All students will be housed with Spanish families. These may be families with two parents and children, or señoras with or without children. Most of the families have worked with Boston University previously and are used to hosting foreign students.
Rooms: Each of you will have your own room, with a bed, dresser, and a desk. Please note that rooms are usually smaller than in the US. Keep your room organized and the floor free of clothes, etc. You are not allowed to store food or drink, and it is completely prohibited to have alcohol in your room.
Bathrooms: In some cases, students will have their own bathroom and in others it will be shared with the other members of the household. Please be clean and organized in the bathroom as well as your room.
Common Areas: You can come and go as you please, but be respectful as to the noise you make upon coming home at night. Let the family know if you will be spending the night elsewhere or if you have extended the duration of a trip outside of Madrid.
Kitchen Access: You should not expect to have kitchen privileges. You may not use the kitchen without first receiving permission from the family.
Electricity: Be conscious of how much electricity you are using and conserve energy by turning off lights and avoiding the overuse of hair dryers and electric razors. If in doubt, ask the host family what is appropriate.
Meals: You will receive three meals per day, a Spanish breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spanish food is varied and delicious, and we encourage you to try all the dishes that you can, but please do not hesitate to notify the family of food you prefer or prefer not to eat.
Bag Lunch: If you don’t plan to eat at home, be sure to tell your host family so that they can make arrangements. If you have a class or will not be home for meal time, you have the right to request a bag lunch be substituted for the missed meal. You will not receive reimbursement for any other meals outside of the home.
Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarianism and Keeping Kosher: Lifestyles that impose dietary restrictions such as being a vegetarian or keeping kosher for religious or ethical reasons can mean different things to different people. Therefore, try to be patient with people who might not understand what it means when you say that you are a vegetarian or keep kosher.
This is left up to each individual family, and is a subject that should be discussed when you first move in. Some families will want you to ask in advance when you plan to bring guests, while some families may not want you to have guests at all. You are responsible for the conduct of guests or visitors (including family, friends, and relatives), who must also respect and comply with all rules/regulations while in the homestay. Any breach by any such guest or visitor shall be deemed a breach by the student.
*** Please note that Spaniards usually socialize with friends outside of the home! ***
Going Out and Coming Home
You are free to come and go as you would be on the Boston University campus, but we ask you to be respectful of your family. It is very important to let the family know if you are leaving for the weekend or overnight.
You will have the right to two loads of laundry per week, and please tell the families where you will be leaving the clothes that need to be cleaned. Please note that dryers are not common in Spanish homes, so if it’s rainy, your clothes will take longer to dry and you will need to wait a few days before they are ready.
Internet, Cellphones and Telephone
Internet: All Spanish families have internet, and should help you get connected. If you use Skype, Facetime or similar apps at night, please be conscientious of those sleeping in your home. Your conversations should not wake up your host families.
Cellphones: All students should purchase a Spanish SIM card or mobile upon arrival in Madrid, which are relatively inexpensive. Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime and similar apps provide free/cheap way to stay in touch.
Telephone: You will be allowed to receive calls at your homestay, but be mindful of the time difference between the U.S. and Spain. If your parents will be calling you and you anticipate a long conversation, tell the families. Making calls from the home phone is prohibited.
Keys and Security
Do not carry your address and keys together under any circumstance!
Keys: The family will provide you with your own set of keys for both the front door and the home. Once you finish the program you must return the keys: if you lose the keys, you are responsible for replacing them and replacing the locks if necessary.
Security: Find out how the host family secures the home during the day and at night. Which doors, windows, and fences should be locked, and when? Make sure that you have a copy of all the necessary keys. Ask for an emergency contact whom you can call or visit in case a problem arises when the host family is not present. As a courtesy (and as a safety precaution) offer to tell your host family where you are going and when you expect to return.
Personal Property Insurance: Each student is encouraged to review his or her family’s personal property insurance coverage. Boston University or any of its officers, agents, or representatives shall not be liable directly or indirectly for loss and/or damage to personal property by fire, theft, or other cause.
Property Damage: You are responsible for the repair or replacement of any household item you damage or destroy. Boston University declines all responsibility. Failure to settle these charges with your host family prior to departure from the program site will result in appropriate charges being assessed to your Boston University student account. It may also result in your inability to register for courses; inability to have grades assigned; transcript holds; and delays in processing financial aid awards for future semesters.
Food and snacks. Host families are required to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. If you can not make it home for lunch, your family can prepare a packed lunch for you (but you have to let them know). No snacks are provided though. Plans for Spring Break? If you plan to travel during Spring Break, share your schedule with your host family because they will probably have plans to travel too. I’m not leaving Madrid on the group flight, can I stay at my host family for a few extra days? BU Madrid only pays families through the day of the group flight. You must move out of the apartment on that day, unless you personally work out an arrangement with the family prior to that date.
Important Rules to Consider
Food and snacks. Host families are required to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. If you can not make it home for lunch, your family can prepare a packed lunch for you (but you have to let them know). No snacks are provided though.
Plans for Spring Break? If you plan to travel during Spring Break, share your schedule with your host family because they will probably have plans to travel too.
I’m not leaving Madrid on the group flight, can I stay at my host family for a few extra days? BU Madrid only pays families through the day of the group flight. You must move out of the apartment on that day, unless you personally work out an arrangement with the family prior to that date.