Apartment or Homestay? Why I Chose a Homestay


When choosing whether or not to live in a homestay or an apartment, there are a few key factors to take into consideration:

  1. What are your main motives for studying abroad?
  2. Are you a good at managing a budget?

The biggest goal of mine when going abroad was to improve my Spanish fluency. I chose a homestay because I knew I would be immersed in the culture and would be forced to speak Spanish to communicate my needs. Also to practice typical day-to-day conversation. I knew if I had my own apartment, I would be less immersed and would not have that extra practice speaking Spanish.
Another factor I took into account was budgeting. I knew if I had a homestay, I could pay for everything upfront without having to worry every month to pay for my food, laundry and bills. Before going on my trip I was able to come up with a budget beforehand— it was nice not to worry about those extra expenses.
Another positive with for picking a homestay — there are no chores! My host mom washes the dishes, does my laundry and cleans my bathroom. She also prepares three meals a day for me and on excursion dates she makes a to-go lunch.

I was worried about a lack of independence with a homestay. I considered how having an apartment would allow you to feel more “adult-like”, but I have all the independence I had while living at college as I do in my homestay. When I arrived I was given my own key and my host parents never have a problem when I come and go as long as communication is open and I “check in” sometimes.
Before arriving to Spain I asked to have a room by myself. With homestays you have the option to have your own room or you can share with other students. While living at my homestay I’ve had three students as roommates. Two girls from Italy stayed with us for two weeks and even cooked us a homemade Italian meal!
If given the opportunity to study abroad again, I would pick a homestay in a heartbeat! My homestay has made my experience in Spain more wholesome and I would recommend it to anyone studying abroad.

Katie Zerkle is a student at Grand Valley State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Málaga, Spain

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