Accommodation facts and prices for your language learning trip in Spain

So you’re dying to hop on a plane and fly out to España for a fabulous language-learning trip? Apart from your course, accommodation is an important factor when planning your stay.

Over the years, the UniSpain team have gained excellent experience with student accommodation bookings in Spain and below we have listed some of the most important things for you to consider.


What types of accommodation are available?

UniSpain can source the following types of student accommodation to go with the language course you have booked with them:

  • Placement with a Spanish family
  • Shared room in a student flat or residence
  • Private room in a purpose built student residence (only available in certain cities)
  • Private apartments


What are the prices like? *

Accommodation prices for Spanish language students can vary greatly depending on the destination city, the time of year, the type of residence or flat, its location and what amenities are offered.

To give you an idea, a shared student flat or room in a student residence may go for around 300-700€ per month (£255-594 or $386-900).

A placement with a local family can cost around 500-900€ per month (£424-763 or $643-1,157) and will usually include breakfast and another main meal.

Your own apartment will always be more expensive and usually charged for per week. Prices for private flats can start at around 200€ (£170 or $257)* per week, but can rise much higher depending on the size, location and features offered.

Some bigger language schools have their own purpose built student accommodation and in the bigger cities there are private student residences specifically designed for overseas Spanish language students. These usually feature private rooms with kitchenette areas and extras like WiFi connection. This type of accommodation can usually only be found attached to big language schools, located in big cities or cities with a big student population, like Barcelona, Granada, Madrid or Salamanca. Prices can vary between about 600-900€ per month (£509-763 or $771-1,157).

*Prices are estimated and exchange rates are given for March 2013.


Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes. Most accommodation requires a reservation deposit paid before arrival or a damages deposit payable to the landlord when you get to Spain. It is important for you to know that whilst UniSpain arranges the details of the accommodation, the students will need to deal with the landlords directly on other issues, such as getting their deposit back. This means that students need to leave on the agreed date, clean the flat, return the keys and show the landlord that there are no damages to the accommodation, the furniture and so on.

See our terms and conditions article for more information about deposits, refunds and so on.


What amenities are included in the accommodation price?

Usually accommodation prices for stays with host families and residences, are all-inclusive. Having said that, basic student accommodation will not usually include things like a telephone line or internet connection and the bathroom and the washing machine may be shared, so it’s worth asking first, if your requirements are different.

A private apartment will have the advantage of being only yours, but is the priciest option. You may be liable for water, electricity or community fees on top of rent. Also, in cheap but basic apartment there may or may not be a washing machine, a television, air-conditioning, a kettle and so on and most private apartments do not come with a telephone line or internet. Again, UniSpain will do their best to inform you, but do ask any questions that are important to you.

(If you are staying in a private flat for a whole semester and find that you want to have a telephone line or internet installed while you are there, you can ask your landlord. If they say yes, then you can contact the telephone company and have it put in yourself… what better way to practice your Spanish!)

Students staying in all kinds of accommodation will usually also be expected to do some basic maintenance, such as buying and changing water-heating gas bottles and light bulbs.

All in all, student flats and residences may be very basic and you need to think of them as a place for you to sleep, shower and perhaps cook something. Remember, if it is important for you to have a certain amenity or you have special requirements, we recommend you check with UniSpain beforehand to avoid disappointment. If you feel that you will be better off finding your own accommodation, we recommend that you do just that.

There is no requirement from UniSpain’s point of view that you book your room or apartment through them and the most important factor is that you feel happy about where you live during your Spanish course.


UniSpain offered me accommodation, but I’ve seen much cheaper deals on the Internet

Yes, this is possible. You may need to check the length of time you need to stay in a flat, however, to be able to take advantage of the lowest price quoted. Prices online are often presented as “Starting from…”

For example, student accommodation may be advertised as low as 150 € per month in cheaper cities like Malaga, but this will usually be the case for long-term bookings, like a full semester or most likely, a year. Perhaps if you are staying for a shorter period (between two weeks to a few months) UniSpain may have offered you a higher price because the landlord charges more for short-term bookings.

There is also another way in which UniSpain tries to ensure cheaper deals for students. Shared student flats or apartments that are rented out by language schools often have times of the year when they are full and other times when they are empty. Since the schools need to cover the rent all year round, the overall prices may be also be more expensive for this reason. This is why UniSpain prefers to rent apartments through agencies for specified lengths of time; the prices will almost invariably be better for the students.

If you can secure your own accommodation at a cheaper price or find an apartment that better suits your needs, we would encourage you to go for it. We are happy as long as you are happy!


Can my friends or family visit?

This will depend on your landlord. Some do not allow visits at all or some may charge you extra. In any case, you must always ask beforehand, to avoid problems later.


Are the shared student flats mixed, as in male-female?

These days student flats are mixed. However, what you will find is that students (especially in long-term shared flats) will mostly be allowed to choose who they want to stay with. Whilst the boys are generally not bothered where they stay, girls tend to want to share with girls! So you may find that certain shared flats or parts of residence buildings are exclusively female or male because of students choosing to share with roommates of the same gender.


Will I be sharing with Spanish-speaking students?

In student flats and residences, generally speaking, you will probably find other foreign students who have come to Spain to study Spanish, just like you. It is unlikely that you’ll share with Spanish natives.


How do I get to the accommodation when I arrive?

UniSpain recommend that students take public transport where possible and they can inform you about the possible connections depending on your location. Taxies in Spain are also plentiful and usually not too expensive (again, depending on the location). UniSpain can arrange for an airport pickup, but we do like to mention that this is usually quite expensive. See our terms and conditions article for more information about this.


What if there is a problem with the accommodation when I arrive?

Things don’t always go smoothly. In these cases, UniSpain will quickly evaluate the issue at hand. As long as it is in their power, they will assist you. There are certain things that will usually fall out of UniSpain’s remit though, for instance cleaning or noise problems with roommates or damage done to the apartments or getting the deposit back. These issues should, where possible, be addressed directly with flatmates and landlords.

Rest assured, UniSpain will always assist you with serious problems that you cannot resolve on your own. For example, if your hot water boiler breaks down and you cannot convey the problem to your landlord, we will pick up the phone in order to try and overcome the language barrier for you.


So you’re ready to book your stay?

We hope this article has been of help to you. When you sit down to plan your stay, remember that all sorts of factors can come to play when choosing accommodation, ranging from your own likes and dislikes, your budget, the destination, the time of year and the availability. We wish you luck with your planning and hope that it all comes together nicely for you!


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