To allow us the flexibility in getting you settled, housing assignments often have
to be made shortly before the semester begins. Specific information regarding your
hosts will be provided to you via email about TWO WEEKS before your departure. Housing
is reserved from two days (i.e. the Saturday) prior to the beginning of orientation
until 12 noon on the day after the last exam.
Living in a French home is considered the best form of housing because it provides
an immediate introduction to life in this new place. It is an incomparable opportunity
for those who seek knowledge that is neither superficial nor second hand. It provides
an introduction into the community and is a great incentive to learning the language.
IAU’s hosts come from a cross section of society; they belong to no particular professional
or social milieu, but all are carefully chosen and many have hosted American students
for several years.
Most of the rooms available with the hosts are approximately a 15 to 35 minute walk
from classes. Accommodations a bit farther from the Center may be more spacious.
Students should consult with the housing coordinator should any questions arise
regarding the homestay arrangement.
Housing coordinators make periodic visits to the hosts to be sure that the cleanliness
and comfort meet the Institute's standards. With very few exceptions, IAU alumni
feel that living in a French home is far preferable to living independently. Some
universal observations on homestays:
- French comprehension and speaking ability improve dramatically
- Awareness of current events, political outlook, and cultural customs enrich their
- The food may be a delightful education in itself, and dinnertime may provide a gracious
and lively event each day
- You must be flexible and accepting within your French household, and will in all
likelihood find the attitude rewarded.
When living in French homes, students are on a demi-pension “plan.” This includes
daily breakfast and six dinners per week. Bed linen, pillow, and blankets are provided,
but not towels, and the room is cleaned weekly. Your host will generally provide
one machine load of wash per week.
Visiting parents or friends should make prior hotel reservations. No arrangements
can be made for lodging other persons or pets. If your arrival time at the beginning
of the semester is delayed, please telephone IAU as we must keep your host informed.
Please do not plan to arrive after 8 pm.
IAU does not offer independent housing; if you choose to rent an apartment you will
have to make the arrangements on your own. Be aware that apartments are hard to
find in a crowded university town such as Aix-en-Provence and rent is very high.
One month’s rent, plus a deposit equal to one, sometimes two, months’ rent (reimbursed
if there are no outstanding bills or damage at the end of your stay) must be paid
in advance to the apartment owner. Heating, electricity, gas, and telephone are
additional. You will also not be provided with linens or cookware. If you choose
this situation, it is best that you start making arrangements before you arrive
in France, as housing can be difficult to find.