Spanish School Peru: AMAUTA

Living with a host family during your Spanish course

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Tuesday June 11, 2024 - Posted by to Spanish Language Tips
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10 Tips for Living With a Host Family

10 Tips for Living With a Host Family during your Spanish Course

Living as the guest of a local family during your Spanish course in Peru is an incredible adventure, and for many students it’s one of their favourite things about studying abroad!

The opportunity to be immersed in your host family’s culture and daily life, sharing meals and conversations with them, gives you a unique insight into what Peruvian life is like that you can’t experience any other way.

And not only that, you get the invaluable opportunity to practise your Spanish in a real life setting every day – from chatting about your day over lunch or dinner to hearing personal stories about their lives and experiences living in this beautiful country!

Our group of host families in Cusco have all been carefully selected by our team, and they have plenty of experience making students feel welcome in their homes. However we know living abroad in a different country with a different culture can be a little daunting – especially when you’re still learning the language, or if it’s your first time living with people you’ve never met. So we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get settled in and adjust to your new temporary home so you can get the most out of your host family experience. Here are: 10 tips for living with a Host Family during your Spanish course in Peru.

 

1. Talk – in Spanish!

Most host families in Peru will enjoy talking to you and don’t care at all if your Spanish is not perfect – they know you’re here to learn!

Our host families have chosen to open their doors to students in the understanding that most probably won’t speak Spanish fluently (yet). So if there’s something you don’t understand, don’t feel guilty or uncomfortable – instead you should be proud you’re putting yourself in a new situation that’s outside of your comfort zone! Just ask your family to repeat themselves or rephrase what they were saying and they’ll be more than happy to help you figure it out – most likely you’ll end up bonding over it and laughing together over your mutual misunderstandings.

If you’re an absolute beginner and you’re worried about not being able to communicate at all when you first arrive, why not try learning some basic Spanish before you go? Even a few simple phrases will go a long way in helpìng you feel more at ease – check out our beginner’s guide to travel Spanish, or take a couple of online classes with one of our teachers over Zoom.
 

Host Family

 

2. Share your life

Don’t be shy to talk about yourself, your country and your family back at home! For most host families, the cultural exchange is one of the main reasons they welcome students to their homes in Cusco and they’ll enjoy hearing little snippets about your life. Plus this opens up a whole lot of different topics of conversation – from comparing traditional dishes from each of your countries to debating dinner times!
 

3. Listen

By the same token, don’t only talk about your own life – be sure to show some interest in your host family and their stories as well. Ask them questions about the Peruvian culture, fiestas and so on – it’s the best way to get a personal insight into the country and the Spanish language!

It’s also a great way to pick up some colloquial Spanish – your family will likely speak a more informal version of the language than what you’re used to from your teachers in classes, so by listening to them chat, you’ll be able to learn some of the slang that the locals use day-to-day. To get a head start before you arrive, check out our list of the Peruvian slang you must know.
 

Tips for living host family Peru

 

4. Be Respectful

Staying in a host family is not the same as staying in a hostel or hotel! While you might be paying to be there, the family members aren’t staff – they’ve chosen to share their home and intimacy with you, so make sure to treat them with the same respect as you would your own family.

Keep your room and shared spaces tidy, don’t hog the shared bathroom for hours on end and use up all the hot water, offer to help with clearing up after meals, and try not to be too noisy if you’re coming or going late at night. Remember that while you might be on holiday, they still have to go about their daily lives and won’t appreciate being woken up by you slamming doors at 4am on your way in from the local discoteca.

And of course, don’t forget to say ‘Por favor’ (please) and ‘gracias’ (thank you) – politeness is super important in Latin culture, and good manners will go a long way in making a good impression!
 

Host families Cusco gracias

 

5. Give a present

Your host family will love it if you bring along a little gift upon arrival, and it’s a great way to break the ice! It doesn’t have to be something expensive – think a little souvenir or snack that’s typical of your home country, or an inexpensive bouquet of flowers from the local market.
 

6. Spend time with your host family

Sure, you’ll probably want to spend time with the new friends that you make at Spanish school – but don’t forget to make time for your host family too!

When you’re at home, try to socialise with them rather than hide away in your room, whether that’s watching TV together with them in the evenings or giving them a hand preparing dinner. And be sure to make the most of anything they invite you to during your stay – from family gatherings to attending their children’s sports events, hanging out with them is a great opportunity to bond, practise your Spanish skills and get to know their culture.
 

Living with host family in Peru

 

7. Play with their kids

If your host family have children, you have an amazing opportunity to speak Spanish with them and pick up new vocabulary – and in doing so, you´ll definitely earn some brownie points with the parents!

Kids are often easier to understand than adults because they’re still learning Spanish, so they don’t use much slang and speak more slowly. They also tend to have a more limited vocabulary so they repeat the same words multiple times, giving you the opportunity to really grasp what they’re saying.

Some fun activities could be simple cooking or baking, art projects, puzzles, playing board games, reading or playing outside – if you’re not sure where to start, just chat to your host parents for ideas.
 

8. Keep them updated about your plans

Planning to stay the night somewhere else, or go out to a restaurant with friends rather than having dinner with your host family? Make sure to send them a message or give them a call to let them know! They’ll treat you like a member of the family while you’re staying with them, so they’ll appreciate you letting them know your comings and goings. Also if you go away for the weekend – to visit Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley maybe- let me know.
 

Spanish Immesion homestay Peru

 

9. Keep an open mind and embrace the differences

Things will be different to what you’re used to at home – there’s no doubt about it. From little things like the food and TV channels they watch to bigger things like your host family’s values and way of living, being immersed in a new culture can be challenging at times, even for the most experienced traveller.

In those moments when it all feels too much, just take a deep breath, remind yourself that your feelings are normal and that it’s all just temporary. In a few weeks or months you’ll be back home and your experiences will be a funny story to share with friends and family.
 

10. Express your feelings

While learning to adapt to the cultural differences, communication is key – don’t hesitate to let your host family know how you’re feeling, or if there’s something you need from them!

Opening up to them about them lets them know how to support you, whether you’re uncomfortable with something they do at home or simply having an off-day and want to chat about it.

If you’re worried about not being able to express your thoughts in Spanish, try asking your Spanish teacher what to say and practising it or writing it down in advance.
 

Host families Peru

 

More tips for living with a host family during your Spanish course in Peru?

We hope those tips will help you to make the most out of your experience living with a local family. By taking these do’s and dont’s into consideration, we’re sure you’ll have a wonderful time with your host family in Cusco – and your Spanish will come on leaps and bounds!

Stayed with a host family before? If you have any other helpful tips and tricks for future students to get the best out of their homestay, we’d love for you to share them with us below!

Student Residence Cusco

If you don’t think a homestay will work for you, don’t worry – AMAUTA offers different accommodation options. One of those options is our student residence where you can live with fellow students from all over the world in shared appartments, and be free to explore the city of Cusco.

The student residence is located in central Cusco in the area of San Blas and gives you the freedom to explore the city on your own timeline, spend your free time socialising with other Spanish students and organise your own meals, whether that’s cooking in the shared kitchen or heading out to try Cusco’s best restaurants.

If you’d like some advice on what’s the best accommodation option while learning Spanish in Cusco, feel free to contact one of our course counsellors. We are happy to help!


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