In 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 on a daily basis. 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.
What Is Included in a Homestay?
- Individual room, with appropriate furniture, including a desk, proper storage and lighting. Linens are provided, and students can expect one laundry a week in the home.
- Students receive keys to the apartment and have access to the common rooms in the home.
- Demi-pension six days per week (breakfast and dinner) when school is in session. Students are responsible for the cost of one dinner a week and their lunches, which they are normally expected to take outside the home.
- Note that during academic breaks, students have access to their room, but are not provided meals and have not cooking facilities.
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.
Once accepted to Hamilton in France, students complete a detailed, confidential form describing their living habits. In May for Fall/yearlong students and in October/early November for Spring students, students 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 for Fall and year and by mid-November for Spring students, in time for the visa process. On rare occasions, changes may occur before student arrival.