Family Stay™ vs Home Stay


The Family Stay experience is a unique opportunity for students to become more than mere tourists. Students have already learned a considerable amount in their classes about French culture and the French language. Living with a host family will give them the chance to use the language they have studied and to experience the French way of life.

All Family Stay families have a teenage son or daughter at home to help facilitate integration into the family. Only one American student is placed in a home to encourage communication in French and to provide each student with their own experience.

Family Stays are typically designed to take place while school is in session, so the Americans may possibly have the chance to visit their host brothers’ or sisters’ school during their stay. Family Stays are also arranged to extend over a weekend to allow the whole family to spend time together.


We know that parents and teachers are always concerned about what will happen if their student is not comfortable with their French host family. It is not unusual for students to feel a bit nervous going into their Family Stay. They will be staying in a new family’s home, communicating in French and living in a different culture.

Students will be given all the necessary contact information for the local Family Stay Organizer in France, our Paris office and their teacher. Teachers are instructed to contact their students during the Family Stay. If a student is not comfortable in the Family Stay, our bilingual staff in France is available 24 hours a day to provide support whenever necessary.

Each year we make approximately 1,200 Family Stay placements and Family Stay changes are rare. The Family Stay is rated the most fulfilling aspect of the program.

Many students consider the Family Stay the most rewarding part of their experience in France. The stay with the host family often becomes a lasting friendship, not to mention a step towards personal growth and greater cultural awareness.

Some travel companies provide a Home Stay. Here is the difference between a VIE Family Stay vs a Home Stay

Family Stay Home Stay
Live with a family Live in a house
Be treated as a son or daughter Be treated as a boarder
Have a French teenager to talk with Hosts are not required to
have a French teenager
Family motivated by interest in
sharing their lives and culture.
They are not paid.
Often, families are paid to host
Families and students are
matched by interests
Host need not have same interests
Included in teenage activites
with your new French siblings
 Hosts only provide room and board
Attend school in France Hosts need not be
affiliated with a school
Create a lifelong friendship

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