Living in a Host Family

Dos and Don’ts of Living in a Host Family

Choosing to living in a host family is a great decision. Last year 8 out of 10 of our students chose this type of set up for their stay in Rouen. Many students make this decision because a local host family can give you the immersion experience you are looking for through insight into the French lifestyle and culture.

Just like every other experience in life, there are the ups as well as downs of living in a family. Living with others can be difficult especially if they do things differently from you. To make it work, it is best to remember that you should respect the way things are done in your French family and be prepared to enjoy a new experience!

If you generally feel shy or if you find it difficult to start conversations it may be a good idea to bring some photos of your country and the people who are close to you. This gives you a subject to talk about and it helps your host family get to know you. It would also be nice to bring a small gift from your home country or to ask your family if you can cook a typical meal during your stay with them.

Your family will provide you with a single room and bed linen will be changed every week. The bathroom will be shared unless you have requested otherwise, so, please organise a routine with your family and remember that others may be waiting to use it.

Living in a Host Family

A few simple common-sense rules will go a long way to making this stay enjoyable for both you and your host family:

  • Some families have outdoor and indoor shoes. If this is the case, please remember to take off your outside shoes when you come in.
  • Do not smoke indoors.
  • Follow the family routine for things such as meal times and bed times. Even though you paid to stay with this host family, you need to keep in mind that you chose this option over a hotel because you want to connect. The people you’re living with may not be your relatives, but they still worry about you and want you to feel welcome.
  • Please keep your room tidy and do not keep food in it! Rinse the bath after use, leave the WC clean and last, but not least, do not waste electricity or water!
  • Do not use all the hot water.
  • Do not fiddle with the TV, computer or heating settings and please tell your family, the school or both if you are feeling too cold or hot.
  • After 10.30 at night please keep noise to a minimum, including the use of mobile phones. Use headphones if necessary and keep your phone on Vibrate or preferably Silent mode.
  • Arrange with your family ahead of time if you are going to be out late or miss a meal, or if you want to invite someone round. Mealtimes are a great time to connect with the family that’s hosting you. Food is known to bring people together so if you can try to be at home to help set the table or do the dishes. Apart from this being polite it is also a great communication opportunity.
  • Your family is happy to do light washing but please ask them if you can use the machine when you like for other washing.

These points may seem like a lot to follow, however, the gist of them all is that you should respect the people you live with as they are opening their homes, so you can get a better language and cultural experience. Communication is key in this kind of set up so always keep in mind that you can speak to the family or to the school representatives if you have any concerns or doubts.

What to pack (and expect!) when you study abroad in France

We are looking forward to meeting you at our award-winning French language school in the beautiful heart of Normandy!  We hope that you will find this guide useful and we wish you a very happy stay here with us in Rouen. A bientôt…

We suggest that you bring :
Clothes :
  •   Casual clothes for the lessons
  •   Something smart if you want to go out!
  •   1 pair of trainers & 1 swimming costume
  •   1 anorak or waterproof
  •   1 warm pull-over
Plus :
  •   Make sure that you have travel insurance
  •   1 camera
  •   1 travel adaptator for hairdryers/electric razors/laptops
  •   Credit card
  •   Some cash (Euros) plus traveller’s cheques
  •   A bag for your French books, notebooks, maps etc.
For students choosing a host family

Think about bringing a small typical gift from your country to give your French host family and also bring some photos of your own family or town as this will give you something to start the conversation going!!!

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Make the most of your study abroad experience in France

We are here to give you the utmost help in improving your French language skills but please remember that you are the star of the show and we will be giving you tasks to complete and asking you to work alongside us to reach your goal.  Here are some tips to get the most from your course:

  •   Make every effort to participate in the lessons
  •   Make the most of the activities and visits that FRENCH IN NORMANDY organises
  •   Make every effort to speak FRENCH at all times.
  •   Make friends from many countries
Staying with a host family
  •   You will be staying as a part of a family to learn more about the French way of life but remember that you should respect your host family’s times for meals and their house!!
  •   If you have arranged to go out please remember to tell them and tell them if you are going to be late in!!
  •   Your host family will communicate with you in French at all times so that you make progress quickly. Don’t worry you will soon get the hang of it!!
Every week your host family will provide :
  •   A single room
  •   Sheets, bed linen and towels
  •   A place with a desk and a chair where you can work and study quietly
  •   Breakfast and dinner in the week
  •   Full board at the weekends (or perhaps a picnic if you are going on our Saturday excursion).
  •   Use of a bathroom
  •   Light laundry
  •   A key

If you have any problems or questions relating to your host family just tell Véronique, she is the Well-Being Coordinator and in charge of  host families here at FRENCH IN NORMANDY.

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On arrival in France
If you are coming through Paris :

Make sure that you have the FRENCH IN NORMANDY emergency number and the number of the taxi that is coming to fetch you at the airport. This information will have been sent to you or to your travel organisation ahead of time.

If you are going to take the metro in Paris check that you know which line you need to take before getting on a train, if you need the timetable of trains ROUEN-PARIS just let us know and we will send you more detailed information.

If you know which train you will be taking let us know and we will get your host family to meet you at the station.

If you are coming to Rouen by public transport :

If you are going directly to your host family make sure that you have all the papers with their correct address and telephone numbers.

If you are being met by your family at the station please let them and the French In Normandy team know the correct time of your train and please let us know if you miss it or if there are any problems en route.

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Most important

Please let us know well in advance if you have any special dietary needs or if you are allergic to pets/animals etc and also if you are a smoker.

Other information
The weather :

It is never very cold in Rouen even in the winter which is usually wet and sometimes windy so for winter months make sure that you have a warm waterproof jacket. Summers are usually pleasantly warm but one never knows so bring a coat just in case!

Transport, lunch and pocket money:

Rouen has a tram system which we call «le metrobus », there is a stop just 8 minutes walk from the school which goes to the centre of town. Regular buses pass where French In Normandy is and many families are within walking distance of the school.

On the first Monday of your stay, we will take you around the town so that you get your bearings. We will show you the principal sights as well as useful information such as where and how to buy a metro ticket or season card. A ticket costs 1,50 Euros. A pack of 10 costs 11,50 Euros. You can also buy season cards for longer stays.

Lunch is not included in the programme unless you come as part of a group. Students at FRENCH IN NORMANDY can buy lunch from the many bakers shops (sandwichs/quiches/rolls) just 2 minutes walk from the school. There are cafés near the school where you can buy sandwiches or hot snacks and quick meals.

In the school we have a hot and cold drinks vending machines and a snacks (crisps and sweets) vending machine.

Students can eat in the common room.

Miscellaneous
We are happy to arrange :
  •   Student residence accommodation
  •   Hotel or gite accommodation
  •   Airport transfers and pick ups
  •   Bookings for theatres etc
  •   Bookings for travel, car hire etc
  •   Sporting activities


All the team at French in Normandy wish you “bon voyage et bon courage” and remember we are here to help you at all times. Enjoy your stay!!

Ma famille d’accueil

Chambre d'hôte en Normandie
Ma maison à Rouen…

L’école French in Normandy m’ a conseillé de rester pendant mon séjour à Rouen avec une famille d’accueil, c’est vraiment la chose la plus importante pour moi.

Pour commencer, ma famille est magnifique; elle m’ aide beaucoup à bien s’adapter ici à Rouen, elle s’occupe de tous les détails concernant les activités comme les endroits historique, les restaurants et les choses nécessaires pour la vie quotidienne.Je me sens vraiment comme chez moi !!!

Ce que j’aime carrément , c’ est quand on mange ensemble pour le petit-déjeuner et le diner, parce qu’on a l’opportunité de discuter et échanger des idées dans tous les domaines et ça influence nos progrès en français.

Reste à dire, la cuisine française est vraiment délicieuse ,spécialement les fromages, les crêpes et les gâteaux différents car on sent la gourmandise et le goût diffèrent qui n’ existe pas ailleurs.
Radwan