Staying with a host family will certainly be a unique experience. You will have the chance to learn about some typical Spanish customs which it would be very difficult to know otherwise.
It’s a must that you show an open minded attitude to enjoy to the maximum. Remember that a good sense of humor will help you get through your new life in Spain.
All families are very keen in sharing their homes with you. Therefore you should always make an effort to participate, to be understanding and to try your best for a great experience. Don’t forget that good manners are essential to build a great connexion with your host family. You’ll have the same rights and responsibilities as any other family member. So you should always ask for permission and must take into account others’ opinions and feelings. Your relationship with the host family will depend upon your attitude and willingness to adapt to the new environment.
Do not hesitate to ask for explanations. It’s important that you ask if there is anything you don’t understand. Spaniards will love to learn about how different (or similar) their way of living is compared to your home country.
People in Spain are very outgoing and they will appreciate that you would show them how you are feeling. If you’re particularly shy, please let them know. Otherwise, they might understand that they’re not doing enough to make you feel welcomed.
Everything will turn out great with willingness and always by talking about it all. Spanish families include uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents and they meet up on a regular basis. Adults’ level of English is quite basic, so there you have a great opportunity to practice your Spanish.
We would like to give you some tips about how life in Spain is. Despite their uniqueness, there are a few typical customs in common.
It’s quite handy to know the meal, bed or going out timetables beforehand as they may differ a lot from those in your home country.
Our meals timetables might sound a bit odd at the beginning. Spaniards have their lunch between 14.00 and 15.00 and it’s the main meal. Later, they’ll have their dinner between 21:00 and 22:00.
It’s typical to gather around the table for a meal. Consequently, Spaniards do it as often as they can. It’s an important event not only seating for the meal but to talk and enjoy being with family and friends. On weekends, the “sobremesa” (time after each meal) could be very, very long.
Talk to your host family to know their timetables and tell them about yours. It would be a perfect topic to practice. Spanish families usually cook Mediterranean and local food. At the beginning they will try to offer you the most typical dishes. If you enjoy them, please congratulate the cooks. They will be very pleased!
Table manners are similar to yours. They might differ from family to family but do talk about them.
Sunday lunch is the perfect day to get together with family and friends. People usually take the chance to make their family visits on that day and take a long “sobremesa”.
Siesta is not as common as you might have been told, even less in the north of Spain. Nevertheless some people might have a small “siesta” after lunch, especially on weekends when it’s hot.
If you don’t feel like having a nap, do not worry as there are many activities to do with your host brother or sister: practicing a sport at the Grupo Covadonga club, going to the beach, going for a walk… there won’t be time to get bored, that’s a promise!
Additionally, depending upon your age, you can enjoy the night life or going out with your Spanish friends, but bare in mind we will need your parents’ consent.
Our meals timetables are set around our business hours. Foreigners usually get shocked when finding out that our shops don’t open until 10:00am and that they keep running until 20:00 or 21:00 pm. Some shops even close during our lunch hours too!!
All misunderstandings can be solved with good intentions and, mainly, talking it through. Nuria and Paula will always be there to help you out. Everybody will kindly help with your pronuntiation or vocabulary. Then, please don’t be afraid of asking them to speak on a slower pace or repeat whatever you didn’t get.
This is a great way to learn your Spanish. Try not to be too shy, and try to have an open mind; you’ll be amazed by your quick progress in the language. Be your home country best ambassador, be nice and kind. Have your bedroom kept to the tidiest.