Student Accommodation in Spain – Residence vs Family vs Flat-Share


In Spain, there are three main housing options available to students :

1. Student Residences
2 Spanish Host-Family
3. Flat-share

Each option has its associated advantages and disadvantages so it is up to you to decide which one would be best suited to your individual needs and tastes.

Student Residence

This is a typical set-up where you are assigned a room in a housing establishment inhabited by other students like you.
lodgingThe rent price includes meals taken at the residence’s cafeteria (breakfast, lunch and dinner depending), and amenities such as WiFi, telephone, television etc. Sometimes there are facilities within the residence that are available to students; either automatically included in the rent or for an additional fee, such as a computer room, gymnasium, student social centre etc.

Depending on the residence, you could have your choice of different types of rooms that vary in structure and price  i.e.

  • a double room with two beds intended for sharing
  • a single room with a basic layout of a bed, chair and desk
  • both options are paired with the collective sharing of a kitchen and bathroom(s)
  • a single room that includes a private bathroom (toilet and shower)
  • a studio room that includes a private bathroom and a mini kitchen


  • An all in one package – lodging, meals, studies, extracurricular activities – bliss!
  • It will be a great and quick way to meet other (local and international) students as they will be your neighbours.
  • Living with other students will enable you to practice your Spanish and/or exchange cultures.
  • Residences are often located within close proximity to schools and universities.


  • It is the most expensive housing option in Spain – 2 to 3 times more than the other options.
  • Meals are paid for whether you eat them or not which can be a waste of money long-term.
  • Some residences have restrictions e.g over night visitor regulations, quiet hours etc.
  • Having all student as your neighbours could mean constant “noisy partying neighbourhoods.”

Spanish Host Family

Host FamilyHere, you are placed to live in the home of a local Spanish family – often an elderly couple whose children have left home with rooms to spare. You are assigned your own private room and often share the bathroom, kitchen and all other common living spaces with the members of the family. You are often obliged to eat certain meals with the family as these are included in the overall fees. You are permitted to use the amenities of the home such as internet, television, telephone etc. as indicated by the family.  Occasionally, a family may house more than one student at a time.


  • A great way to improve your Spanish quickly being totally immersed within the language at home.
  • If, another student is being hosted, you could potentially make a friend.
  • A room in a home is often clean and nicely furnished.
  • The amenities are often of good quality and you are in a position to have any issues resolved promptly since you could directly talk to the family.
  • Also a way to get a first hand experience of real live-in Spanish culture.


  • Most Host-Families in Spain do it for the money and not for the cultural solidarity – do not expect warm fuzzies.
  • There is a chance that the family will not succeed in making you feel “at home.”
  • Family homes may not necessarily be close to schools or universities.
  • The predetermined shared meals could be constraining in terms of your food preferences and eating habits.
  • Less expensive than a Residence but still more expensive than a Flat-share with the added fee for meals.


With this option, you will rent a room in a flat that you will share with other students or (young)Flat Share working professionals. The flat could be anywhere in the city with any number of rooms and with various sorts of amenities. Usually, you have a private room and will share the common areas; kitchen, bathroom and living room. With this option, prices can range from inexpensive to expensive. Amenities and equipment within the flat are diverse and may also differ in price and quality.

NB:  The flexibility of the overall choice of the flat greatly differs between if you conduct your search yourself and rent directly on your own versus if you rent through an agency which will pose certain restrictions primarily based on arrival-departure dates and fixed contracts. 


  • More options to choose from as each flat has its own unique layout with its own amenities.
  • More power of choice of the flat –  if you search independently
  • A much freer and independent lifestyle.
  • A great way to meet people.
  • A great way to learn Spanish faster if your house-mates are native Spanish speakers or Spanish is the common language of communication between you.
  • A great way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture if your house mates are natives.
  • The opportunity to observe and exchange cultures.


  • Sometimes, landlords require that you rent through an agency which will incur more costs.
  • Sometimes initially more expensive if signing a lease with one or two month’s worth of a deposit is required.
  • May need to provide more paperwork to prove you can afford the rent.
  • If a lease is signed, there is less flexibility of movement if you decide you want to move out.
  • Your house-mates may be noisy or untidy.
  • Potential to bump heads with your house-mates.



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