AYA believes strongly in the educational value of living in a Spanish home, and therefore recommends arrangements of this sort to all its students. Home placements are made after the group’s arrival in Spain (and sometimes a short stay during orientation at a hotel or colegio mayor) on the basis of the student’s own self-characterization and his/her statement of interests and objectives on the questionnaires sent to each candidate on admission to the program. This self-characterization is interpreted in the light of the staff’s long experience with American students and the host Señoras in Madrid. Every effort is made to achiev a good match of each AYA student with his/her roommate and his/her Señora. Much depends, however, on each AYA student’s awareness that he or she must adapt to the Spanish home, not vice-versa. Most of our students love their Spanish homes, especially their Spanish madres, and are intrigued by the different habits, customs and cuisine. Indeed, quite often a relationship grows up between the student’s two families which extends across the ocean and over the years.
Mature students may make their own living arrangements, but only on the understanding that they and their parents must assume full financial and legal responsibility. The AYA Madrid Directors will provide excellent information to any applicant who desires to find his/her own accommodations: student hostels and hotels in Madrid, apartments (pisos, apartamentos). But AYA cannot undertake to find such accommodations for such students. AYA will reserve a room in a colegio mayor [possible only in September] or a reasonable hotel, provided the arriving AYA student writes to request this at least 3 months in advance and gives the precise date and time of his/her arrival. Since AYA-arranged housing is contracted for the semester, a student who initially contracts for housing cannot expect any refund if he/she chooses to shift to personally-arranged housing before the end of the semester.