All Spanish host families are sourced, vetted and screened through our Spanish partner organisation based in Madrid. They have a team of local coordinators based throughout Spain, who live in the local areas. Host families are carefully selected by the local coordinator after an interview and a home visit according to very definite selection criteria: open-mindedness, availability, receptiveness, welcoming, and good accommodation conditions. Placements are always in safe residential areas, which guarantee good conditions. Placements are mostly made in rural areas (countryside), suburbs and small towns, but very rarely in the centre of big towns. Students may be placed in any region in Spain, although there is an option of Guaranteed Placement, should you have a specific area of Spain in mind or are not comfortable with a small town placement. The regions where this option is available are: Seville, Zaragoza, Valencia, Madrid, Málaga, Cádiz or Alicante. There are additional fees for Guaranteed Placement. If students want a more international experience (more populated towns have more diversity of nationalities), then this would be recommended. If you are open to any location, you will not be charged anything extra and all locations in Spain are considered in the placement process.
Host families have a genuine interest in learning about the countries of their students and exposing themselves and their children to another culture by hosting. Some hold the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Also, some Spanish families ask for reciprocal help in learning some English (no more than 5 hours per week). The host families will provide: a genuinely caring environment, clean and comfortable surroundings, convenient access to school, full board, and a shared or single room. The families are visited and counselled through regular contact with the local area coordinator during your child's stay.
There is no such thing as a "typical" Spanish host family. Some host families are married couples with children, some are single parents, and some do not have children of their own. Students and parents alike should be open-minded to any family structure and be prepared to immerse themselves in Spanish culture in whatever form the family takes. Your child is truly considered a member of the family, equal in rights and duties, and they share the day-to-day life, including leisure activities and outings. In return they are asked to comply with family rules, which might include some minor tasks like washing the dishes or cleaning their bedroom. The host family is seen as being responsible for the student's welfare and we insists on their role as 'parents.' Sometimes families may host more than one student, but they will always be a student from a different country and of a different first language so that Spanish is spoken in the home.