The latest language school accommodation survey conducted by the IALC Student Services Committee confirms a trend towards residential accommodation away from homestay and host families.
The research conducted in April 2008 suggests that up to 75% of language schools now offer a form of residential accommodation in four main categories: owned by the school and similar to a hotel, leased from a university and usually more basic, school-run independent student houses and apartments, and aparthotels.
Residential accommodation is generally more expensive than homestay and cannot offer the same cultural immersion, but clearly has growing appeal. IALC schools offering residential accommodation have found students willing to pay more for the greater independence they gain and ready to follow rules, as they appreciate a tidy and quiet environment. Of the services available in residential accommodation, Internet access is most important to them.
Residences often provide a campus environment and a sense of security, as other students and staff are present. Among the advantages of school-owned residential accommodation, Renate Urban of Escuela de Idiomas Nerja cites direct control of quality and the ability to make changes quickly and easily.
Commenting on the difference between homestay and residence, John Duncan (pictured), Chairman of the Student Services Committee, described the language study experience at a residence as a ’world experience’ rather than a local cultural experience.