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First-Year Housing

Our international community of first-year students have the choice to live anywhere they choose in Madrid.

If you are a first-year student, we suggest that you live with other students new to SLU-Madrid in El Faro, a student residence/dorm located within walking distance of campus. Living at El Faro will contribute greatly to your first-year experience at SLU-Madrid.

El Faro has provided a great residential experience for our first-year students, as well as extraordinary care and services to our students in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19. Living, learning and growing with students studying at SLU-Madrid will enrich your education in ways that cannot be matched. In addition, research suggests that students who live in residential communities tend to perform better academically, graduate earlier than those who live off-campus, get more involved, and have stronger connections to their peers. 

New SLU-Madrid students have several housing options to consider. Find information on each of them below.

El Faro Residence Hall Suggested for First-Year Students

We suggest you live at El Faro to get the real first-year university experience as a student. To join this community, you must apply and contract your room directly with El Faro, not through SLU-Madrid. 

There are many benefits to living with other SLU-Madrid and non-SLU-Madrid incoming students at El Faro, including: 

  • 24-hour a day reception/security.
  • Amenities include bed linen/towel service, weekly cleaning, internet access, and all utilities.
  • Furnished single or double rooms, with ample storage, individual kitchenettes and bathrooms.
  • The meal plan includes in-house dining as well as lunches served on campus at the Unity Cafeteria (by Sodexo), seven days a week (except for Christmas and Easter week).
  • Study rooms, game rooms, gyms, dining rooms (with outdoor terraces), vending machines, laundry service and parking.
  • The residence hall offers social activities, cultural events and sports.
  • There are residence advisors (RA) on site. RAs are students who already attend SLU-Madrid and support first-year students with their transition to college life.

At El Faro, you will reside with students not only from SLU-Madrid, but also from other universities in Madrid. You will get to connect with students with whom you can share your academic interests, plans and goals.

Healthy Eating

El Faro offers a full meal plan with several options for dining. You can eat three meals a day at your residence hall, or you can pick up a meal ticket in the morning and grab lunch on campus at SLU-Madrid's cafeteria, Unity by Sodexo.

Please let staff know of any dietary restrictions you may have. First, speak to the dining staff directly. If El Faro or SLU-Madrid's cafeterias are not able to accommodate your dietary restrictions, contact the housing coordinator.

Be prepared to try different foods and to dine following Spain's traditional meal times. Note also that dining services are not available during the Christmas break and Holy Week. Students are responsible for their meals during these periods.

Resident Assistant

Living with you in El Faro will be a Resident Assistant (RA), a SLU-Madrid student leader who has been trained as a peer educator and mentor. These RAs will direct you to campus resources and help coordinate extracurricular activities to complement your learning experience as a college student. Your RA knows the ins and outs of SLU's academic programs and policies and will be committed to your success during your transition to life at SLU-Madrid and in Spain.

Student Affairs Staff

You will be signing a direct contract with El Faro, however, the student affairs staff is available to help and to serve as a liaison if you need assistance or wish to follow up on requests to El Faro staff. Our housing coordinators are also ready to help, as is the director of student affairs.

As a residential student, you enjoy considerable freedom. A benefit of attending a Jesuit University is our strong commitment to values. We value your right to privacy, freedom of choice, but also the responsibility that comes with those freedoms. You are responsible for your own space, as well as your actions. 

If you are aware of, or in the presence of a violation of El Faro's policies, and remain in the presence of, or fail to take reasonable actions to stop the violation, you are giving your implied consent to this violation and could be held responsible. 

For more information, and to reserve your future room at El Faro, visit their website

First-Year Host-Family Housing Arranged by SLU-Madrid

Saint Louis University students who wish to experience the Spanish culture and language are encouraged to take part in SLU-Madrid's first-year host family experience.

These families have years of experience working with American and international students. They'll help you to get settled in and learn your way around Madrid, as well as help you with your Spanish-language skills.

Benefits and services included in the host-family experience:

  • Immersion in Spain's language and culture. 
  • Bed linen/towel service, cleaning, internet access, and all utilities.
  • Laundry services: Laundry is done on a reduced basis, with two loads of laundry per student per week. 
  • Single or double rooms.
  • Half-board or kitchen privileges options.

Families host one, two or three students, and are located within a 20- to 40-minute subway commute from the University or within a 15- to 20-minute walk. No matter where your host-family lives, you will find that Madrid is a relatively compact city and that public transportation is safe, fast, inexpensive and efficient.

Host-Family Meal Options

  • Room and Half Board (media pensión).

    Room and half board means that your host family provides you with breakfast and dinner. This plan does not include lunch nor does it permit using the kitchen. This housing option provides flexibility to the student during the school day and on weekends. 

    In Spain, a typical breakfast may be coffee or juice and toast. Spanish families eat lunch and dinner much later than in many other countries. Dinner is lighter and is normally served around 9 p.m. You will arrange a time for dinner with your family once you are here. 

    If you have any specific dietary requirements, this request must be accompanied by a doctor's note. As soon as you receive your host-family's contact information, you must contact them directly to let them know about you. Your signed housing agreement serves as your informed consent to release information to the prospective host-family.

  • Kitchen Privileges (derecho a cocina).

    Placements with host-families who offer kitchen privileges are limited. We strongly recommend this option to students with specific dietary needs prescribed by a doctor. The host-family does not provide any meals nor any food to the students. You purchase your own food, use the host family's kitchen facilities, cook all your meals, and clean up after yourself. You will still have the convenience of having a native Spaniard close by who can help you settle in and learn the ropes.

Spaces at first-year host families are limited. Read the first-year housing payment information and apply early: online housing application. SLU-Madrid will assign you to your host family. It cannot guarantee a student's specific homestay, location, roommate preferences or that they will be hosted with more than one of their friends with the same host family. 

Once spaces are full, students will be notified that the option is full and they will be refunded the housing application fee. 

Once a student has applied and has taken occupancy with a host family, the student can request a change to another host family but must remain within the host family system. There will be no refunds if the student decides to leave the host family system.

Application and Payment Information for Host-Family Housing

The first step is to submit your online housing application. The housing coordinator will contact you to send you the SLU-Madrid host-family questionnaire. You will be able to describe your likes and lifestyle a bit better: pets, hobbies, dietary restrictions, smoking, etc. The housing coordinator will assign you to a host family that best matches your criteria. 

For Fall students, the assignment process will begin in April. For Spring students, the process will begin in October. 

First-Year Housing Payment Information

Important information for students under the age of 18: Under Spanish law, students are considered minors until the age of 18. In order to obtain the appropriate visa and later residence in Spain, any student who is a minor will need a legal guardian who is also a legal resident of Spain. Consult the Spanish consulate in your country for details. Minors may not apply for host-family housing arranged by the University. We encourage minors to live in student residences. See SLU-Madrid's new "Family Partnership Program" for additional information for incoming students under the age of 18.

Host-Family Norms and Agreement

Host families welcome international students into their Spanish homes. The rules that apply to host-family assignments reflect this philosophy. 

Other Housing Options 

Madrid is a large city with many neighborhoods that are all well-connected through the city's public transportation network. If you wish to live within walking distance from the SLU-Madrid campus, however, the neighborhoods closest to campus are Ciudad Universitaria, Chamberí and Moncloa.

Yugo Residencias has several other co-ed residences for students. Single and double rooms are available. To find out more, visit their website.

Other Student Residences: Privately run dormitories for university students to lease for a semester or an academic year are available throughout Madrid. Most are not owned or even affiliated with specific universities. 

Host Families Not Arranged by the University: 

SLU-Madrid has neither contracts nor agreements with the following companies. However, SLU-Madrid students have shared that these providers offered them good services. Some of these companies offer other housing options, such as shared apartments, as well as host families.

Colegios Mayores are private dormitories whose residents are native Spaniards studying at universities in Madrid. Single-semester housing is not an option. The application and admission process is carried out directly and solely with the colegio mayor, as they are private businesses. The application period for a colegio mayor is from early April to late May for the following academic year.

Apartments: For those who wish to find an apartment independently, students report they have had good experiences with the following services: Madrid Easy,, Study Abroad Apartments and Students Global Relocation

Off-University Housing Guide