04 Jun DO’S and DON’TS for Living with a Spanish Host Family
Centro Mundolengua offers a one-of-a-kind study abroad experience and cultural immersion programs in Spain. In addition to cultural excursions, high-quality education, and premium safety services, Centro Mundolengua also places each student with a Spanish host family for an authentic homestay experience. Don’t worry, parents, we have a seven-step selection process to make sure the host families are an appropriate fit for our students. You can read more about it here, or listen to our staff explain the process.
So you know that you’re studying abroad with one of the most reputable international programs out there… but what should you actually expect from living with a Spanish host family? I’ve come up with a list of DO’S and DON’TS to help you have an unforgettable homestay in Spain.
DO expect to talk with your host family in Spanish!
Even if your level is very low, it’s important to speak to them as much as you can in Spanish. The purpose of a homestay is to be immersed in the Spanish language and culture– make the most of it! Your host family can also teach you slang specific to their cities, which will definitely help you sound like a local.
DON’T expect to immediately feel 100% comfortable living with your Spanish host family.
After all, it’s a huge change from what you’re used to! The language barrier and culture shock might confuse you, but don’t worry. Centro Mundolengua is here for you with 24/7 support services to help and guide you through this transition period.
DO expect to spend some of your free time with the members of the host family.
If they have children, don’t be afraid to play with them or even help them with their homework! If your host family is made up of adults, take the time to make conversation and get to know them. Of course, you’re welcome to take some “me-time” when you need it, but don’t spend your time abroad hiding in your room with the door closed! Try your best to actively integrate with your host family and you’ll definitely have a more enjoyable time with them.
DON’T expect your host family to wait on your hand and foot!
After all, not even your own family will do that for you! Your host family will provide you with three meals a day and weekly laundry service. However, it’s a nice gesture to help them out with some of the other household chores, like sweeping or putting away the dishes after dinner.
DO expect to improve your stay by communicating with your host family!
I cannot stress enough how important this is. For instance, if you’re a vegetarian but your host parents keep serving fish for dinner, speak up! They can’t fix the problem unless they know about it. If for some reason you feel uncomfortable speaking with your host family directly, you can talk to any of the Centro Mundolengua staff and they’ll be happy to resolve any issue you have.
DON’T expect that you’ll ever forget the memories you make during your homestay experience.
I studied abroad with Centro Mundolengua during the Spring 2015 semester, and I still look back fondly on my time with my host family. My favorite moment was when my parents came to visit me in Sevilla, and my host family took us all out for dinner. It was such a great feeling to have both my real family and my Spanish host family in the same place- not to mention the perfect opportunity to show off my new Spanish skills to my parents.
Well, there you have it! 6 do’s and don’ts to help manage your expectations for your time with a host family in Spain. If I’ve forgotten anything important, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear back from our Centro Mundolengua alumni about their experiences living with a Spanish host family!