Living with a Spanish host family means living the full experience of the local lifestyle and culture abroad. Before telling you about a typical day in my life in Logroño, La Rioja, I want to encourage you to live the host-family experience. Believe me, I am truly living like a Spaniard and I’m creating life-long memories that I never would have had if I lived by myself.
Besides, my Spanish host family is very cheerful and they helped me when I just came to Spain. They have guided me with everything that came along with settling in and getting used to a new culture and school system. As a result, with all of this help and guidance, my life in Spain has been far from stressful and I am extremely grateful.
A typical day living with a Spanish Host Family
At school time
On a typical school day living with a Spanish host family, I wake up and walk downstairs to a near-professional egg omelet made with olive oil from the field of my host mom’s father. After breakfast, the family and I get ready for school and we leave together in the same car.
Surprisingly, my host mom teaches at my school and her three children learn there too, which makes this experience just overall better and very convenient. When we get to the school, quite literally all of the students run up to me, hug me, and yell “good morning Stephanie” and “hello Stephanie” in English. This must be how Shakira feels because I feel famous!
School starts at 8:30 for Secundaria and at 8:45 for Primaria. My schedule is different every day as I teach both in Secundaria and Primaria. I will see one class per week, which I love because I get to see so many different students. I mostly look forward to teaching the classes that my host family’s kids are in. We give each other “the look” while I’m teaching and we can’t help but laugh or smile at each other.
After school time
When school finishes at 2:25 pm, I’ll connect with my host family, usually at the carnicería across the school, and we’ll drive home together for the most important meal of the day: lunch. The tradition here is to typically have a first course, which will be vegetables, a Spanish soup of potatoes and chorizo, rice with
tomato, lentils stew, or a salad. Then it comes the second course which can be chicken filets, prawns or mussels, meat, or pasta carbonara (all doused in olive oil, of course). We always talk about each other’s days and what our plans are for the rest of it.
Then we relax for about an hour and, after that, I’ll help the kids with their English homework for a
bit. The kids in my family have activities and extra lessons every day during the week, such as football, basketball, piano, french, and math tutoring. This is when I can make phone calls to family and friends and I’ll have my alone time! At the end of the day, we all meet for dinner around 10 pm, relax on the couch as a family, and then go to bed.
Other activities during my free time
On Thursday nights, I always go to a bar with the language intercambio in Logroño, which is a mix of local people
from other countries that want to learn English and Spanish. We have a WhatsApp group that is very active and we make group plans for the week or weekend, like visiting wineries (a very popular activity in La Rioja). I am also a part of a group called, “Girl Gone International” on Facebook, which meets once a month in town. This is how I’ve met friends in the town and it’s so fun to go out with them!
One of my favorite memories has been hosting a Friendsgiving dinner at my host family’s house with my
friends from the language intercambio. My host family loves sharing their Spanish traditions with me as well as encouraging me to bring my own to their house. You get what you give in this experience!
Weekends with my host family
On the weekends I say yes to everything! I will always take up the opportunity if my host family asks me to join their plans. That’s why I came to Spain, to branch outside of my comfort zone and to richly learn how to live in another culture.
Another perk of living with a host family is practicing my Spanish! I am exposed to conversations with their friends and family who only speak Spanish, so it’s the perfect time to practice. For example, my host family and I are constantly switching from speaking Spanish to English, which I believe makes this experience the most beneficial.
My favorite memories with my host family
- Cheering on my host family’s kids during their football and basketball games
- Learning how to make homemade seafood paella and Spanish barbeque
- Exploring medieval mountain towns and visiting historical castles
- Celebrating my first Three Wise Men while eating a roscón cake
- Going horseback riding with my host daughter
- Seeing bulls run in the streets of a nearby town
- Taking a siesta by the pool in the backyard after a two-hour lunch with family
- Having pizza nights in, curled up on the couch, watching a movie in Spanish with
- Having my USA family meet me in Spain for Christmas and meeting my host
So, have I convinced you to take the leap and live with a host family yet? Feel free to leave your comments or ask any questions! Additionally, have a look at this blogpost and this video to learn more about the Spanish host family experience.