Today we interview Nino González-Aller from Homestay Exchanges in Spain.
Angloinfo: Hi Nino, tell us a little about Homestay Exchanges in Spain
Nino: I originally thought it would be great idea if I could bring together two needs; one from families in Spain who are looking to improve their English with native speakers and secondly, Anglophones looking for short stay lets in Spain’s Capital City, Madrid. Through Homestay Exchange we offer short term lets with Spanish families in exchange for 2 hours English classes from Monday to Thursday. It just seemed like a win- win situation.
Angloinfo: You have an interesting past and have lived in several countries in and out of Europe. How has the experience of living in another country been for you?
Nino: Well, this experience has actually moulded not only my whole personal life but also the jobs and ventures that I have encountered. I can also say that I have a thorough global perspective in terms of politics, culture, interests. And of course one of my most important current professional activities involves making sure Spaniards get to practice English at home by hosting an American, a Brit, an Aussie, etc. I have been doing this for almost 8 years now. This way English speakers can stay with a local family for a few months spending next to nothing! All the families want from them is their English!
Angloinfo: What has been your favourite country to live in and why?
Nino: Belgium, because there I was able to not only learn French but also meet people from all over Europe. I got to study in English at a French speaking university, ULB, and worked at the Centre for European Policy Studies, CEPS, a major think-tank in the EU. I made friends for life there, and still in contact with them, no matter where I live!
Angloinfo: Nino, you’re not from Madrid, so tell us a little about the experience of living in Madrid
Nino: No, I was actually born in Cartagena but grew up in Galicia, so living in Madrid was at first a bit the experience of a provincial boy with a strong Galician accent, missing the green meadows of NW Spain and my friends and cousins left behind. Slowly I started speaking with a more neutral accent and then really became a true Madrileño as I went to university there and worked there.
Angloinfo: What do you love about living in Madrid and what frustrates you?
Nino: I love the ambiance of its streets, its awesome nightlife, the fact that you can take a city bike or a bus or a metro or a taxi and be anywhere in no time. There are so many different corners in the city, so diverse from each other, I can say there are 10 different Madrids.
I do not like the fact that the sea is not there, even though by taking a high-speed train you can solve that in no time.
Angloinfo: Would you recommend Madrid as a city to live in?
Nino: Absolutely, it is so easy to get to know people, day and night! The Madrid I got to know when I was a kid is very different from today’s. Now there are so many different cultures, cuisine… when I was a kid it was simply a melting pot for Spain, now it is a melting pot for Latin America!
Angloinfo: Do you have any funny stories about either living in another country or Madrid?
Nino: I still remember when I started living in Brussels, when in my broken French at the time I was about to pay anything on the counter and when I would get the change back the Belgian would give me the coins and say: “S’il vous plaît” and I always thought they wanted something else and I was confused so every time they said Please I would say, “Yes?” What did I do wrong? It is just that in Belgium whenever they hand you something they say “please” instead of “here you go”. In French from France they say “here you go” indeed.
Angloinfo: Fantastic Nino, thank you very much for your time. We wish you all the best with Homestay Exchanges in Spain. How can people contact you if they are interested in doing an exchange stay in Madrid or the rest of Spain?
Nino: They can simply call me or send me a WhatsApp text on +34630138129 or send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They should also check my website www.homestaysinspain.com. I am also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.