Have you ever thought about getting yourself involved in a Spanish exchange or homestay? Well if you haven’t, maybe it’s time!At London Spanish Academy we have quite a few enquiries from students who are thinking about this as a credible alternative to staying in a hotel or renting accommodation. Let’s admit it – it’s one of those things that at first we dread – you’re in a situation where you have no choice but to speak Spanish to your host family, or you won’t get your dinner. At first it’s terrifying but in no time you realise that you have the sweetest host mother who will cook you up the latest and greatest Spanish dishes whilst your host sibling turns into the best tour guide. There are many great reasons to go on an exchange, and my aim is to persuade you to do so!Why be a tourist when you can do a homestay?Although being a tourist can be good fun, it is not the best way to practice your Spanish or to get a real glimpse of the local Spanish way of life. Sure, you can try out some gourmet tapas and wine, you can visit all the museums and famous monuments and you can practice your “holiday Spanish”, but is that really giving you an insight into Spanish culture? The only way to truly increase your cultural repertoire and vastly improve your language skills is to stay with a Spanish family - chat to them, dine with them, explore with them and make friends with them. There’s no doubt that the way they speak, the food they eat and the activities they do will be very different from what you’ll get in a hotel or in the “ voted best” Spanish tapas restaurant just round the corner.A way to keep the costs downStaying with a Spanish host family is a cheaper alternative for a language immersion holiday. You’ll pay a set weekly or monthly cost that includes accommodation, meals and bundles of invaluable linguistic and cultural knowledge as well as the warm memories that you can take home at no extra cost.So, what’s there to lose?Next time you think it may be the right moment to test your language learning efforts, instead of planning an expensive holiday to an area in Spain that is overflowing with English-speaking tourists or expats, why not consider a language exchange? If you’re not in a situation where you can go and live in a Spanish speaking country, language exchanges are the next best alternative - you’ll save money, you’ll gain cultural understanding and you’ll improve your Spanish more than you could have ever wished for.