What if I don’t speak a word of Italian? How will I communicate with my host family, especially in the beginning? We do our best to place students who have not yet studied Italian in families that speak some English. Try to be patient with yourself and your hosts in the beginning. You will be amazed how fast your Italian will improve. Remember that smiles and gestures often say more than words. Families that do speak English will help you out at the beginning but they are also told to speak exclusively Italian as soon as possible.
I have a very particular diet. How do I work this out with my host family? During your initial placement with the family you will be given a bi-lingual food list that you are encouraged to discuss with your family during the first full-immersion weekend.
I’m a ‘night owl’ and often like to stay out late at night. Can I do this with my host family?
There is no curfew. You will have your own set of keys and the choice to come home when you wish. It is critical however that you are respectful of your host family, and take care not to disturb them should you come home late.
I’ve heard Italians are very social and somewhat noisy. Will I have my privacy? It is true that privacy does not have as high a cultural value in Italy as it does in America? Italian culture as a whole is characterized by the convivial and hospitable demeanor. That said, it is important to be mindful of stereotypes and remember that not all individuals are the same, and each person will be more or less talkative or sociable depending on their personality. Some hosts may be more or less affectionate and involved with their students, therefore, if you need private time, feel free to make that known and your host will certainly understand and respect your wishes.
I’m a very independent person. Will I be able to keep my independence? The homestay experience should by no means suffocate your independence. However, this does not exonerate you from common courtesy, such as informing your host family in advance if you are running late for dinner or saying hello and goodbye when entering and exiting the home.