Central College Abroad in Granada, Spain
Granada (the city) was AMAZING. The program was decent overall. My homestay was disappointing. My experience was a little like living in a crappy hostel run by a kindly, senile old man,... Arthur E.
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Granada (the City) Was AMAZING.
Submitted by Arthur E. - Davidson College | September 26, 2014
Granada (the city) was AMAZING. The program was decent overall.
My homestay was disappointing. My experience was a little like living in a crappy hostel run by a kindly, senile old man, attached to a mediocre cafeteria run by a crotchety old lady. My one request was that I not be with another American, and that I be in the older area of Granada. Instead I was with another American living in a Franco-era apartment building on an ugly, congested street. Incidentally, urban planners from Madrid actually came to our street to study exactly why it was so terrible. I can definitively say I lived on one of the ten ugliest streets in all of Spain. I did live with a couple other Spanish students, but they had little interest in talking or hanging out. Understandable, given that they already had their friends and lives.
Oh, the meals were...interesting. One of them consisted of a gelatinous, gooey cream-like substance, rolled in gross cold-cuts, then the whole thing was breaded and deep-fried. Did I say deep-fried? Yeah, that was the most common cooking method. More often the results were...disappointing. Occasionally they were More, such as calamari day. Another of my senoras favorite meals was 'ensalada.' Though this technically translates as 'salad,' salad this was not. There was a 2-inch thick layer of baked potato, topped with a 1-inch thick layer of mayonnaise; I kid you not. On top of everything were some sliced bell peppers and tomatoes. One of my friends regularly had a meal known as 'migras,' fried bread crumbs. Every once in a blue moon, my host mother would make paella, which just made the homestay even more painful, because I got to see what could have been.
The central problem with the homestay is that it wasn't any sort of cultural exchange. My homestay was a source of supplementary income for the family. Any expense on food or such cut into their profit.
All this said, the homestay experiences of my friends was pretty mixed, some very positive. One of my friends lived with this kindly old Spanish lady in a beautiful flat in the historic area of Granada. She made her gourmet meals that made me exceedingly envious.
If I could have gone back and done it again, I would've lived with European Erasmus students and Spaniards studying in Granada for a semester.