My family abroad

BEST scholar Chastidy Vasconez shares her experiences with her host family while studying abroad in Talloires, France.
BEST student Chastidy Vasconez at Talloires campus
Chastidy Vasconez (right) with her roommate from Tufts, Kamille Bernard, A21.

This summer, Chastidy Vasconez is studying abroad in Talloires, France. Chastidy is a human factors major and a scholar in the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program. She is blogging about her experiences in Talloires during the summer of 2019.

By Chastidy Vasconez, E22

It has been about two weeks in Talloires, France and I really like my host family. Last year, I was living with a host family in Ecuador for nine months through the Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year program. I had such an amazing experience staying with them, so I was excited to do it again through Tufts in Talloires.

There’s Diego, Marina, Beatrice, Anthony, Cassis, and Pikachu. Cassis is the cutest dog - she’s lazy and likes to eat out of her bowl laying down, probably because she’s too tall. Pikachu is their cat, that’s not their cat. He comes into the house when he wants to and leaves too much hair on my roommate’s bed. We close the door now. My host sister also has two little birds in her room. She thought they were two boys this whole time, but apparently, they’re a couple because she found a tiny egg in their cage last week.

After dinner last Tuesday, I finally remembered to give my host family my gift – a mug from Ecuador and my favorite cookies. My host dad immediately claimed the mug. He said it was his mug and no one else’s, and got up to make himself a cup of tea. I was going to give it to Cassis, I joked.

My French is nowhere up to par, but I’ve been able to share plenty of laughs and giggles with my host family anyway. I was worried that I’d have a hard time navigating the language barrier, but that hasn’t hindered the relationship we are forming. At the dinner table, we speak in Spanish, English, and French. Mixing words and phrases, we talk about our days and share stories, all the while eating delicious plates of quiche lorraine, tartiflette, and gratin dauphinoise. My host family has been incredibly welcoming and kind, and I feel lucky to be a part of their family during my time here. Being immersed in the culture and learning about my family and their surrounding community has given me a unique view into what life is like here. The opportunity to travel and connect with a community abroad is a special one, and I am excited to share my experiences with my own family and friends back home.