Answers to questions my American students had and you might have also!

Hola Mrs. Young’s class!

What great questions you have! I hope to answer them the best of my ability : )

Sydney S.,

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.

Sydney R.,

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!


First day of school!

I am excited to start the day because it’s my first day in my 4th grade classroom at Santa Isabel! We toured the school yesterday and it is so historic and beautiful. The school was founded in 1946 by a priest within the Clarissa Sister monastery which was located in Sarriá since 1876. With that being said, you can only imagine how historic-looking it looks! I will take plenty of pictures today to share with everyone back home.
I didn’t have a chance to meet my cooperating 4th grade teacher yesterday because her daughter was sick but she will be there today. I walked by the classroom yesterday and the outside walls were covered in handmade drawings all welcoming me into their classroom, “Welcome Ms. Kelly!” They call their teachers by their first name for example my cooperating teacher goes by Mrs. Cris instead of Mrs. Parull.
Well, off I go to start the day!



Minor Adjustments

Here are a few things I need to adjust to fit the Spain lifestyle-
They are big on recycling (or at least my host family is). You cannot find a trash can anywhere in the house besides the kitchen. So that’s no trash cans in the bedrooms, bathrooms or living rooms. In the kitchen, there are three trash cans. One is for leftover food, another is for plastic and the third is for paper. All three trash cans are tiny too! The average American family trash can is probably 10 times the size of the theirs. The family doesn’t accumulate much trash so that’s why they are so small. That’s something that I’m going to have to adjust to because sadly, I do not reduce, reuse and recycle as much as I should to help out the environment.

A lot of their food is fresh and comes from a local market and is not processed and packaged like American meat, cheese and bread. This is something that I could easily get used to! Today I went with the family to a local bread shop where there were probably 50 different kinds of bread. I’ve noticed just from being here for one day that bread can never be missing from the table when the Spanish sit down to eat (breakfast, lunch or dinner). I don’t mind though because it’s not the classic thin-sliced American bread I’m used to, it’s thick and rich tasting artisan bread that is always available at every meal. Tonight at dinner the family had a variety of cheese to sample. They were so excited about it too. The kids and parents would ask me if I tried all three and asked which one was my favorite. They laughed and carried on saying I picked the favorite of Javi and Laura (Swiss cheese) and Alex and Marta both like Brie.

I have noticed that both adults and kids alike always finish their meals and clean their plates! That’s something that I need to get used to because I am so accustomed to getting too much to eat and then wasting half of it. I noticed at every meal today we had three courses. An appetizer, main course and dessert. Even though an appetizer might just be some bread and butter or soup they always start with something before eating the main meal. Even for dessert, it’s always some sort of fruit they pick from to eat (kiwis, oranges, pears or apples). Alex and Laura were both talking a lot at dinner because they were excited to have me as their guest and hardly saved time to eat. The parents kept reminding them to eat or would pick up a piece of whatever they were eating and give to them. The kids ate just as much as the parents did (a full bowl of soup, bread, cheese, pork, and their choice of fruit). Laura ate her pumpkin soup and I thought she had finished it all but the dad scrapped her bowl and fed her the last spoonful. I felt bad because they were all eating their fruit before I was even finished with my bread and cheese. I guess I eat a little bit slower than what they do. One thing is that they are very dedicated to eating and don’t mess around with it!

Adios, America… Hola, Spain!

After a 2 hour flight from Nashville, TN to Newark, NJ and a whopping 8 hour flight to Barcelona, Spain I am happy to say I finally made it here safely!! Our flight was so long that we ate dinner and breakfast on the plane! Luckily, I was able to get some sleep on the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a window seat on the plane and my headphone outlet didn’t work so I couldn’t watch the free movies they provided for us on United Airlines. Mandi, a fellow WKU Student Teacher, was kind enough to share her earbuds with me as we watched Meet the Millers. Once we landed we were greeted by our WKU Active Learning Abroad coordinator who gave us our first days agenda and maps that showed where our home stay placements were compared to the location of the school. Luckily, I only have a 14 minute walk to CRMSI school. A bus took us to the school where I met Javi, my host dad. Javi greeted me with a familiar handshake and a friendly smile. He drove us back to the apartment where he gave me a tour and I unloaded my stuff. Alex (his son who is 9 years old) was kind enough to give me his room during my stay. Alex in turn was staying with his 6 year old sister, Laura, for the time being. I was welcomed into my room with balloons and handmade drawings. I could tell Alex and Laura spend some time working on their masterpieces 🙂 After setting my things down, Javi and I went down to a coffee shop below the apartment. I tried a Spanish Ham sandwich which was delicious! Javi said it was a specialty there. He asked what food I liked and I said I was willing to try anything because I am not a picky eater. While there, Javi also mentioned some of the activities the family likes to do in their spare time like going to the park and museums. I can tell they are a young, active family eager to host their first foreign exchange student! I am excited to meet the rest of my host family- Marta (my host mom), Alex, and Laura!