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Once you've officially been admitted into the program and placed into a school, one of the first things that come to mind is: where the heck am I gonna be living? Finding a house is enough of a challenge at home, let alone in a foreign country. Your appointed advisor (aka your contact person at your school) is there to help you through this transition by giving you a list of possible living spaces or by helping you navigate through agenzie immobiliari. We advise getting in touch with your advisor regarding housing early on to avoid unnecessary stress in the days leading to your departure. Below you'll find a breakdown of living options which previous interns have had over the years:


Basically interns stay either in a flat on their own or with a family. Though staying in a flat is by far the most common situation, a few interns might find themselves involved in a third option: accommodation in a students’ residence. Whatever you will be offered, please keep in mind that  school advisers will very likely propose only one of the three possible options. As a matter of fact, they  have learned a lot from their past experience and know what has proved to be the best available situation locally and, understandably, they tend to propose  the one that has worked more satisfactorily with former interns. Therefore, although you might have different opinions in this  matter, it is sensible, at first, to be practical and make the most of what they recommend. After adapting  to the new environment a little, you will be personally able to evaluate other options and take your time to make your own decisions.


Staying in an aparment
Living in an apartment gives you total freedom and independence. If the school you have
been assigned to is hosting other interns, you might have to share the apartment with them.
Lack of privacy (sharing the same bedroom, bathroom, etc) is widely compensated by the
opportunity to have company, support, and  fun aside from reducing costs of living.
Rents vary greatly according to where you are staying. Renting in small towns is cheaper
than in central areas of large cities, therefore  it is very difficult to give you a precise idea of
how much it is going to cost you. Let’s say that a small flat composed of a sitting room,
kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom may cost on average  between €300-400 per month.  

If your adviser  recommends staying in an apartment,  you also need to consider, together with him/her, the following:
- Is  the price of the apartment is all inclusive? Does it include utilities, such as gas, electric, etc? Internet access is not usually included, but purchasing an Internet box (such as Tre's PocketCube) from an Italian mobile phone provider is a cheap alternative.
- Is there  a finder’s fee to pay equivalent to one month’s rent, in addition to the security deposit?
- Is the apartment completely furnished? Also, do you need to purchase items such as plates, silverware, bed linens, etc?
- How far away from school is the apartment? Will you need a bike or ride the bus/metro to get there?

You may want to ask these questions directly to your landlord or the agent, so we are providing them in Italian as well:
- Il prezzo dell’appartamento è “tutto compreso” oppure ci sono anche le bollette del gas/elelettricità/riscaldamento da pagare?
- Bisogna anche pagare le spese di ricerca appartamento ad un’agenzia immobiliare (quella che ha trovato l’appartamento per voi?)
- L’appartamento è completamente arredato (anche con pentole piatti ecc)?
- Come  è collegato alla scuola (si può andare a scuola a  piedi/bicicletta/bus?)
- Avete bisogno di un/a coinquilino/a?  Come troverete lui o lei?
Staying with a host family
Host families can be a wonderful arrangement when living abroad though they are
sometimes difficult to find. Ideally they can provide a support system; through constant
interaction, you will get to know your host families well, and perhaps even become part
of the family. Aside from providing a support system in a foreign location, the host family
arrangement theoretically can be excellent for practicing your foreign language skills on
a consistent daily basis.
Ideally, a host-family accommodation is the perfect way to adapt to living abroad but the first thing to remember about host families, is that, well, they are families. As obvious as this sounds, this factor is sometimes overlooked when students reside with foreign families. These are people who are interrupting their daily lives to allow a stranger to take residence under their roof.  Depending on who your host family is, they may not only feed you, and put a roof over your head, but some may take you in as a member of their family. Or, on a very different spectrum, your host family may be expecting you to be a highly independent resident, who babysits regularly, for instance.

How will you know what to expect? You can’t, although it is helpful to ask certain questions to gather more information about your potential hosting situation. Has your family hosted students before? Perhaps they already have very specific rules and regulations for what they expect from you. Or perhaps the family has never hosted anyone before and has absolutely no idea of what to expect from the situation. Firstly, ask what the family expects of you. The questions written in Italian below (domande da chiedere alla famiglia ospitante) are an excellent starting point and should be clarified before you arrive in Italy or as soon as you get to know a family that is willing to host you: 

- Volete che io faccia da baby sitter ai vostri figli? Che faccia i compiti con loro?
- Eventualmente, preferite un tempo preciso giornaliero o alcune ore distribuite durante la settimana? 
- Quante sere, eventualmente, dovrò garantire per il baby sitting? 
- Avrò il fine settimana libero o dovrò stare a casa il venerdì o il sabato per permettervi di uscire?
- Devo essere autonomo/a nella preparazione del cibo,  la lavatrice, ed altre necessità? Devo comprare il cibo da solo/a o il cibo sarà offerto dalla famiglia?
- Chiedete qualche rimborso per le spese di cibo e altro?

However, keep in mind, that even if you have concrete “terms” for your stay, the proposed dynamic of your time with your host family may very well change and, if you agree to stay with a host family, you both need to be flexible to change, and willing to communicate, in case there are issues that need to be addressed. And, while we have listed some useful questions that you should ask your host family, there are some important questions that you might want to ask yourself about the reality of host family life, and how you might react to any number of the situations (or similar scenarios) these questions pose:

- How willing are you to adapt your own personal lifestyle to that of a family?
- How willing are you to follow a curfew if your host family implements one? How about other house rules?
- If your host family does indeed feed you, should you help with household tasks such as washing the dishes or setting the table?
- If your host family expects you to perform a task/ participate in a routine that was not priorily agreed upon, how would you react?
- Will your social life negatively affect your relationship with a host family? Will you spend nights not at your host home? 
- What will your sleeping arrangements be? Will you have to share a room, which could involve sharing your personal space? If you are a messy person and your host family is very orderly, will this be problematic for you?
- Will you be able to observe your family’s behavior and act accordingly? Do they seem to expect you to “hang out” with them? What time do they eat? How much time do people generally spend in the shower? Should you call if you are not going to be present at a meal?
- What if you are in charge of your own food arrangements? How and when will you feed yourself in a manner that does not interfere with the going’s on of the household?

The bottom line is that living with a host family is a situation that will require flexibility, regardless of what the family expects from you. As a recent college graduate, you may not be used to living in a mixed-age environment and a host family is not a college dorm. While no one can tell you what to expect from living with a host family, keep in mind that you are staying with a family, and that as strange as that might be for you sometimes, the family, no matter how many times they have (or haven’t) hosted someone before, might find your presence in their house strange as well. 

Respect, open-mindedness, and good communication skills are the best way to make a homestay function as smoothly as possible. 
Student Residence

A  few schools in the SITE school network have a student residences nearby 

dedicate to students whose families live too far to commute daily.  A students’

residence provides full board (bedrooms can be either single or double with

common bathroom or ensuite, depending on the price), a recreational area and a

laundry room. As most, if not all, students go home for the weekend, you may feel

a bit lonely if you are  staying in a student residence. In addition to this, the kitchen

closes over the weekend and on festive days and you might have to provide for your

own meals yourself. Sometimes there is a very special agreement between the school

you have been assigned to and the student residence and interns are

practically offered free accommodation in a single room and full board. If you are

among these few lucky ones, make sure you know the rules of the home and stick to them. Other times interns  are   asked to give a small contribution in terms of a few conversation classes for the students of the home or just befriend them and take part in their recreational activities.

Domande da chiedere al Direttore del convitto/adviser
- Volete che  faccia conversazione di inglese e  assista  gli studenti del convitto nello studio dell'inglese? Se sì, quante volte alla settimana?
- Eventualmente, preferite un tempo preciso giornaliero o alcune ore distribuite durante la settimana? 
- A che ora devo rientrare la sera?  Nel fine settimana posso avere la chiave?
- Posso essere autonomo/a  nell’uso della lavatrice? Posso usare la cucina?
- Chiedete un piccolo contributo alle spese?

- Quali sono le regole del convitto a cui devo attenermi?


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