Your Cultural Immersion Begins with Housing
Your housing experience will be the most exciting, educational and maturing adventure of your life. It is in the home that you can most benefit from the opportunity of living the language, and learning the culture of Spain.
Knowing the great importance that housing plays in the learning process of our students, the ICS very carefully selects each of its homes and residence so that you will not only learn as much Spanish as possible while you’re in Seville, but so that each housemother and her family will go out of their way in making you feel more than comfortable in your home away from home.
All student housing in Seville is in private homes. Some are with families and others are residence-like.
For Andalusians, the family is of paramount importance. In addition, they are known historically for their open, easy-going manner and great tolerance with foreigners. For these reasons and many more it is easy to understand why most ICS students sign up to live with a Spanish family during their stay in Seville. Like most students, you too will feel accepted as another member of the family.
Living with a typical “familia sevillana” has its many advantages. By observing and taking part in your family’s daily customs and practices, you will find yourself increasingly more immersed in the culture. What better way to learn about a people than by sharing meals with them on a daily basis? As one student recently commented:
“The highlight of many days in Sevilla was the afternoon meals and several hours of conversation with my Spanish family”.
All ICS families live in either the same small neighborhood of “El Porvenir” as the ICS is located, or at a short walking distance. Like other Europeans, most Spaniards live in apartment buildings. Some may be as modern as any U.S. apartment. Others may be remodeled from an original communal villa built decades or even centuries ago. Each has its own charm and advantages.
While living with a Spanish family much of the closeness you eventually find will depend largely on how much integration you would like. Our housemothers are kind, pleasant and generous. There are few things they love more than an interested student who inquires about life in their beloved city. The more you show you are interested in her city and culture, the more effort your housemother will put in trying to make you feel at home.
The families who work with the ICS can consist of a married couple with or without children; a single woman (separated, divorced, widowed) with or without children; or an older couple whose children generally don’t live at home. Carefully consider the following questions as a guideline when choosing the type of family with whom you wish to live for your semester in Seville:
• Would you prefer a lively family with many members or a household that is more calm and quiet?
• Would you prefer that there be young children, older children, or no children at all?
• Do you have pet allergies?
In this style of housing there is just one housemother or a couple who lives with you and takes care of your daily needs. You will have a roommate or a housemate of the same sex. There can be up to four students living in the same house. Although this arrangement is more for the student who prefers less one-to-one contact with a Spanish family, you will probably develop such a close relationship with your housemother that she will feel like family by the time you leave Seville. How much interaction you have with your housemother depends on you.
To see the different possibilities that ICS families and residence-style living offer, it is best that you contact ICS Housing Director, Ms. Gina de los Santos, at firstname.lastname@example.org, once you begin preparations for your semester in Seville.
The Spanish diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Fruits and vegetables are eaten in season and in abundance. Fresh salads accompany meals and fresh fruit is served for dessert. Legumes, such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas are served throughout the year. People drink water with meals.
The food in Spain is natural and delicious. While the presentation may differ from American dishes, the prime ingredients are almost always familiar: chicken, beef, pork, fish, vegetables, rice, potatoes, pasta, eggs, etc. While living in Seville you will have the opportunity to try a variety of new foods and dishes. Most you will love. Some you may not. It’s all part of the experience. The more open you are to it, the more you will enjoy it.
Meal hours are different in Spain than those in the U.S. Breakfast is a small meal of toast or pastry and coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Lunch is served between 2 – 3 and is the largest meal of the day. Dinner is served after 8:30 or 9 and is a light meal.
Snacks are not served between meals. If you wish to purchase foods not served by your housemother, ask where you can store them.
In general, our housemothers are very flexible and will always try to adapt to your personality and schedule.
If you have a specific dietary requirement, please notify the ICS Housing Director at least one month prior to arrival so that she can attend to that request. Most Spanish families are not used to cooking meals that are vegetarian, non-gluten, kosher or basically anything different from traditional Spanish cuisine.
A $100 refundable rent deposit is included in the total amount you pay for the semester tuition. If there is no damage caused by you to your room or homestay it will be returned to you in cash during the last week of the program.