Student Spotlight: Natalina Cosenza on Becoming Part of the Family

UCLA student Natalina Cosenza spent the fall term at King’s College London. Like many study abroad students, Natalina wanted to supplement her academic experience with travel while she was in the UK, but her desire to travel led her to a unique opportunity! Here’s her story about staying with a host family in Northern Ireland:

Natalina with host family cropped

Natalina with her host family

I heard about a program called Host UK at my orientation for King’s College London. King’s offered this program to all their international students and since I had a free weekend in October I decided to look into it. After signing up online I was matched with a host family in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. I wanted the chance to experience the UK outside of a student’s perspective and this program gave me that opportunity. John and Eleanor, my hosts, welcomed me into their home and treated me like family. They even offered me a cup of tea about every two hours or so, which felt very fitting and festive!

I was only there for 3 days but within that time, John and Eleanor made me feel Natalina in Irelandvery comfortable and I really loved being able to see a new place, relax in a real home and have home-cooked meals. They also had a dog named Lucy, which was so exciting because being away from home for so long makes me miss my own dog! Overall, I’m really happy I chose to participate in the Host program. It was totally different travel experience than all my other excursions with friends and I would definitely recommend it!