Studying Spanish in Spain: What Accommodation Type Best Suits My Age?

ac1If you’re going to study Spanish in Spain, accommodation will always be a major factor. This is true in terms of your budget, but also as far as your social experience abroad goes.

Age is a factor

Not all types of student residences are suitable for all ages. For example, a student in his or her twenties will probably prefer shared accommodation where there is a big emphasis on activities and socialising. But a mature 40+ student is unlikely to want to share a room with other students in the 18 – 25 age range, and may prefer a single room with some mod cons, or even their own flat.

Eliminate doubt

Before you jump into anything, it’s well worth asking your course provider some important questions about the place where you’ll be living. These questions should include your preferences or concerns regarding:

  • Sharing / not sharing a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom
  • Facilities in the room or flat
  • Facilities in the building
  • If sharing, roughly what age the other students in the residence are

Different types of accommodation

To help you decide, we have listed the different kinds of accommodation you might find on your study trip to Spain – plus the advantages and disadvantages each type has.


Shared student flats can include so called halls of residence, language school apartment building and shared flats that are owned or sublet by language schools. Although they are called “flats”, they can sometimes be large apartments, sometimes even containing up to 8-10 bedrooms. This kind of accommodation is generally cheap, although the lower price often means sharing a bedroom, where you won’t have a say about who you’ll bunk in with. You will always be able to request a single room, though, should you prefer it. The kitchen and bathroom facilities are also communal. Some may have a TV room or a terrace, but this is not always the case.

Normally, not a lot of money will have been spent on interior design or comfort, so students must really look at their shared flats as places to sleep, eat, shower and (hopefully, social life allowing) do some studying. And although not all shared student flats are messy or have a “party atmosphere”, it goes without saying that cheap, shared accommodation tends to attract a younger crowd. Friendly chaos and noise usually go with the territory.


  • Good social life
  • Cheap price
  • Accommodation admin support from the university or language school
  • Usually close to the school


  • If travelling alone, you can’t choose whom you live with
  • Living with many other students can mean late night noise and mess

AGE VERDICT: Generally speaking, age appropriate for 18-30’s students



Some language schools have high quality purpose built student residence buildings attached to, or near them. Student residences are of a high standard and therefore up to three times pricier than shared student flats.

They come in various shapes and sizes, but mostly have high quality single or shared rooms with en suite bathrooms, and either well kept shared communal kitchens, or private kitchenettes in the rooms. In fact, many student residences also offer small studio apartments with their own bathrooms and kitchenettes for either single or double use. Often, extra services like meals are offered, and the rental price includes bills.

These student residence buildings will often also come with lots of added extras, like a gym or a sun terrace, WiFi, high quality common areas and often a fun program of organised activities. Check out SalamancaUniversity’s residence as an example.


  • Purpose-built for students
  • Usually close to the school
  • In some cases, mod cons in your room or WiFi in the building
  • Good student social life


  • The cost is much higher
  • Unless the school specifies rooms for mature students, the more expensive residences can also experience issues that come with big, young student crowds: noise and mess
  • If travelling alone and sharing, you won’t be able to choose your roommate

AGE VERDICT: Especially in the summer time and on courses catering mainly to young people, this accommodation is most suited to 18-35 students. Having said this, these residences offer nice rooms and lots of facilities, which can be appealing to mature students too. If you are in the 30+ age category or signing onto a mature students’ Spanish course, it is still worth asking whether all or some of the students in the residence might be your own age.


3. Host Familyac2

Nearly all schools have a host family program. If it’s available, this may be an attractive option from the point of view of organising. Host families can offer a single room to students, allowing for personal space within the family home, plus one or two meals as well. The bills are also included. All in all, this is a very easy option when it comes to organising and administration, even though it may not be the cheapest, probably costing about three times more than a shared flat. Importantly though, you’ll also get to immerse yourself in the language and culture all day, every day.


  • All inclusive price
  • Families can offer a single room, so you can have your own space
  • Language and cultural immersion


  • It’s not as sociable as sharing with other students in a residence
  • You are living in another family’s home, and this can sometimes feel awkward
  • There may be household rules and meal times that make you feel restricted

AGE VERDICT: This option can be attractive to all ages.


4. Private accommodationac5

Private accommodation means a flat or a house that you rent directly from a landlord. UniSpain is not in a position to facilitate this type of housing, so students must rent private flats directly. UniSpain is happy to offer contact details to students wishing to locate private flats, however, and the students can then make their own arrangements directly with the landlord.

The attraction of a private flat is that you will enjoy your own space, and mostly, your own rules. But you must read the rental contract carefully and ask about things like bringing visitors, plus check which bills and maintenance costs you are liable for.


  • You can hire accommodation that offers the facilities you want
  • You’ll have your own space


  • You’ll have to deal with the landlord on your own
  • Your own flat will be much more expensive and you’ll probably have to pay for electricity, water and sometimes community fees and other costs
  • You’ll have to work harder to gain a social life

AGE VERDICT: Mainly for mature students with a healthy budget.


If you have very specific living requirements, you should always attempt to find your ideal living situation directly. UniSpain can provide the standard flat, residence or host family arrangements, for example, depending on their availability. But due to the low commissions and high workload associated with student accommodation arrangements, UniSpain can only provide this standard type of accommodation.

At the same time, UniSpain will never sell students something that is not available or that it cannot support administratively or otherwise. Therefore students with special requirements are encouraged to seek their own place to live, to avoid any later disappointment.

There are some very helpful articles on how to find your own flat or flat share in Spain, found in the UniSpain blog’s accommodation section.

An enriching experience!


Although accommodation is important, your overall budget and your choice of destination town and school will probably ultimately dictate what kind of living situation you’ll have access to. Not all cities and language schools offer every type of accommodation described above and although it is generally advisable to go with the option that suits your age as well as your budget, sometimes you may have to compromise a little.

If this happens to you, it is well worth remembering that you’re going on an exciting trip to Spain to learn a new language, to meet new people and to gain new cultural experiences that will open your horizons. When faced with so many invaluable benefits, you’ll probably find yourself more than happy to temporarily compromise on certain creature comforts.


UniSpain has over ten years of experience with booking Spanish language courses in Spain and offers an accommodation booking service for students who buy a course through them. Dealing with over 40 language schools all over the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish Isles, the staff at UniSpain are highly knowledgeable on questions regarding accommodation for foreign language students – and happy to advise and assist. Contact UniSpain or visit the website Course Finder to view private language schools, public university courses and available accommodation options and prices.

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