To make the residential component of the program an integral part of their linguistic and cultural experience, Hamilton in France participants stay in French homes with French hosts. The cost of the homestay is included in the tuition and fees. At the end of their stay, the vast majority of our students invariably cite the homestays as one of their favorite features of our program.
Thanks to our homestays, Hamilton in France students are insiders rather than outside observers. They are able to discuss with their hosts, in French, topics from the serious to the mundane. Homestay arrangements made by Hamilton in France also free students from the burden of finding and maintaining a place on their own, which, in Paris, can be very time-consuming and frustrating. To improve their spoken French and to integrate more fully, students are encouraged to eat most dinners with their hosts, but student independence is valued and respected.
Students may suggest the name of a family with whom they would like to live. The family must be French speaking, live in Paris and provide demi-pension, which includes breakfast and evening meal, considered the main meal of the day. Suggestions for host families must be received by May 1 of the year prior to the program.
Students have access to an individual room, with appropriate furniture, including a desk, proper storage and lighting. Students receive keys to the apartment and have access to the common rooms in the home. Linens are provided, and students can expect one laundry a week in the home.
Students receive demi-pension six days per week. They are responsible for the cost of their lunches, which they are normally expected to take outside the home.
Since an important part of French life takes place around the table, we encourage students to be curious about tasting new dishes and to be flexible about adapting to new culinary habits. Host families will make an effort, however, to accommodate vegetarian students or students with religious or medical restrictions in their diets.
Students are allowed to use their room during winter or spring vacations, but no meals or kitchen access will be provided during that time. Students are responsible for all of their meals during these breaks.
Once accepted to Hamilton in France, students complete a detailed, confidential form describing their living habits. In May, they participate in a Skype conversation (French or English) with the assistant director in Paris. To select the most appropriate home, the assistant director will discuss specific needs with individual students or with students who have expressed a desire to live together. Culinary preferences and allergies, religion and cultural background are part of the conversation.
The program attempts to accommodate individual requests but the assistant director and director will make the final homestay decision. Students are normally expected to remain in the same home during the entire academic year.
Assignments are usually finalized by early June in time for the visa process. On rare occasions, changes may occur over the summer.