Homestay is a great way to stay in regular homes of the local community in and around Paris. Some of the immediate benefits to staying in a homestay in Paris would be improving communication and language skills as well as understanding of local culture and lifestyle. Local hosts and host families offer private guestrooms and support to domestic and international students who are new to the community and local schools, colleges and universities. Most host families offer furnished guestrooms, meals, and utilities included for a nominal monthly homestay fee or rent.
In order to find and contact host families or International students and coordinators there are couple of ways to do so:
1) Student Services: Contact your local school or college student services department or admissions, they may offer homestay placement service for additional charge. If you already passed the deadline for homestay or dorm application or if your school or college does not offer the service then proceed to step two.
2) Homestay Consultant: Contact a homestay agency or independent homestay coordinator. The agent or coordinator will take sometime to contact local hosts and work with you to make the booking arrangement of the available homestay room. The agent or coordinator charge one-time charge an application or placement fee and requires an application to be completed to start. Some agents list host families for additional charge when they provide additional marketing value for the host. It is a valuable service if you do not have time or experience to do so. Same thing for hosts, some hosts do not have time to contact and match students with their homes, they may need a homestay agency to work with. Example of a homestay agency service would be "IHA - International Homestay Agency" their website is www.homestayagency.com.
2) Portal site: If you have time and good communications skills to search and contact families or International students yourself, then there is a new and easy way to do so. Networking website or portal would be the best example of such method where you search potential hosts by city or locality or destination. Choose whom you are looking for, but you will need to contact them and arrange homestay room booking. It could be simple but time consuming for some, but results are well justified since you communicate by yourself or others may contact you. The key is that you need to create a good and compelling profile about you and what you offer as a host or a student and communicate well what you are looking for in French or possibly in a foreign language too. Photographs are always very important to introduce yourself and what you offer. A free or paid membership would be necessary in such module of network website. The cost is usually way less or almost free but it requires more time and work for you. Example of this networking websites is "Homestay Online" or www.homestayonline.com.
The following is a general comparison between most options:
1) School or College Homestay 2) Homestay Agency 3) Portal site arrangement Some schools and colleges offer. Most universities do not offer this service. Specialized in homestay arrangements for schools, colleges, universities, foreign agencies, educational consultants, local host families, and International students and their families directly. Public domain with unlimited access. Stay with local family Stay with local family or hosts Stay with local family or host Unlimited practice of French language with host family Unlimited practice of French language with host family Unlimited practice of native French language Common house rules Common house rules Common house rules Cost vary from a school to another Host family asking price Host family asking price Involves use of public transit in most cases Ability to place you as close as possible, but may involve use of public transit. Involves use of public transit School make arrangement Homestay Agent make arrangement You communicate, match, and make your booking arrangement Monthly homestay fee (rent) Monthly homestay fee (rent) Monthly homestay fee (rent) Homemade meals Homemade meals- meal or no meals plans are available Meals depends on what host offers. Application or registration fee of $200 to $400, plus one or few month commitment. Student one-time application or registration fee of $250. You pay directly to host family the monthly homestay fee or (Rent) No application or listing fee, but ability to contact other members (hosts or students) may involve a nominal fee or membership upgrade. Selected by school with limited information about homestay arrangment before arrival Multiple options to choose from depending on homestay availability during stay. Information about homestay provided before final selection or booking to student or his contact prior to arrival. Unknown since your options and available information will vary depending on your communication skills. Deadline for application No deadline involved- three weeks minimum - Priority service option available for extra charge. Unknown since you are making your own arrangement Limited risk involved Limited risk involved Risk involved since no third party involved in the arrangement
Note that most hosts and host families are motivated enough to assist you when you arrive and go out of their way to assist you as a guest in their house. However they cannot host you for free since living costs in Paris is usually high for an average family. The monthly or weekly homestay fee will vary depending on perks included with the room like meals and utilities or location. For a fair homestay fee or rent in your area, please consult with a homestay consultant.
I hope the above already helped.
Enjoy homestay in Paris
Claude Chennais Jr.