Students will be placed in homestays either in the city of Sevilla or in the nearby suburb of Montequinto. When applying for housing, students can indicate which place they want and UPO will try their best to accommodate all student requests but they cannot guarantee students will get their first choice.
Depending on where the homestay is, students may have to travel via public transportation (metro, bus, taxi, etc.) to get to their classes. This is the normal way of life for Spanish students, however, for this reason many students in the past have preferred living in the city rather than Montequinto. It can be difficult getting into the city and vice versa beyond a certain time at night because public transportation shuts down.
Host families come in a variety of forms - a single older woman, a couple with or without children, a single mother, a single father. All are warm and welcoming and want you to have the best experience. You might share a room with another student or you can request to be the only student housed there, but it depends on availability. You do not need to bring towels or sheets, they will be provided for you. Your host family will also do your laundry and provide you with all meals.
If you have any needs or requests, such as a house without pets due to allergies or you are vegetarian, please make sure you write it on the housing questionnaire that will be provided. They will not know you need something unless you tell them, so be sure to tell them!
If you are nervous about living with a family, bring a small photo album with you filled with pictures of your friends, family, and places from back home. It is an easy conversation starter ("Mi mamá. Mi papá. Mi perro. Juniata College...no, no Juanita.") and they can get to know you better. In return, they usually will bring out their photos and tell you about themselves.
It was really nice to be in a home stay because we got to have typical Spanish meals cooked for us, however this would sometimes be a hassle. Because our particular home stay was further out of the city, we would sometimes be bounded by meal times as to when we could be out. Many times we would ask for a bocadillo or sandwich to bring with us when we were out for the day. I loved our host mother because she was really nice and helpful. She would also do our laundry every week without us having to ask.
I would recommend staying in a home stay to immerse yourself more fully in the culture, though I would request to be placed closer in the city center, as it was a annoying at times for me to get into and out of the city due to the time it took (whether it was walking, biking, or waiting for a bus). If you want to save money on transportation, as bus and taxi rides can add up, I would suggest getting a Sevici pass, which is the bike rental system with stops located all over town.
- Written by Alexandra Willis '14, studied in Sevilla spring 2013