Host-Family Experience


For students who wish to experience Spanish society and language to the fullest, one of the most rewarding and culturally integrating experiences you can have is to be part of a Spanish household. With the Host-Family (
señora) option, you will have the opportunity to learn and experience day-to-day life in urban Madrid. No matter where your Host Family lives, you will find that Madrid is a relatively compact city and that riding the subway is safe, fast, inexpensive and efficient.

The following services are included in all Host Family placements

  • Wireless DSL internet access;
  • bed linens;
  • laundry services (European washing machines are small, and dryers are not widely used). Laundry is done on a reduced basis. The señora will do two loads of laundry per student per week. We recommend you take all delicate washables to the dry cleaner.

Host Families:

  • most of them host more than one student;
  • are located within a 20- to 40-minute subway commute from the University; or within a 15- to 20-minute walk;
  • have years of experience working with American and international students;
  • are keenly aware of what you need to watch out for;
  • will help you to get settled in and learn your way around Madrid;
  • will be your best resource and some will even monitor and help you with your Spanish-language skills!

The Housing office always tries to place students according to their preferences, but cannot guarantee these preferences or that students can be hosted with more than one of his/her friends in the same host family. Apply early! The sooner you do so, the more families from the Host Family database you will have to choose.

Host-Family Housing arranged through the University is closed for Christmas and the Holy Week Break. (Please see the Academic Calendar for exact dates.)

Two Meal Options while living with a Host Family

Once the Housing Coordinator receives your Housing online application, you will be able to choose among host families listed under each plan from the SLU-Madrid Campus Host Family database.

  1. Half Room and Board (media pensión)
    This option includes breakfast and dinner provided by the Host Family in the home. Half room and board does not include lunch, nor the use of the kitchen facilities. You are responsible for the purchase of your own lunch. This is the most popular housing option because it provides flexibility to the student during the school day and on weekends. Being in a Spanish home, you will taste Spanish food experiencing full cultural immersion in both language and culture including Spanish cuisine. A breakfast of just coffee/juice and toast is usually eaten in the morning. Spanish families eat lunch and dinner much later than in many other countries. Dinner is lighter fare and is normally served around 9:00 pm. You will arrange dinner time with your family once you are here.

  2. Kitchen Privileges (derecho a cocina)
    Host Families with kitchen privileges are limited and strongly recommended 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. While you may not spend as much time with your host señora as those who choose the half room and board option, you will still have the convenience of having a native Spaniard close by who can help you settle in and learn the ropes. Host Families with kitchen privileges are limited. If this is your first option, we encourage you to submit your housing application early.

Students with dietary needs must advise the Housing Coordinator of any allergies or dietary requirements before arriving in Madrid.  This request must be accompanied with a doctor's note and the housing agreement signed by the student is the student’s consent to release this specific dietary information to the prospective host family/ies. Upon arrival, the student should confirm with his/her host family that notification has been received and that the dietary needs can be accommodated.

Housing Prices

Host Family Norms & Host Family Agreement (Mandatory)

Living environments are expected to be quiet and tranquil. The rules that apply to Host Family assignments reflect this philosophy. You may come and go as you please; however, you are expected to follow common courtesies and not disturb others after hours. Host Family students should ask permission to bring visitors into their Host Family’s home, they should always be received in common areas and overnight guests are not allowed.

University Cafeteria

Whatever your housing option, you might want to consider taking advantage of the Madrid Campus cafeteria where individual food items may be purchased a la carte.

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