Back in America

I have been home for exactly two weeks today. I know that just 15 days ago I was with my Spanish family in Valladolid but it feels like a lifetime ago and I miss them.  I arrived back in the United States on Wednesday the 27th and my parents took me to my favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse and I had some good American steak.  Then I was home for three days and took off again to Houghton for a week of basketball camp which was so much fun but extremely exhausting.  Once I got home from that, I jumped in the truck with my sister and I went with her to watch her barrel race in a rodeo over the weekend.  Needless to say, I have not had a lot of downtime since my trip.  So, I am looking forward to this week to take a little break from all the craziness and really reflect on my time in Spain.

I didn’t expect to return home and feel much different but that is exactly what happened.  I have found more confidence and fearlessness since stepping so far out of my comfort zone during my trip.  Now, I feel like next year, when I enter the adult world, I will be ready and honestly, interviewing for a job has nothing on trying to order a meal in Spanish (which I did get a lot better at).  It is strange looking back at all of the things I did in Spain because it already feels like so long ago since I was there.  When people ask me how my trip was, I am not sure what they expect me to say. There’s a long version and a short version which consists of me simply saying, “it was really good! A truly amazing experience,” because how am I supposed to pack six weeks of amazing new adventure into a short, quick response?  There is just so much I want to share but I cannot put it all into words and when I do, I could talk for hours.  I saw a lot of amazing cities and areas of Spain where I fell in love with the Spanish architecture because of its intricate detail and beauty.  Every building was unique and consisted of very careful craftsmanship.

Not only were the things I saw incredible, but so were the people I met.  I made some lifelong connections while I was over there with the owner of United Cultures Language School, my host family, the other interns and even some of my students.  Being a part of the United Cultures Language School team was amazing.  I loved working with the students, both kids and adults, and being able to connect with them in English.  I had a lot of fun making crafts and playing board games with the students and other teachers, even a summer-themed game I created that never seemed to end but it definitely kept things entertaining!  I hope to see them all again someday.  I have the utmost gratefulness for my host family, Rosa, Pachi, Candella, and Jimena.  They truly made my time there so special, always taking me on adventures, whether it be sightseeing, the girls’ hockey games, or cheering on El Salvador rugby team.  I had so much fun being a part of their family and cannot wait to see them again in the future. I will stay in touch with all of the people I met because my time over there was precious and is now a part of my story and who I am.  I am beyond grateful for this experience and I am thrilled to see its impact on me in the months and years to come.


About the author

Emily Swanson

Hello, my name is Emily Swanson! I have spent my whole life in Jamestown, NY on my family’s horse farm, except for the time I spend at Houghton College where I will be a senior in the fall and of course two months that I have spent living with another family in Valladolid, Spain. I am majoring in Inclusive Childhood Education with a concentration in Intercultural Studies. At Houghton, I am a part of the women’s basketball team, who I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with last summer. This summer I adventured alone to Valladolid where I taught English at a language emersion school, United Cultures Language School. I am so grateful for this opportunity JCC has provided me with and hope you enjoy reading about my journey!