Advantages and disadvantages of staying with a Spanish host family

spanish house- image by of the three accommodation options we offer at GoStudySpain (the other two being staying in a shared student flat or in student residences) is the chance to stay with a host family. This option is half-board, which means that all meals except lunch are provided, and involves living in the house of a Spanish family- usually with an older couple whose children have moved out. GSS has a vast network of host families, all of whom have been carefully selected and approved.


Complete immersion

This accommodation option offers you complete immersion in the Spanish language and culture. It is highly unlikely that your host family will speak English or any other language apart from Spanish, therefore you will be obligated to speak Spanish at all times with them. Everyday tasks and activities will turn into an opportunity to improve your language skills and discover more about the culture- watching Spanish TV, listening to Spanish radio, eating Spanish food…

Support and guidance

You may feel ‘safer’ knowing that if you have any problems or queries you can turn to your host parents for advice. They will be able to answer your questions about the country and city, give your directions, advise you on public transport, etc. This is especially a good option for those that are living abroad for the first time.

Reduced homesickness

The feeling of belonging to a family and having a ‘home’ can greatly alleviate those feelings of homesickness that everybody experiences when living abroad.

Disadvantages familia- image by

House rules

When living with a host family, you will have to abide by their rules. Of course, these vary according to family, but you may have a curfew, or restrictions on inviting friends over. Generally, you will feel less independent.

Feeling like a lodger

The vast majority of host families accept students into their homes only as a source of income- some have no interest in actually making the student a part of the family. Most families that GSS work with are welcoming and will integrate you into the family, but this is not always the case.

Less choice

You will receive half-board (all meals except lunch), so if you are a fussy eater or prefer to cook your own food, this may be a problem.


Most families take on more than one foreign student, so you will usually have another student (perhaps even more than one) staying with you. This could be positive or negative depending on the circumstances- perhaps the two of you will end up speaking English all the time and thereby hinder your progress in Spanish. Conversely, you could make a lifelong friend.spanish friends- image by

Consider what is most important to you regarding accommodation in Spain- staying with a host family is a popular option due to the safety and security it provides, especially for first-timers abroad. If you don’t like the sound of this option then don’t worry- GSS have two other accommodation options which are suited to those wanting more independence and freedom.