Heather Norton

Seville, Spain


I am a senior at Keene State College but I am studying abroad in Seville, Spain to complete my Spanish major requirements. Here, I live with a host family where I have a mother, a father, a 24 year old brother and an 18 year old brother who has autism.

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

The first day was a little difficult because I hadn’t been practicing my Spanish that much, but when I arrived to the apartment where my family lives it was easy to settle back into speaking Spanish.

When I arrived they were all so friendly and loving toward me and went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable. None of my family members speak English, so sometimes there is difficulty trying to have them understand what I am saying but my host mother works with me and helps me improve my Spanish by correcting me if my phrases aren’t correct. My host mother’s full time job is being a caretaker for the whole family. She prepares me breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

She also cleans my room and also washes and folds my laundry, which is very different for me because I am used to living on my own, preparing my own meals and doing my own laundry. Although I can’t complain — I feel spoiled here!

I was given an opportunity to be a tutor for two Spanish children. Being an elementary education major, I decided it was a great idea. I never realized how hard it was to teach a child English until I started working with them.

I get paid for my tutoring but I feel like I am learning the most by teaching them. Not only do I teach them English, they teach me new words in Spanish. This will help me in the future if I have a student who is ESL, or English as a Second Language, because I learned that sometimes things don’t go the way I plan.

I am in a really small program of only 30 students studying Spanish. There is a policy at my school that we are not allowed to speak English, which really helps force us to use our Spanish to the fullest. I have made Spanish friends which also help me with my Spanish, as well as showing us what the Spanish lifestyle is really like.

When I am not in Seville I am usually traveling around Europe with the friends I have made here. We have been to Portugal, Morocco, London, Dublin, Rome, Florence, Paris and many parts of Spain. Seville is so amazing, that when we go away for a weekend we start to miss our host families, friends and the Spanish language.

This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity because I have been to so many places and visited so many different cultures, tried so many new foods and made many different friends.

I only have two more weeks left in Spain before I return back to America and it is very hard to picture going back. I never want to leave Seville, but am hopefully going to return after I graduate.

Share and Enjoy !