Students of the Hamilton Junior Year in France stay in French homes with French hosts in order to make the residential component of the program an integral part of their linguistic and cultural experience. At the end of their stay, the vast majority of HCJYF students invariably cite the homestays as one of the best features of our program.
Thanks to our homestays, HCJYF students are insiders rather than outside observers and are able to speak French with their hosts on a regular basis. Homestay arrangements made by the program 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). Students are expected to eat most dinners with their host families, but their independence is valued and respected.
As part of the application process, students complete a detailed, confidential form describing their living habits. The assistant director and the director discuss specific needs with individual students (or with students who have expressed a desire to live together) in order to select the most appropriate home for each individual. Students receive demi-pension (breakfast and evening meal) six days per week. Students may remain in their homes in Paris during winter or spring vacations, but will be responsible for all their meals during these breaks. The Junior Year attempts to accommodate individual requests; however the director will make the final decision in the assignment of French families. Students are normally expected to remain in the same home during the entire academic year.
An important part of our students' cultural experience takes place at the French table, and we encourage them 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 may suggest the name of a family with whom they would like to live, if the family is French, lives in Paris and is willing to provide demi-pension. Suggestions must be received by May 1 of the year prior to the program.