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First-Year Housing

Our international community of first-year Saint Louis University — Madrid Campus students can live anywhere they choose in Madrid.

We have several great housing options for our first-year students at SLU-Madrid.

You might want the immersive experience of living with a Spanish host family that prepares your meals and becomes your family away from home. You could also want more independence, living close to host families but having the full range of the kitchen to cook for yourself. If a host family isn't for you, you could also explore living in a residence hall within walking distance of campus. There is something for everyone here in Madrid.

Read more about each of these options below.

Off-Campus Residence Hall

For years, SLU-Madrid students have lived in the El Faro residence hall, just a quick, 10-minute walk from campus. SLU-Madrid doesn't own or operate any residence halls, so students who choose to live here work directly with El Faro to create a housing contract.

What you can expect:

  • 24-hour-a-day reception/security.
  • Bed linen/towel service, weekly cleaning, internet access and all utilities.
  • Furnished rooms with ample storage, kitchenettes and bathrooms.
  • A meal plan with in-house dining that gives you access to lunches on the SLU-Madrid campus:
    • Dining services can accommodate dietary restrictions, so be sure to work with the El Faro staff early about how to meet your needs.
    • The meal plan is available every day following traditional Spanish meal times. The only days the dining spaces are closed are for Christmas break and during Holy Week.  
  • Study rooms, game rooms, a workout facility, dining rooms, outdoor terraces, vending machines, laundry access and parking.
  • Social activities, cultural events and sports.
  • SLU-Madrid resident advisors (RA) on-site to support first-year students transitioning to college life.
  • Opportunities to meet other El Faro residents who are students from universities across Madrid.

Resident Advisors

Living with you in El Faro will be a resident advisor (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.

SLU-Madrid Reminders

You will be signing a direct contract with El Faro, however, the Student Life staff is available to help and to serve as a liaison if you need us. Email any time with questions.

Living in an off-campus residence hall comes with a lot of freedom. We value your freedom and right to privacy, and we remind you that with that freedom comes great responsibility. You are responsible for your own space and actions, regardless of where you live while studying at SLU-Madrid. 

If you are aware of or involved in a violation of El Faro's policies and fail to take reasonable actions to stop the violation, your actions could be reported by El Faro to SLU-Madrid, and you could be held responsible through the University's Student Handbook.

Similar Options

Yugo Residencias (parent company of El Faro) operates other student residence halls close to campus and throughout Madrid that house SLU-Madrid students. Two more Yugo residence halls are also within walking distance of campus and have historically housed SLU-Madrid students. They are:

Contact the residences directly for more information or to apply for housing.

First-Year Host Family Housing

We encourage students who are interested in experiencing Spanish culture, language and food to live with one of SLU-Madrid's host families. 

These families have years of experience working with SLU-Madrid students, and are ready to help you to settle in and learn your way around Madrid. They are also eager to work with you on speaking and understanding Spanish if you don't already.

Our students frequently tell us that living with a host family during their first year was a life-changing experience, and that they formed connections they carried with them through their time at SLU-Madrid and beyond.

What you can expect:

  • Immersion in Spanish language, food and culture.
  • Bed linen/towel service, cleaning, internet access and all utilities included.
  • Laundry services of two loads of laundry per student per week.
  • Single or double room options, depending on each student's interests and needs.
  • Options for students who want their host families to cook for them or if they want to live more independently and cook for themselves:
    • Many families can accommodate dietary restrictions, so please be sure to note any needs in your application.
  • In your application, we will ask questions to place you in a home that meets your needs. Sometimes, however, your needs change and you might want to switch houses. At any time, you can contact or come by our offices on the main floor of Padre Rubio Hall, and we can walk you through your options to move with a different host family. There will be no refund for students who decide to leave the host family system.

Host-Family Options

We have two categories of host families: room and half board, which includes breakfast and dinner provided by your host family, or semi-independent living, where you cook for yourself in your host home. Check out the full breakdown of the differences below.

Room and half board (media pensión)

  • Your host family provides you with breakfast (typically a traditional Spanish breakfast of toast, coffee and/or juice) and dinner.
  • Your host family will talk to you upon arrival about meal times so you can prepare accordingly, as Spanish families eat their meals later than in many other countries. 
  • If you have dietary restrictions, please list that in your housing application so we can match you with a host family that offers those accommodations.
  • This option does not include lunch, nor does it permit the use of the host family's kitchen.
  • This option includes all of the information listed above regarding laundry, cleaning and other amenities.

Semi-independent host family (familia anfitriona semi-independiente)

  • For students who want a little independence or who have specific dietary needs and would rather prepare their own meals.
  • Students purchase their own food and can use the kitchen facilities in their host family home to make their meals.
  • Students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen.
  • Host families are still nearby to help students settle in and learn more about Spanish culture, navigating Madrid and more.
  • There are limited options available for semi-independent host family homes, so apply early! We will assign people who want semi-independent housing in the order their applications are received.
  •  This option includes all of the items listed above in terms of laundry, cleaning and other amenities.

Application and Payment Information

The host family housing application is live, so please apply as soon as possible using the online housing application. If you have any access issues, email There is a 200 euros, non-refundable application fee to complete the process.

We will start placing fall 2023 first-year students by April 15 based on the order in which applications are received.

Find First-Year Housing Payment Information

SLU-Madrid Reminders

These host families welcome international students into their homes and are eager to help with transitioning to live in a different country. Out of respect for everyone's needs, we created the following documents that highlight the rules and expectations of living in a host home. 

Students under age 18: Under Spanish law, students are considered minors until age 18. 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 are not allowed to apply for host-family housing arranged by the University.

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.

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 and 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 processes are 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.

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

Read the Guide to Off-Campus Housing