So you’ve made the exciting decision to study abroad, but now you have to figure out where to live in a foreign new city.
There are dozens of living options when it comes to studying abroad, but if you’re looking for a fully immersive experience to maximize your language learning then consider living in a homestay an absolute must. There are countless advantages of living in a homestay while studying Spanish but if you’re still on the fence about where to live, consider the following ways how living with a host family can enhance your study abroad experience.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s no secret that when it comes to language learning, full immersion is the most effective way to master new language skills. Living in a homestay while studying abroad complements the immersive experience by increasing the opportunity for language practice through daily conversation. Your host family oftentimes will not speak your native tongue and your only option to communicate is through using your Spanish.
So yes, this means you’ll have to practice your Spanish before you’ve had your morning coffee or when you’ve come home from a long day of exploring! It’s in these moments when you’re forced out of your comfort zone that your language skills truly grow. Plus, host families are accustomed to living with new language learners and are more than happy to help you practice your Spanish skills in a comfortable environment.
Experience Local Customs and Traditions
Living with a host family is a great opportunity to learn about local customs you wouldn’t necessarily experience on your own. Celebrate local holidays or cook a traditional meal at home, host families are eager to share their culture with you. This is your chance to learn about a particular holiday or finally understand why you’re not supposed to stir the bombilla when sharing mate. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience firsthand the local culture with your host family, you might even get a secret family recipe!
The Learning Never Stops
Living in a homestay while studying Spanish is like having a second Spanish class and your own “in-home” instructor. Spanish learning doesn’t have to end when you leave class, apply what you’ve learned and got some good practice in at home! Practicing Spanish with your host family is the perfect time to ask questions about words you don’t understand or even pick up some local lunfardo, or slang.
All The Comforts of Home
Moving abroad is a big decision. You leave your home behind and settle into a new culture and new city, it’s a huge change! Living in a homestay can help lessen that culture shock and provide the comfort of home while you’re abroad. You’ll know that after a day of class and exploring the city you can come home to a home-cooked meal and people anxious to hear about your day. You can sit around the living room and watch the news with your host family or help cook dinner with your host mom. Having a host family to share your life with can cure any homesickness!
Someone Always Has Your Back
In addition to having the comforts of a family to come home to, you can rest easy knowing that they will have your back while you’re living with them. Need to find a pharmacy? They can show you where their favorite one is. Don’t know how to get a Subte pass? They’ll walk you through how to get one. But more importantly, they’re looking out for you. When I lived in a homestay and was an hour late for dinner, you better believe my host mom was calling my cell phone every 5 minutes to make sure I was alright and on my way home! While at times I rolled my eyes to have an extended “Mom” abroad, it was great to know that I had someone caring about me while living in a foreign city.
You Will Always Have an Extended Family
One of the best parts of living in a homestay while studying abroad is the opportunity to make unforgettable memories with your host family. Even long after you return home, you can always keep in touch or send postcards knowing you will always have an extended family in your new country.
Want to up your language experience when you take off to learn Spanish abroad? Expanish has homestay family hosts in Buenos Aires and Barcelona to complete your cultural immersion.