“Almost” Total Cultural Immersion®

The “Almost” version of the 100% Total Cultural Immersion is for those who are apprehensive about living in the home of someone they do not know or those who are travelling with someone who does not share the enthusiasm for the Total Cultural Immersion experience.  

However, you can still have an “almost” total cultural immersion experience.  Most of the following information applies.  If you are not living in someone’s home, scheduling is very important and you will need to let FLSAS know exactly what you want to do / accomplish in advance to avoid awkward moments.  If you miss a scheduled activity with your host, you cannot expect it to be rescheduled at you convenience.  Read the following, but take into account the changes that would apply if you are not living with the host.

Brief Description

• A Very, Very Simple Idea …

When people travel their best memories usually are of people they meet, not the places they visited.

• You will  have the opportunity of living the country you are visiting.  Living the culture of the country is better than reading about it in a guidebook or textbook or hearing about it while looking out the window of a tour bus filled with forty other tourists.

• You live in the home of a local host.  You meet real local people.  You will be placed with hosts who share some of your interests.  It will make your experience that much more interesting.

• You can chose to participate in the daily activities of the host and/or the host family or to take off and explore on your own.  (See Daily Schedule comments below.)

• You live in the home of your host, a well educated individual who is very knowledgeable about the culture, both traditional and contemporary, of the region.  You have your either breakfast and dinner or all three meals with your host.

• Even if you are travelling alone, once you arrive, you will be with your host.  There is no need to fear being stranded in a place you do not know with people you do not know.   You can choose from many activities or choose to do nothing but relax in a foreign country, reading in the town square or people watching.

• Before you begin to read all the details…

For those who are apprehensive about “living with strangers…”

• We work with very carefully selected hosts.  We do not work with hosts that commercially “rent rooms” to tourists.  This is a cultural program.  You will be the only guest in the home unless you are notified in advance that there will be others there.

• In each region, there are Regional / Local Organizers who have personally visited all the homes / hosts.  Just as you may have preferences for a host (non-smoker, all female home, vegetarian, ad infinitum), hosts also have preferences for guests.

• There is the Local / Regional Organizer who is always on call.  You will have at least two emergency numbers, which are 24 / 7 numbers.  You will not be “abandoned” in a homestay, stranded if you have questions or problems.

Additional Information

Number of Participants per Homestay:
One or Two in the same homestay.  It is possible to arrange for more participants.
Length of Stay:
One week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc.
Dates / Time of Year:
At your convenience throughout the year.  Preferably Sunday to Sunday.
Different Categories / Levels of Comfort::
Standard, Standard/Plus, Superior/Business, Luxury.
Proficiency Levels:
From Absolute Beginner to Near Native Speaker.
Knowledge of English:
You can request a host who speaks English (or other native language).
Countries / Locations:
Over 40 Countries Worldwide – many cities, regions.  See Countries.

More Detailed Information

Selection of Hosts.

We ask you to provide us with background information.  We match you with hosts with some similar interests.  The more you have in common with the host, the more interesting the experience, activities and the conversations.

All hosts in 100% Total Cultural Immersion® program are native speakers and college graduates.  All are qualified, linguistically and culturally, to host all categories of participants – adults, younger students, seniors, executives and professionals, teachers and professors.  Hosts have a wide variety of interests and bring different experiences into the homestay experience.

Levels of comfort.

 Standard – meets the needs of most participants.

Private Bathrooms are available, but there may be an additional cost. It depends on which hosts are available at the time.  It can vary by country and region.  At no time will you be placed in a situation where you are sharing the only bathroom with many family members. However, you may be sharing it with one or two family members.

Comment:  Homes, especially older homes, in other countries just do not have as many bathrooms as do homes in the U.S. It is a cultural difference, not a reflection of the standard of living or the quality of the homestay.

Standard Plus

Private Bathroom is guaranteed, no additional charge.

Superior / Business

A private bathroom is guaranteed.

You will be able to meet people in your profession or business and who share your hobbies / interests. You can socialize with them.  If this is important, please put this in writing in advance.

Luxury

This is a different lifestyle. It may be a luxurious modern apartment, it may be an old “maison particulier.”  It may be in the center of a city, it may be way out in the country.  You can choose.

If you request Luxury because you want to be guaranteed the most modern conveniences, electronic gadgets and maid service, this program is not for you.  In many countries, tradition plays an important part in determining lifestyle.

You will be given extra personal attention. The cost for this category takes into consideration the fact that you are staying with hosts who ordinarily do not have people they do not know living as guests in their home.

Although private bathrooms are available in all countries, the Luxury Category may not be available at all times in all countries.

Families:

Your family is welcome.  Be realistic.  The more people involved, the more difficult it will be to place all of you in the same home and the more time is needed to do so.

Costs given are for One or Two Adults in a homestay.  If there are more… or if children are involved, please give us full details in advance so we can give you the correct cost.  Children do not stay free.

Costs:

In many cases, each country varies, this program will be less expensive than a hotel.  However, the program is not for those who are looking for “cheap lodging.”

In order for the program to work smoothly, a number of people have to be involved in setting up each homestay and that is figured into the cost.

Costs given are for the Standard Category.  If you have questions on the costs for the other categories, request them.

Daily Schedule / Options:

• Go off on your own and discover the city / region.  Do what you want.  Tell FLSAS in advance what you would like to do and the host will have information for you on where to go, how to get there, etc.  You will be on your own.  Suggested: 2 meals each day.

• Share Daily Activities with the host.  Every day type things.  Go shopping, meeting with friends, etc.  The host does need a couple of hours of “free time” while you are there.  Suggested: 3 meals.  You have to work around the host’s daily schedule.

• Request an Activities Program (below).  The Activities Program refers to activities that require travel out of the host’s immediate area.

You can mix and match as long as the host knows in advance what you want to do.  You cannot expect the host to change his/her existing plans just because you may have changed your mind about what you want to do.

Activities Program:

For those who want more than just daily activities, an Activities Program can be arranged.  You can go sightseeing with your host, research your genealogy, go to the beach, shop, hike, bike, etc.

The Activities Program refers to activities that require travel out of the host’s immediate area.  Separately, we will be able to suggest possibilities for different countries and regions; not all countries and regions.  There will be an additional charge if you want the host to accompany you on activities.

Ideas of what you can do.  IDEAS FOR ACTIVITIES.

Host’s Knowledge of English:

If you are not proficient in a foreign language and go to a non-English speaking country, and request it, you will be placed with a host who understands English.  Understands English does not necessarily mean fluent in English.

Foreign Languages:

This is a Cultural Immersion Program, not a Foreign Language Program.  If you are proficient in a foreign language, this program will give you the opportunity to practice the language out side of a classroom.  You are welcome to practice your foreign language skills with the host.  However, this is not a foreign language study program.

It is an excellent opportunity for Foreign Languages Teachers and Professors to practice the language out side the classroom.

Senior Citizens:

Active Seniors:  You can participate in many activities, you can do what you want.  You can relax or not.  It is your decision.

Seniors with Health Considerations:  This is an excellent program for Seniors who want to travel but are apprehensive about doing so because of what might happen.  You will know what country, region, city you will be in in advance.  In advance of your stay, with your personal physician at home, you can identify  doctors, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies that you might need in an emergency.    You will be prepared.   Many activities that are available, like cooking classes and visiting art galleries and walking are stress free and require  a minimum of effort.

Special Diets can be requested.

Women Travelling Alone:

As stated above, you may be travelling alone, but once you arrive at your destination, you will be with your host.  There is no need to fear being stranded in a place you do not know with people you do not know.

You can choose from many activities or choose to do nothing but relax in a foreign country, reading in the town square or people watching.

You will be matched with hosts who share some of your interests and have friends with varied interests.  You will not be alone for long.

 Men Travelling Alone:

As stated above, you may be travelling alone, but once you arrive at your destination, you will be with your host.  You will not have to be concerned about meeting people or starting conversations with strangers.

You can choose from many activities or choose to do nothing but relax in a foreign country, reading in the town square or people watching.

You will be matched with hosts who share some of your interests and have friends with varied interests.  You will not be alone for long.

Younger Students:

Younger students will be placed in homes that have been carefully selected and are considered age appropriate.  These homes frequently, but not always, have children the age of the student.  If there are no children of the same age in the home, there are children of similar age in the immediate vicinity.

All daily activities with the host will be age appropriate for the country in which the child is living.  There may be an additional charge per week for children under 18 who are not accompanied by an adult.

Most Important:

This is a cultural program; an exchange of cultural ideas.  You are there to experience the differences, to compare cultures, not for the experience to duplicate what you have at home.  You must be able to adjust to a different way of life.  Be open to new ideas.  There is no universal right way to do things; there are many right ways to do things.