About Us

What makes Elsa and Friends Unique

Elsa and Friends remains one of the only student exchange organizations in the industry who knows each and every one of their students personally. Unlike other organizations, our group size is limited, therefore creating a hand tailored exchange opportunity for both students and host families. Our students and families are our number one priority. Our philosophy is to provide the best and most rich exchange possible, creating international relationships to last a lifetime.

Where our students come from

Elsa and Friends students live in the Basque Country, a region at the north of Spain, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and France. It is defined formally as an autonomous community of three provinces within Spain, and culturally including a fourth province and a small portion of France. Basque Country is known for its fresh fish, dramatic landscape , sandy beaches and most importantly for its kind-hearted people.

For more information click here Basque Country.


What is Hosting

As a host family you are offering an international student a safe place to stay, nourishing food, and supervision. You are helping promote world peace and understanding. In an age when the United States is undisputed as a major world power, it is important for people of other countries and cultures to understand us as individuals. Student exchange is a very effective way to do this. You aren’t just any family – you are representing your community and your country. From this time forward, your student and his/her family, will think of you as the American family by which all others are measured. Accepting a teenager, whom you have never met before, as a member of your family will require patience, a sense of humor, and sometimes a firm hand. You may find the hosting experience to be quite different than what you expected. Whatever your experience turns out to be in most all cases, host families find it to be exceptionally rewarding.

Why is host with Elsa and Friends

We developed a student exchange program based on the needs of our students and host families, providing a culturally rich immersion. Based on the fact that we work with such a small group of students and families, we are able to tailor the program to fit the needs of both students and host families. Unlike other cultural exchange programs, we know each one of our students on a personal basis, as they attend our English academy, Bilbao College. Given the importance of global relations in today´s society, sharing cultural commonalities and differences can be very beneficial. For this reason, we believe our student exchange program will benefit the community just as much as it will our students.

Who can Host

There is no “typical” Elsa and Friends host family. Regardless of the size of your family, you can volunteer to host a Elsa and Friends international student. As a Elsa and Friends Host Family, we ask that you provide:

  • A safe and nurturing environment
  • A private or shared bedroom (with a host sibling of the same gender)
  • Three meals a day
  • Necessary transportation

Your international student’s parents will pay for all travel costs, program fees and health insurance. They will also provide your student with a spending allowance used for social activities and other expenses

Benefits of Hosting a Student

For some families, hosting an exchange student adds an exciting new dynamic to their family life, others love the new perspectives that students infuse into their homes and communities. TLC offers the option of full day excursions for host families at special rates.

You will:

  • Introduce your family to a new culture and language
  • Grow closer as a family as you help your international student to learn about your town and area
  • Practice hospitality and generosity with your own family
  • Support diversity and cross-cultural understanding in your own home
  • Increase cultural awareness in your community
  • Create an international friendship that lasts a lifetime

Spring Break in Spain

Customized Spring Break Cultural Immersion Programs

Elsa and Friends’s dedicated team of experts pride themselves on the customization of Spring Break trips for American middle or high schoolers. We organize spring break trips for groups of any size. Groups have a choice of a 5 to 10 day trip to Northern Spain, with stops in San Sebastian, Bilbao and Gernika to name a few. A trip to be remembered forever.

What is includes

  • Airfare
  • Hotel Stay
  • Meals
  • Full Medical and Travel Insurance
  • Pick up and drop off at airport
  • Sightseeing Tour of the following cities: Bilbao, Gernika, San Sebastian, Mundaka and Lekeitio.
  • Package also includes Elsa and Friends T-shirt.

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Living with a Spanish host family is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish language and culture. Staying with a host family provides you with many opportunities to develop your command of the Spanish language as you can use the knowledge gained during your Spanish lessons to communicate with the family. It is also a great opportunity to discover more about daily life and culture in Spain. Returning students often report that the home stay experience was one of the best aspects from studying abroad.
Bilbao College is very conscientious when finding host families for international students. We interview all our host families in their own home and check their background, occupations and lifestyle. A lot of our host families in Bilbao (Spain) have hosted international students many times before. They have much experience of hosting and can offer help and support to international students. Host families will become the students’ home abroad. Host families may be different, but all of them provide students with:

  • Accommodation in Bilbao or suburbs (metro access).
  • A private fully-furnished bedroom.
  • Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
  • Towels, blankets, pillows and bed linen.
  • Internet/Wi-Fi access.

Contact & Aplication Process


    Ainara Aresti tlcainara@yahoo.com
    Nancy Giannini – phone:860 221-5074
    Plaza aita arrupe nº3
    Mungia 48100

Application Process

Complete the form

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