What Is a Homestay Extension?
The homestay extension for students on GLA's 21-day Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure high school language immersion program is an opportunity to have the most immersive experience possible while living and volunteering abroad. A French overseas territory in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe is a melting pot of people, languages, history and cuisine, providing students a rich cross-cultural experience.
Students who enroll in the homestay extension will first participate in our 21-day Flagship program, where you'll live with fellow high school students at our GLA home base. You’ll practice French in daily French classes specifically tailored by GLA to the Guadeloupe program which you will put into practice while volunteering in the surrounding communities. This will be your chance to become familiar with the region and its unique needs, as you become accustomed to the Guadeloupean way of life.
On the day your fellow students depart for home, you'll say your goodbyes, and then you'll begin the next part of your adventure - 8 extra days living with a local teen and his or her family. You will meet your homestay family at this time, and will have the opportunity to broaden your experience past the home base by spending time in a local town and catch a glimpse of what life is like for local teens in Guadeloupe. You'll spend the next week living with a Guadeloupean family in their home as you build deep connections, cook and eat local food, explore the town and take your French to the next level.
How It Works
GLA local partners have established strong bonds in the communities in which they operate, and they've coordinated with many local families to host student volunteers in their homes. Host families are rigorously vetted and must meet strict criteria based on GLA's values and safety standards, including:
- Family must have previous experience hosting students
- Maintain a clean home with a working shower, hot water and a bathroom
- Be responsible, trustworthy and organized hosts
- Provide a gender-segregated sleeping area and lock on the door for student use
- Serve good, tasty and healthy food (can accommodate most student dietary needs)
- Have a landline phone for student use
- Include the student in daily family life and outings during the homestay extension
Your local staff will help you get acquainted with your family and will provide an orientation on the first day. All host families pass a full evaluation and are trained in best practices for hosting international students.
The Benefits of a Homestay
Living with a local family is also an exceptional opportunity to further make an impact in this region on a personal level. You'll be connecting with real people living their day-to-day lives, and sharing a home with a family that is excited to have you join them for family meals, conversations, and more.
One of the biggest highlights of this homestay extension is that you’ll be paired with a family who has a teen of the same gender and similar age, so that you can experience first-hand how peers in your age group live in Guadeloupe.
GLA students also frequently stay in touch with their host families after their homestay experience!
After taking a few weeks of French language courses on your GLA program, you'll be prepared to spend your homestay with warm, friendly people who speak French as their native language.
You do not need to speak fluent French to participate in the homestay extension. In fact, one of the best reasons to participate in the homestay is to further your French language learning. No experience is more rewarding for language development than living alongside people who speak a language different than your own. You can expect your French skills to take a big leap forward after the time you spend on your homestay.
Here's a Sample Day-to-Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Getting Oriented
After saying your goodbyes to the students departing for home after your 21-day Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure program, you will travel to your new community, to be met by your host family. Spend the first day getting settled in your new home, meeting the family, and getting acquainted with the house rules (curfew, how to use the facilities, etc).
Days 2 - 7: Living With Your Family
The activities you engage in will depend largely on your host family. You will be living as the locals do: this could mean helping with household chores, learning to cook authentic Guadeloupean cuisine with your host mom or dad, meeting neighbors and extended family, or exploring the local neighborhood.
Your high school-aged host brother or sister will help to show you the ropes and how to live the life of a local teen. Some families are very active and may treat you to a beach day, while others may be geared more toward a family movie night.
Regardless of what activities you engage in, you can be sure that you will be practicing your French 24/7 and really getting a feel for life in a small Guadeloupean community!
To download the itinerary for the 21-Day French Caribbean Adventure program click here.
Day 8: Departure
It’s time to say goodbye—or see you later!—to your host family. At the airport, a family member will help you check in for your flight and see you off on your return flight home.
If you're interested in adding the homestay extension to your 21-day Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure program, you can enroll in both at the same time. If you'd like more information, you can also call or email one of our expert enrollment advisors, who will be happy to walk you through the details of your stay, and answer any questions you may have.