consistently within and outside the College.
- blouse and blue polo, model school use Polo: from May 1 to November 1
- pichi model school (Early Childhood Education)
- Navy cardigan with School badge (up to 2nd Primary)
- round neck sweater (from 3rd grade)
- skirt school model
- Navy socks (long)
- Navy blue or black shoes, collegial sports shoe type is not allowed
- bata (Toddler and Primary)
Physical Education Uniform
- Tracksuits, model school
- shirt and long shorts or short sleeve, model school
- blue sport shorts, model school
- white sneakers
- white socks
I haven’t had the opportunity to watch any movies since I have been here but Laura (6 year old girl I live with) LOVES the movie Frozen. Her parents told her if she behaves well she would get it this week. In order for the kids to learn English even better, the parents only allow movies and TV shows to play in English. The kids in my host family are not allowed to watch TV during the week, only on the weekend. This allows the kids to read more books, socialize, and participate in more physical activities.
Kaylee and Luke,
Unfortunately my host family does not have any pets. It is hard to have pets (other than a fish) while living in a flat. However, there are MANY dogs here. Every time I walk to school (roughly 10 minutes) I see three or four people walking their pet dog. If they were to have a dog, it would be difficult living on the 10th floor!