Home Away from Home

Caroline Brock Arcadia in Granada, Spain


February 26, 2018

The adventures in Granada continue! Yesterday we went hiking in Los Cahorros de Monachil, which is just outside of Granada. Our Spanish moms packed us picnic lunches, and we spent the day exploring, and then when we were completely exhausted, we got to come back into the city to a home cooked meal. It’s long days like that that make me especially grateful that even though I’m almost 4,000 miles away from my family in the US, I have a home and family here at the end of every day.

When studying abroad in Granada, you have the option between living in an apartment with Spanish and international students or in a homestay with a Spanish family. This is one of the biggest decisions you make about your semester, and was one that I went back and forth on before finally settling on doing the homestay.

One of the deciding factors for me was the guaranteed exposure to both Spanish language and culture. My strongest hesitation came from the fear that I would be sacrificing, at least to some degree, the freedom that so many students love about college and especially studying abroad. Having been in Spain for about six weeks now, I can say that I am completely happy with my decision to stay with a family!

Before making my decision, I did a lot of research, but what I got from Googling “living with a host family,” only made me more confused. One list of positives and negatives noted the potential of having a curfew as a reason to opt for student housing rather than staying with a family. Students who stay with families in the Arcadia program are given keys to the apartments, and we come and go freely, so there’s no restriction on when we have to be back in for the night, and no worries that we’ll be locked out if the family isn’t home. The main expectations when living with a family are that you keep your room tidy and let them know if you won’t be home for a meal so they don’t prepare food for you.

The other concern I had was that I would be far away from the other students in the program if I did a homestay and the majority of the others were in the apartment building. I really didn’t need to worry about this–Granada is a small enough city that most things are within a reasonable walking distance to each other, and about two-thirds of our group is in homestays, while the apartments are only about a 10 minute walk from where I live. We’re all located in the downtown area of the city, which is about a 25 minute walk from the Centro de Lenguas Modernas.

When you live in a homestay, you also don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or doing laundry, and you have your family as a built-in guide to the city and Spanish teacher. If you choose to live in an apartment, you’ll probably get to live with Spanish students, and have the opportunity to learn new Spanish recipes to cook for yourself, so, while I love my homestay, there’s no wrong choice for housing in Granada!