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Resources for Students
What to Expect:
 - General Info & Policies
 - Culture Shock
 - Diversity & Inclusion
 - Host Family

Health and Safety:
 - General Safety
 - Emergencies & Protocols
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 - Medical Care & Insurance
 - Mental Health
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Resources for Students: What to Expect

Host Family

Students have a unique and special opportunity to be a part of a local host family and to learn about how families live in France. Our host families have been interviewed and carefully selected, and many have hosted for numerous years. They have an understanding of our program and are invested in the goal of cultural exchange. Living with another family, however, even in a familiar culture, requires a lot of patience, openness and willingness on the part of both the student and the host family. This may be the most challenging aspect of your time in Talloires, but it has the potential to be the most rewarding. It is well worth the effort! The host family experience can provide you with insight into how other people live as well as friendships to last a lifetime. We hope that you will observe, process and grow from this perspective.

As you get used to your host family, you will understand what is important to them and how they function. Participation in family activities and events will help them know you better, too. Of course, you might not always agree with what your family says and does. But through discussion and agreement, both you and your host family can work to understand one another better and learn more about yourselves, each other and the world. That is the magic of cross-cultural exchange.

There may be times when differences in language, culture or personalities can make the host family stay overwhelming. The staff of the European Center is there to help you navigate your relationship with your host family. We are always ready to intervene on your behalf, no matter what the issue is, and help resolve misunderstandings or problems.

The Talloires Student Handbook has a very detailed section on living with your host family that you should read before arriving in Talloires.

Here are a few topics regarding the host family experience:

Your host family will expect you to try to converse with them. If you don’t speak French – fear not! You’d be surprised how much can still be communicated through the language barrier. You can certainly count on going home at the end of the program with an increased French vocabulary.

Avoiding waste and conserving energy are very important social/political issues in the current French culture. Your host family will reflect France’s more aggressive attitudes about ecology, organic food, recycling, and sustainability. In general, people in France are very careful and tend to make do with much less than Americans.

Eating in France is serious business and food is an expression of culture, tradition and love. The dinner table will likely be the place where you spend the most time with your host family. You may be confronted with new and different foods. Politely decline or give a try - it is all part of the experience! Etiquette and table manners are important, and often host families will use dinnertime to expose you to traditional local cuisine. It is often carbohydrate-and protein-heavy (and possibly laden with cheese), but every family will be different. The French are used to smaller portions of food due to the richness of some dishes and the number of courses in a typical French meal. Students often are surprised at how late and how long dinners will last, but this is a great opportunity to get to know your family better.