VIE Family Stay vs Home Stay
The unique experience of living with a French family gives the student an insider’s look at French culture and the French way of life.
Vistas In Education, Inc.‘s Family Stay is a unique opportunity for students to become more than mere tourists.
Other travel companies offer home stays that, typically, have students board as roomers with a paid host -an older couple/individual with a spare bedroom- or have multiple students housed per paid family. Often the students have little to no contact with the family.
VIE student travelers are matched with a vetted Host Family who has applied out of a spirit of generosity and curiosity. These families are interested in sharing French culture with and learning from an American student. VIE Host Families are never paid.
Nested in their French Host Family –living in a French home with a host sibling near the same age, participating in French family daily life- allows the student to use the French language that they have learned. This experience is much different than practicing in a classroom, it’s “real” life!
- VIE Family Stays place only one American student with each family to encourage communication in French and to provide each student with a unique personal experience.
- VIE Host Families have a teenage child of comparable age to the student traveler in their home to help facilitate their integration into the family and to provide an entrée into an adolescent social milieu.
- VIE Family Stays typically begin on a weekend in order to allow the whole family time together to get acquainted. If the stay cannot begin on a weekend because of timing, all stays include a full weekend in the family.
- VIE Family Stays during the academic year are designed so that American students may have the chance to visit their host sibling’s school with them during the stay.
VIE knows that parents and teachers will be concerned about the risk of their student being anxious about staying with an unfamiliar family. It is not unusual for students to feel nervous going into the Family Stay; they are being asked to communicate in French and immerse themselves in a different culture, which is daunting.
VIE manages over 1200 Family Stay placements annually and host family changes are very rare. Over forty years’ experience recruiting and vetting Host Families that are interested in sharing their home and their culture with American students means that the families chosen to host students are the most reliable, generous, and personable.
VIE sets up every Family Stay to succeed. Each student has the contact information not only for the local Family Stay Organizer in France, but for their Teacher Organizer -who will be lodged nearby- and for our Paris office. Teacher Organizers check in with the student during the Family Stay. If a student is not comfortable with their family, our bilingual professional staff in France is available 24/7 to provide support to both the Teacher Organizer and the student.
Additionally, students receive their Family Stay match well before the date of travel, so students and families can exchange letters, texts and to meet each other virtually via the internet. VIE has found that the matched students are often having fun with each other before they ever meet in person and this makes everything easier.
Students consistently rate the Family Stay as the most fulfilling aspect of the program. They not only establish lifelong friendships with their host families but also experience broader cultural awareness and experience personal growth and a step towards independence during the experience.
VIE Family Stay™
|Live with a French family in their home||Boarded in a home or apartment|
|Live as a member of the family, treated as a son or daughter||Treated as a boarder|
|Feel comfortable with a welcoming, vetted family||May feel unconnected to family life|
|Paired with a French teenager of the same approximate age||Not required to have children in the home|
|Volunteer family motivated by interest in sharing their lives and French culture||Often paid to host|
|Families and students matched by interests and affinities||Little or no matching by interest|
|Included in teenage activities with French siblings and family activities||Hosts provide only room and board|
|Attend school in France with French teens||Hosts may not be affiliated with a school or have school-age children|
|Fully immersed in French language in a communal setting||May not have much opportunity to speak|
|Create lifelong friendships||May not establish relationship with host|
|Establish intimate familiarity with French way of life||Spend time on the sidelines of French life|