PAULA HUERTA’S ARTICLE: A NEW LIFE FOR 3 MONTHS
The student from 4th ESO Paula Huerta wrote this interesting article as a part of a class project, which talks about her recent experience living in Ireland during one term.
My life was boring. I was trapped inside a never-ending routine. Every day was an exact copy of the day before it. But suddenly everything changed! Another country its doors to give me the chance to start something different that would turn my life upside down.
One of the latest fashions in the few last years is sending children to another country so they can improve languages such as English. My parents weren’t an exception, they asked me if I wanted to go for a term or maybe even a year to learn English to another country. My parents had friends who had sent their children and the feedback was always positive. So as my English level was high enough and it seemed to be a good chance to improve my English fluency, we started looking for information. My uncle recommended us an agency because he had several students with great experiences.
A year ago my parents asked me if I wanted to go to another country for 3 months or a year to improve my English. I was not really sure if I wanted to go or not at the beginning. I thought that I would miss my family and friends a lot. One of the things that we did to decide it was talking to the school and know if I was allowed to go or not. Another of the things that you have to value is if you English level is high enough. After hearing several opinions, I decided to take advantage of that opportunity and spend the first term in Ireland.
THE ADAPTATION PROCESS
Before meeting my host family, the family I would stay with for 3 months, my parents decided to rent a car and travel across Ireland for a week to know how my new home was. One of the first things I noticed was that in Ireland it rains EVERY DAY. The day can start being sunny; there can be nearly no clouds in the sky; however no matter what, it will always end up raining in one moment of the day (or all the day…).
The village where I was going to stay, Ballybunion, was small. I arrived in summer so most of the pubs, hotels and beach shops were open. Anyway, more than the half of them closed when the school started.
I remember my parents and I before we met my host family. We were in the car and I was joking, I said “I’m sure they made lasagne for dinner, like in the films” and I laughed. That was exactly what we had for dinner. The first days in the family were weird. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Sometimes I asked if they could repeat the things from one to four times, but if in the third or fourth time I didn’t get it I said yes or okay.
I lived in a house in the middle of the road far from everything. I had to go by car downtown. In the village there was nothing you can do. The only things were a few fast food restaurants, the supermarket, the gym, a library, the church and the youth club. I ended up going to the gym from 3 to 4 days each week and I had dinner in the pizza restaurant every week with a few friends.
The first day at school I felt a little bit lost. I couldn’t understand what everyone was saying and I just knew two people. I think that most of the international students were in the same situation, so soon we made a group of friends. The next two weeks were difficult too but little by little I got used to it. The school had a similar structure to the ones in the USA. They have a different classroom for each subject. I liked how it was, although you had to walk outside to go to the Art or the History room and that was not really good when the weather wasn’t nice.
Everything was really different from my hometown. You could start with the language, and then continue with the food, traditions, weather… The language was not that bad, in the end that was the reason of my “adventure”. However the food was terrible. Here in Spain we are used to the Mediterranean cuisine which includes olive oil, fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. But in Ireland I ate fish twice in 4 months and I dreamt of olive oil every day. I missed the Spanish food although Irish food is not that bad.
The weather is generally bad all over Ireland. In the place I stayed, Ballybunion, it sometimes rained really hard, as you’ve never seen before. Nearly every day it was cloudy with that typical grey sky that makes the day seem gloomy and depressing. The first days it was sunny, but then suddenly one day started raining and getting really windy and cold. Some days it was dangerous to go out because of the weather. I missed Barcelona’s weather. I could see my friends with shorts in Snapchat while I was freezing with my scarf.
The first days were tough, it’s true. But little by little it gets better, you get used to it. You make friends easily. The first thing in common is that you’re all in the same situation. I made really good friends in that experience. We Skype sometimes, and we keep in touch. I made friends from different countries like Germany and France. That’s good because you can visit them sometimes and get to know different countries.
I was very lucky with my host family. They were all very nice. I played with the girls and they enjoyed listening how I played the guitar. We watched telly together and sometimes we did art crafts. I also enjoyed talking with my host mother, Zena we were always complaining about the school and counting the days for Friday and the Christmas break.
I really think it was a good experience. My English improved that’s true, but I think it’s more important all the memories I have taken home. I will remember all the moments in Ireland. The funny ones, how I met my friends, the classes, all the hours spent in the gym, my host family… If I had the chance I would definitely come back!