France has a large variety of charms – from beachside towns to quaint inland villages to busy cities and snowy mountain villages. The people living in the countryside mainly live a very traditional life.
To apply for a 3-month, semester or year long exchange to France, you must have been studying French for at least 2 years. Students must have been studying French for at least 6 months before arrival in France.
The school year in France lasts from the beginning of September to the end of June. Usually there are 10 days of holidays in the Autumn, 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks in Winter and 2 weeks in Spring.
A normal school day in France generally starts at 8:30 am and ends at 5:30 pm. During the day, there is a 1 to 2 hours break for lunch. There are no school uniforms in France. In class, students often have to listen, take a lot of notes and read chapters in text books at home. Your host parents will often want to be involved in catching up on your school life. They’ll also be very happy to help you with your homework.
Friends usually meet on Wednesday afternoons and on Saturdays, not in evenings during the week because schools and families expect all students to work on their school assignments and other homework. In France, school is for serious study not for social activities or events, which is why extracurricular activities are not normally provided by schools. You will need to find social activities and hobbies outside of school which your host family can help you with.
Most host families in France live in small towns, suburbs or in small communities and can be very different: some have children, some do not, some are single parents. The most important part of daily life in a French family is to spend time together generally during the evening meal at around 7:30pm.
Family members normally eat together and the meal lasts for about an hour. During this time, the family talk and share the happenings of their day. During dinner your host family will often ask you about your school assignments, your results at school and about your different activities as a way of showing you they care.
As you will be a member of the family, you will be expected to respect rules and wishes of your family and tell them about your activities.
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