Countdown to Nicaragua

Growing anticipation seems to shrink patience

Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

Out of all the breaks we get during the school year, spring break is my favorite one.

It comes earlier in the semester than Thanksgiving break comes in fall semester, which leaves me more time to spend with my family at home. And believe me, I enjoyed my time at home last week.

My house is welcoming: inside are my parents, brother, two dogs and, at times, my sister. It can get pretty crazy at times, but I wouldn’t trade it.

During the three weeks in Nicaragua, I think I’m most afraid to not have my support system at my fingertips. I know culture shock is going to slap me in the face the second I step out of the airport and I’ll want to turn to my parents.

However, the neat thing about going to Nicaragua is I get to live with a host family. I’ll have people I can turn to instead of trying to combat culture shock and homesickness by myself.

Sure, they’re only going to be speaking Spanish, but that’s why I had to take at least an introductory Spanish class before I go abroad. I think I would rather have a family to turn to as I try to spit out the Spanish I remember than feel like I’m alone in this new place.

The anticipation builds

As I talk about how comforting it will be to have a family to lean on while abroad, I have not mentioned that I don’t know who I’m going to be living with. I thought I would find out who my family was during orientation a few weeks back, but to my surprise, I left knowing nothing.

I think it takes time though, figuring out which family best suits the students. The Center for International Education has questionnaires for students to fill out once they were admitted into their respective programs, and I had to fill out two or three different questionnaires pertaining to my host family.

While I can’t remember verbatim what I was asked, I remember I had to write about what I was like as a child, as a teen, as a high schooler and finally, who I’ve become since arriving on campus.

I had to give input on what I was looking for in a host family, which was difficult for me to put into words. If I’ve never had a host family, how do I know what I want? I can’t just tell the CIE, “Give me a family who’s the most similar to my own family.” They don’t know my family.

Bottom line, I’m leaving in nine weeks, and each day I anticipate an email telling me my host family has been picked for me. Hopefully, I don’t find out on my way to Matagalpa, but again, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. I can only to trust the system.