Living with a Host Family Q&A
Our host families have always been a very popular accommodation option for our students. The added cultural component plus feeling safe and at home in a new place are top reasons for choosing to live with a host family. We asked our current student John Paul what it has been like to live with a host family in Valencia. Hopefully, his answers can shed some light on the experience!
1. Why did you choose Valencia as your destination?
I believed Valencia would be an interesting city to explore in Spain. It is quite near to the beach, it is temperate, and it is a bustling city. Despite Covid, there are still multiple activities and opportunities.
2. What made you choose host family living in Valencia?
In my opinion, it is the best way to learn the language. By being exposed to the language 24/7, you learn not just formal conversation in class but also colloquial expressions and realistic conversation from people that have grown up speaking the language. Host families also introduce you to many cultural components in a way living by yourself would not be able to accomplish.
3. What’s it like living with a local family?
I have found it very enjoyable! My host family has been so gracious and has been very patient with me as I learn Spanish. I’ve learned so much from having stayed with a host family.
4. Would you recommend the half board or full board option?
I would say that, as always, it depends. I have found that my choice of full board has been a good one during Covid because many of the normal restaurants and cafes I would usually eat at are closed or have limited operations. As such, having each meal provided has worked best for me.
5. Have you noticed any improvement in your Spanish conversation abilities by staying with a host family?
Yes, definitely. The combination of going to Spanish lessons and learning about Spanish vocabulary and grammar, and then going home and practicing it with my family allows me to comprehend the language concretely.
6. What have you learned about the Spanish culture with your host family?
I have learned about the close relationship between parents and children. In many ways I have found that many of the values appreciated in the United States are also taught here in Spain. While other unique values can be found here in Spain. In particular, there is a culture of taking time to appreciate the small pleasures of life here in Spain.
7. What’s it like living and studying abroad during the pandemic?
At the time of writing this, Spain is just coming out of a more restricted phase of Covid restrictions. This included many closers such as restaurants, gyms, and shops having limited operations. Additionally, I was not able to leave Valencia. This definitely dampered the experience, but I have been finding ways to stay active despite these restrictions.
8. Has the program been what you expected or have you been surprised by anything?
I was greatly surprised by how helpful my host family has been in assisting me learn Spanish and overall living in Spain. Their advice and experience has greatly eased the stress of traveling in a Spanish-speaking country. My host mother has a lot of experience traveling to foreign countries and she offered every piece of advice she could.
9. Would you recommend host family living to future students?
Yes, I would! As I have said, the combination of Spanish lessons and speaking with the members of my host family has allowed me to learn Spanish more fully and completely. For any high school students, it is particularly helpful because it gives them a safe space to fall back on too.
10. What advice would you give to any future student wanting to study abroad in Valencia?
Personally, I believe it’s most important to have patience with yourself, especially as you start the program. It’s natural to feel as though you’re not getting anywhere in your learning, but it’s important to remind yourself that it takes time and effort. Also, make sure to make time to rest. You don’t have to completely cut yourself off from your previous friends and family. I have found journaling has helped me greatly.
If host family living interests you and you’d like to find out more about our host family experience, click here.