Living with a Spanish family
Are you traveling abroad with MundoLengua for a Spanish culture and language immersion program or to study? Have you decided to live with a Spanish family so that you can perfect your Spanish and to truly experience the rich Spanish culture?
As the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry!” In order to prepare yourself for your stay with a Centro MundoLengua Spanish family, we have provided a brief, yet exhaustive list of advice to make your transition into a new culture as enriching and comfortable as possible:
The Spanish schedule:
You will recognize the difference right away! “Spanish time” at first can be disorienting and you will have to adjust to a different pace of life. Meal times take place two hours later than in most countries. Prepare yourself to eat lunch with your host family after 14:00 and not to eat dinner until at least 21:00!
Another special Spanish tradition is the siesta. This tradition originated during Roman times and is practiced in a few other select countries. Daily rising summer temperature are the reason for this commonly practiced custom. During this time of day, the city is a little less lively and the house is quiet.
Spanish houses will surprise you! In general, the majority of Spanish families do not live in houses, but rather they live in apartments. Space is limited. Therefore, you will probably share a room with one or two other students. Additionally, many times you will have to share a bathroom with the whole family. Do not be surprised if you cannot lock the door to your bedroom or to the bathroom; locks on doors inside the house are almost nonexistent. Also, gas and electricity is extremely expensive; moreover you will need to be conscious of your energy consumption.
Family composition :
In Spain, and particularly in Andalucía, children live at home until a much later age. Sometimes they live at home until 30 or even older! Do not be surprised if you have a host “brother” or “sister” around this age. Additionally, you will probably have the opportunity to meet the extended family several times during you visit through family meals or other events they may have planned.
Manner of greeting:
Upon arrival to Spain, your host family will give you two little kisses on the cheek. Do not worry this is normal! It may seem a little awkward to foreigners at first, but this is the normal way to greet and say goodbye in Spain. Furthermore, you will notice Spaniards use a lot of body language and are very expressive!
The food between Spain and your culture will be distinct. You will see that Spaniards are extremely proud of traditional Spanish food and cook it often. While living with a Spanish family, you will have the opportunity to taste a variety of traditional Spanish foods like, tortilla espanola, jamón ibérico, las croquetas, el gazpacho and many other various dishes. You will notice that Spaniards often fry foods. If you prefer a leaner food preparation method, do not hesitate to talk with you Spanish family.
Living with a Spanish family is a unique opportunity to experience the true Spanish culture. Want our advice? Embrace these cultural differences! You will surprise yourself with how quickly you will assimilate into your “new” culture. If you would like to learn more about what it is like to live with a Spanish family, we invite you to check out our videos: