Homestays in Florence
SACI Homestay Housing
Sharing everyday life with an Italian host family is an excellent housing option for students seeking to learn about and understand Italian culture and way of life in Florence. SACI carefully chooses host families to ensure the best possible living arrangement and experience for each student. Your host family will greatly influence your view of Italian life, people, and culture.
We strongly recommend the homestay option for students who wish to improve their knowledge of Italian language. Daily practice with local families and native speakers can greatly improve your familiarity with standard Italian along with Florentine colloquialisms. There is a rich diversity in regional expressions and language use throughout the different regions of Italy, including Florence and Tuscany.
The homestay option also enhances the opportunity for intercultural learning. Host families often show students aspects of Italian life, culture, and community that can otherwise remain hidden. It is not uncommon for students living in homestays to be invited to family events and outings or for members of the homestay hosts to come to feel like a second family by the end of your program at SACI.
Using the information from your housing form, the housing office chooses a host family that is compatible with your needs. Please be aware that not all families have children and, depending on the family, hosts can vary in term of age and family composition. In addition to a traditional family unit, host families may be composed of a single individual or one or more family members or direct kin.
Despite the many benefits of living with a family, it can also be challenging, especially if students have lived on their own and are used to being independent.
Please consider the following aspects of the homestay option:
- The possibility of living outside the historic city center and needing to take public transportation to get to class
- Accommodating strict dietary needs including allergies and/or a religious diet
- Spending some weekends or evenings at home with the host family, balancing it with your social life with friends
- The necessity to apply sooner than the normal application deadlines (by June 1 for Fall and by October 15 for Spring). After those dates, it is difficult to secure accomodations with families.
- Once committing to a host family for the entire term, there are no refunds if you decide to move out.
Typically, pairs of students are housed in one room in a host family’s home, although single rooms might be available. All rooms are fully furnished to include a bed, a closet or armoire, and a desk or study area, with access to a shared bathroom. For meals, the host family provides breakfast every day and five dinners a week. Families can also accommodate vegetarians if requested in advance. Students should clearly indicate their dietary requirements or concerns in their housing form. (Please note: Use of the kitchen is not allowed.)
Most host families have hosted international students for years and are sensitive to their needs. Program participants must remember that, while they will call the homestay “home” for a full semester, they are nonetheless guests in the home and are expected to adapt to the traditions and rules of their host family.
Homestay accommodations include:
- accommodation in bedroom (single or double as requested)
- breakfast 7 days a week
- 5 dinners a week (Monday through Friday)
- use of washing machine (one load per week)
- weekly cleaning of bedroom
- change of sheets/towels once a week
Internet and Telephone
All homes have Internet access, but neither SACI nor the family are responsible for connection quality, as it depends on the Internet provider. For on-campus connections at both SACI buildings wifi is always available during the school’s opening hours.
Location and Transportation
Students placed in families within the historical center will be at walking distance to the school facilities, and the commute on foot will be no greater than 20 minutes. Some homestay families may be located beyond the historical center in the greater Florence area. Those students will be well-linked to the city center by public transportation, and their commute via bus and walking will not exceed 30 minutes.
Please note the cost of commuting from your host family to school and within central Florence is not included in the program cost.
Please consider all options carefully when choosing the homestay housing option. You will be committed to your Italian host family for the full term, and there is no refund should you decide to move out.