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Grazie! The SITE Program
This memo has been prepared by a team of SITE
coordinators and ex-interns , it is the result of personal experiences and it
is based on a variety of situations
though it does not refer to
any in particular: it is simply an
outline of what an intern can reasonably expect; it is a collection of tips, and general
information on what to expect when you begin teaching in Lombardy; it contains
crucial questions you must be prepared to ask
to understand and face an unclear
situation . Bring the memo with you and re-read it occasionally- it will
be useful ! While you read it make a
mental note of all the small details you would like to ask and don’t
forget to discuss them
with your adviser as soon as you get in touch.
What kind of accommodation will I have?
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 situations and take your time to make your own decisions.
Staying in an
Living in an apartment
gives you total freedom and independence.
If the school you have been assigned to, is hosting another/ other intern/s 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 too without taking into consideration the
more venial reason that a roommate helps
reduce the costs of living .
Rents vary terribly according to where you are staying
.Rents in small places are of course
cheaper than rents 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 sitting room, kitchenette,
bedroom and bathroom may cost on average
between €300-400 per month.
If your adviser recommends you stay 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 exclude
utilities, such as gas, electric, etc...? usually internet access is not
included, but purchasing a “chiavetta” (internet USB port) from an Italian
mobile phone provider is a cheap alternative.
-Is there a “finder’s fee” to pay
equivalent to about 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 linen etc?
-how far away from school is the apartment? will you need a bike or bus
ride 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
-avete bisogno di un/a coinquilino/a? Come troverete lui o lei?
Living with a 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 very close with them. Aside from providing a support system
in a foreign location (as well as physical place of residence) 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, they are, families. Obvious, but 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 temporarily 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 baby sits regularly, and interrupts their
family dynamic, minimally.
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 had host students before? Sure, some may be used to
host students; perhaps they have hosted students for years. 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.
First, ask what the family expects of you. The questions written in Italian
below (domande da chiedere alla famiglia
ospitante) are an excellent jumping off point- and all should be clarified
before you arrive in Italy or as soon as you get to know a family that is
willing to host you in Italy.
Domande da chiedere alla famiglia ospitante (host family)
- volete che io faccia da baby sitter ai vostri figli? Che faccia i compiti
con loro? O che faccia conversazione di inglese e li assista nello studio dell'inglese?
- 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
- 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
-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? Would you be willing to
bring “guests” back to 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
These are just a few questions/
scenarios that need to be considered during your time as a potential host
Bottom line, 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, or a magic formula for making your host stay
successful, 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 for them as well.
Respect, open-mindedness, and good communication skills are the best way to
make a host-stay function as smoothly as possible.
A few schools in the
SITE school network have a students’
home close by to cater for those of
their 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 en suite depending on the fee), a recreational area and a laundry. As most,
if not all the students go home for the
week-end, you may feel a bit lonely if you are
staying in a students’ residence. In addition to this the kitchen closes
over the week-end 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 students’ home 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?