The housing team understands how important it is to get to know your host family as quickly as possible. They have organized a Question and Answer session at orientation to get your questions answered. After you go home with your host families at the end of orientation, you will get a whole weekend for your families to get to know you and vice versa. Full Immersion weekend allows you quality time with your host family and enables you to get your bearings by learning from those who live in this city.
Question and Answer Session (attendance mandatory)
There will be a mandatory Q&A session during orientation for all students living with hosts. The housing staff will go over the general rules regarding your homestay experience. There will be a group of hosts available who can answer questions regarding homestays and who will share their advice and stories regarding past students.
Meeting Your Hosts
During orientation, you will meet your host and go home. There will be a schedule of meeting times listed in the foyer of the Villa Rossa. Consult this schedule for your appointment time. Meetings include about 30 students with respective hosts. We will briefly welcome everyone and then begin calling on students one by one and their respective host. At that time you will be asked to sign a letter written in Italian that your host has already signed. This letter does not bind you in any way to your accommodation; it is only a formality that we keep on file in agreement with the Comune di Firenze (Municipality of Florence). You will receive at this time a bilingual food check list, which we recommend you go over together with your host during the first Full Immersion Weekend.
Gifts for Your Host Family
Past students have told us that they would have liked to bring their host families a small gift from their hometown. Other students prefer to buy flowers or candies when they arrive. Please note that bringing a gift is not mandatory but will always be appreciated.
Full Immersion Weekend
The “Full Immersion Weekend,” the first weekend of the semester, is different from all the others. While students are normally free on weekends to participate in field study excursions or to travel on their own, the full immersion weekend was established to spend time with the host family and to become oriented to the city of Florence and the immediate neighborhood.
During the semester, host families only provide breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. During the “Full Immersion Weekend” students will receive breakfast and dinner on Saturday and all three meals on Sunday. During this extra family time, students and host families can talk about food preferences and other household needs.
Students should use this weekend to walk around their new neighborhood and find out where to buy bus tickets or even a great local gelato. Your host family may decide to take you on a small day trip or take a drive around the city.
From past experience, this weekend has proven to be invaluable for students and host families to get to know each other better before classes begin. Students learn to orient themselves within the host family and the city of Florence. We hope that this weekend is the start of a relationship that will last a lifetime.