Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)




Who can host?

Most of our host families have a teenager in the family.  Although this is not always a requirement, we have seen that French student contact with American teenagers offers great advantages and benefits.  It is advisable that single parents have a teenager in the family.  If you cannot host a French student, please consider hosting one of the adult French teacher chaperones that accompany the groups.  They need host families too.


Responsibilities of the host family and activities, outings, fun things

You agree to provide a congenial environment and integrate your French student into your household routine.  Host families provide room and board, kindness and friendship, and activities too which do not need to have a purely educational objective.  Your student will want to relax and have fun, and host family members do too, so plan to include the student in things your family likes doing together like a baseball game, tennis, bowling, biking, picnics, swimming, boating, a visit to the ice cream shop, a movie or the mall.  Just everyday things that will be very new and different for them to experience.


Sleeping accommodations

Students can have their own bedroom or share a room with a same gender son or daughter,   but they must have their own bed.


English must be the primary language spoken in your home

The students come here to speak and practice their English, so it’s very important that English be the primary language spoken in the home.  Use of other languages will be confusing and frustrating for the French student, so we must be very careful to avoid this.


Must we know some French?

The French students are coming here to learn and practice their English, so you don’t need to speak French. The study of English is mandatory in France, and they all will have studied it for at least two years before coming here.  But if you do know some French, you can help in situations if your student is not very fluent or needs help from time to time.


Can they go out of town?

Students are allowed to go out of town with you, but if you leave town for three days or more please make sure you inform your local ECI coordinator with details.


What if we want to host but cannot the entire time?

If you cannot host for the entire time, for instance, if you're on vacation for the first or last few days of their stay, we have back-up families that can host your student temporarily.


What if everyone in the family works?

We realize that lots of host family members work.  But during much of every day, including evenings and weekends, most people are around, but still this leaves many hours during the day when the French student does not want to be bored and isolated.


It is recommended that the host family teenager not work more than about 20-25 hours a week.  And for parents working full-time we often suggest they take a day or two off work, but only if they wish because this is not an obligation.  Or taking a couple or several afternoons off might be a possibility, but again only if you sense the need or have the desire.  We have found that either of these options can be very helpful.


You and your local ECI coordinator can discuss your schedules and get some guidance.  Assuring that French students can remain engaged and reasonably occupied is another reason why we organize several fun activity days.


Must we drive them places?

We organize several activity/excursion days for the French students and American teenagers who wish to go along.  It will be requested of the host families that they get their student to one of several conveniently located start points and to pick them up at the end of the day at these same locations.


Beyond these excursion days some ECI coordinators permit visits among French students up to two times a week maximum. This is also a great way for host families to meet other French students in the group.  This can be a very enriching experience too.  On the other hand it’s up to the host family to determine when or if any visits will be allowed because they may already have made plans for their French student for the day, or the driving distances might be too great to make it reasonable.


Insurance and medical coverage

ECI provides civil liability waivers and medical treatment releases signed by French parents or legal guardians.  Complete and comprehensive liability and medical insurance are provided.


Who do we contact if we have questions?

French student groups are accompanied by adult French teacher chaperones that remain on hand to help with operation of the program.  The local ECI coordinator is always available too as is the ECI staff in the United States and France to answer your questions and assure a pleasant and productive experience throughout your French student’s stay.


Pre-arrival meeting

A pre-arrival orientation for host families will be held shortly before their student arrives.  The ECI coordinator will provide additional information including…


  • how matches are made based on your teenagers’ ages and genders, common interests, hobbies, activities and sports; other important considerations as well like pets and allergies
  • how to communicate with your student in France before arrival: letter, email, Facebook, phone, Skype, etc.
  • details regarding host family pickup of student at airport or coach transport to your area; departure day as well
  • how to ease your student into your home, your family activities and routines, family and household rules;  treating your student as a family member and not as a guest, thereby assuring the most successful assimilation and adaptation
  • how to engage in conversation, promote interaction and encourage their English speaking abilities and progress
  • providing food and meals
  • their spending money management
  • medical care and insurance coverage; what to do if there is a medical issue
  • the excursion day activities, dates and timetables
































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