The most suitable program for you depends of your goal, your personality, and many other criteria. You must first think about your own motivations to travel abroad: do you want to improve your language skills, discover the local way of life or you prefer to visit the country or have fun with other students? These are the first questions you should ask yourself. You can also check with us which program is best for your needs. To help you with that selection, here is a brief description of our programs:
High School Programs:
You definitively want to experience life abroad and be totally immersed in the country and culture of the language you study; you’re not afraid to stay away from home during several months; you are not afraid of challenges and you really want to be an international student? Get ready for your High School program. Description: Long-term all-year-round programs (3 to 12 months), during which students attend academic classes in a local school of the host country. Best choice for: Really mature participants, with a good level in the language studied, ready to cope with distance or homesickness (students stay away from home for several months), who show a real willingness to discover another country’s life and to adapt. Age: 13 to 19 years old (depends on destination).
You would like to improve your language skills quickly and you don’t have so much time available? This program is for you. Description: Short-term all-year-round programs (from 1 week), during which students live at their teacher’s home and receive private language courses on a daily basis. Best choice for: Mature and independent students, able to arrange activities themselves after classes, and who need a personalized and individual teaching. Age: from 16 years old
You would like to improve your language skills, discover the local way of life and communicate with local people but you don’t want to attend classes? You’re not afraid of being totally immersed in your host family and to not meet with people speaking your mother tongue? Then choose a homestay program. Description: Short-term summer programs (1 to 10 weeks) during which students live in a host family in the country of their choice. Generally speaking, there are no group’s and planned activities in this program, and students should adapt to the daily life of their host family; consult our homestay program’s page to get more information. Best choice for: Independent and mature students, with at least 1 or 2 years of language studies and ability to communicate in the language, who are interested in improving their language skills by sharing the daily life of a local family. Age: 13 to 18 years old (depends on destination)
You would like to attend language classes and participate in activities on afternoons? This program is the most suitable for you: you will get an insight of the life of a local family, study intensively the language and enjoy activities with your classmates. Description: Short-term summer programs (2 to 4 weeks) during which students live in a host family, receive language courses in small groups on mornings, and have activities during the afternoon. Best choice for: Students who want to experience the life abroad with a family immersion but need a structured framework to improve their language level, or want to do supervised activities. Age: 13 to 18 years old
Flexibility is the main advantage of the language school program: you can adapt your course to your available time, your language level, your learning abilities and you can choose options and activities on location! Description: Short to long-term all-year-round programs (from 1 week), during which students attend language classes in small groups (maximum 15 students/class) in a language school. They can choose various options and course’s intensities. Best choice for: Really independent students, who don’t need supervision and are able to manage things by themselves while abroad. Age: from 16 years old (depends on destination)
Study and Volunteer:
You would like to combine your own interests with the ones of the local community? Improve your language level, practise the language and give your time in return to a project of general interest. Description: Long-term all-year-round programs (5 weeks at least), during which students, after having attended a language course in a local language school, help a local organization with their voluntary work. Best choice for: Very independent, mature and adventurous students, who want to give a bit of their time to help others. Age: from 18 years old
Study in class, make life-long friends with teenagers and have fun with them practising sports on afternoon! This is your summer camp abroad! Description: Short-term summer programs (2 weeks), during which students attend language courses on mornings and practise sports on afternoons. Best choice for: Students who need to be supervised, who want to experience life abroad and improve their language skills but also want to spend their time with other teenagers sharing the same interest in sports. Age: 12 to 17 years old (depends on destination)
Check your language level on our website. This will give you an idea of your level before you choose the most suitable program for you.
Nacel price list clearly states what is included or not included in each program. Please refer to the description of the program, especially the "Price includes" and "Price does not include" sections. Generally speaking, international airfare is never included, nor visa and passport fees. Accommodation, either in a host family, boarding school, shared flat or a student residence, is specific for each program. It may be included or not. In the same way transfers from the airport to the program's location or the accommodation may be included or not.
Please refer to our Sales Conditions section on this website.
We explain the application process for each specific program on each program page. If you don’t find there the answer to one of your specific concerns regarding application, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll inform you!
Your trip abroad will be a rewarding experience, but you have to be ready to change your way of life during some time and to adapt to the host family’s one. You must be open to discover new habits, new meals, new people even if it can be hard sometimes to adapt and learn all these new things! You may feel that the life there is very different than in your country, in your home, in your family but don’t worry, there are many things for you to learn from this experience. Sometimes you will find it better than at home, sometimes worst but anyway, you will go back home with many new ideas and points of view. Let the people around you explain you how it is going on there, don’t judge them and their habits too fast, be open to hear their own point of view! This will help you to build your own point of view on many issues.
Here are some tips to check if you are ready for this challenge:
-You are the one who wants to participate in the program. Don’t participate in the program because your parents want you to do so, make your own decision about it. Otherwise, at best you won’t enjoy your trip as much as if you would have decided by yourself. At worst you will not enjoy learning this language anymore when you will be back home!
-You are interested and curious about the language or the country you’re going to visit.
-You are independent enough to be able to cope with problems that may occur (flight delays, lost of luggage, waiting time…), or with homesickness (Have you already been far away from home? How did you cope with that?)
-You are mature enough. In some of our programs, supervision is high, and activities are planned all day long. But in others, students are less supervised, and must be mature and responsible enough to behave accordingly to the program’s rules and to find occupations.
If you are not sure if you are ready or not, we can advise you Contact us!! Read also what our former participants learned from their language travel abroad!
3 to 10 days before departure we will send you information about your accommodation (name, address…). However, in case of an unexpected event (disease or cancellation of the host family for example), or in case of a late application (6 weeks before departure), this delay can’t be guaranteed. We advise you to send a short email or make a short phone call to your host family, so that you can have a first contact with them before you arrive in their home.
Generally speaking, you will need a valid passport. For many programs, a visa may be required too. Please inform you at the local Embassy of your destination country: tell them where you want to go, how long, how many classes you will have there, and all relevant information requested. Note that it may take 2 to 3 months to get the necessary papers, so get it touch early!
Nacel won’t deal with visa issuance. If you need an Acceptance Letter, a Supporting Letter or a proof of payment, we will provide these documents under certain conditions (please consult us about this)
Usually, students bring a small gift from their home country to their host family but it is not mandatory at all. It should not be a high-value gift but something typical from your country and culture. This is much better if you think about and choose yourself the gift you would like to give them, they will enjoy it if you can explain them what it is and why it is so typical for your country.
If you plan on taking electronic devices with you (mobile phone, games consoles, hair dryer etc.), you should check if you will need an adapter and buy one if you do.
A small, two-entry language dictionary may be very useful (must-have!), as well as a travel book of the city/area, with plan.
You must be aware that you’re responsible for the handling of your own luggage. We advise you to travel with a light luggage. Think about what you would really need and what is not really needed, think about the length of your stay and the climate of the country where you go.
The Nacel escorts (if any) will help you if possible, but are not to be considered as “carriers”. For domestic transfer, especially by plane, most of the companies will only allow 20kgs of personal luggage. Extra luggage will be charged, and you will be responsible for those expenses. Be careful, it can be quite expensive! Don’t forget to write your name, address and phone number on each piece of luggage you may have. Take your most important belongings with you on board (hand luggage): necessary drugs if you are sick on board or have a medical treatment; acceptance letters, passport, visa papers, insurance certificate, details of your host family and/or of the person who is supposed to pick you up at arrival, emergency phone number for the program, electronic devices like camera and music devices, jewels if any, glasses etc. Please take into account that you are not allowed to travel with liquids in your hand luggage, do not bring bottles!
The amount of pocket money you will need depends on the program.
Generally speaking, if you participate in a summer program you may need around 80 euros/week in Europe, and 100 euros/week in other countries, if you are accommodated on a full board basis.
During a long-term program, you may have to buy clothes, books, personal hygiene items… so you may need more pocket money from time to time.
Do not forget that during a homestay program, you will have to pay for your extra activities so you should plan these expenses.
Adults should bring more pocket money in order to be able to participate in activities, eat outside etc…
The amount needed really depends on your lifestyle and what you are planning to do during your trip (shopping or studying? eating out or sharing the family’s included meals?...)
We recommend that you bring with you either an international credit card that allows you to withdraw money from a bank, or traveller’s cheques. This way, you won’t get out of money if you did not plan the right amount for your trip.
There are a few tips that will help you feel confident and secured abroad. Here are some ideas for you:
- Self-learning: try to learn usual expressions you may have to use in your daily life, do thematic wordlists (food, entertainment, clothes…).
- Try to read a book or see a movie in original version, with subtitles in the language too: this is a good training to improve your hearing skills and this will prepare you to your life abroad.
- Collect information about the country or area you will be living in: How is the climate there? What activities can be done? Are there places to visit? If you are doing a Tour, check the different places you will go to! These tips will leave you with many ideas of outside-of-the-classroom activities and help you to plan your trip so you won’t miss a visit!
Get information on the country by clicking on the destinations menu of our website. Chick on the language menu to get information on the language chosen.
In some immersion programs (like homestay programs), you will likely be alone in your host family. In other programs, with various students, they can come from any country. This will promote cultural understanding, and help you to communicate in the host country’s language, since this is the only one you will all have in common.
We offer programs with a residence accommodation.
The residence can be the boarding quarters of a school, or a youth residence.
The accommodation may be organized in multishared bedrooms (up to 6 beds per room). Note that the bedrooms may not be locked for security reasons in some residences.
Do not expect to live in a luxurious residence; these residences are suitable for short-term stays and offer all facilities needed but they are not a hotel.
Bathrooms may be common to several bedrooms. Bedrooms and bathrooms are single sex.
A room deposit can be requested by the residence’s representative; this room deposit is given back at the end of the program when no damage due to you is noticed.
For some programs like language school, we offer accommodation in residence. Please see the description of the residence on each school’s webpage.
Depending on the program you will be participating to, different rules may apply. It can be program specific rules, host family or residence rules, Nacel rules… You will be informed of the supervision level in your program before departure, or by contacting us.
However, every participant, every group, will be supervised by a Nacel local representative. The Nacel local representative makes sure that you are enjoying the stay, and that the host family, the school or the residence’s staffs are also satisfied.
Ask questions to your host family or to the residence leader on arrival:
1) What else am I supposed to do daily other than make my bed, keep my room tidy at all times, and clean the bathroom every time I use it?
2) What is the procedure for laundry?
3) Where can I keep my toiletries? What is the most convenient time for me to use the bathroom? What is the appropriate amount of time to be in the shower?
4) When are mealtimes? Which meals does the family eat together?
5) Would you like me to: set the table, clear the table, wash/dry the dishes, put everything away after the meal, take out the garbage?
6) May I help myself to food or drinks at any time, or must I ask first?
7) What areas of the home are private?
8) In my room may I put up pictures, posters, or bulletin boards or rearrange the furniture?
9) What time must I get up on weekday mornings? Holiday and weekend mornings?
10) May I invite friends into the home during the day? May my friends stay the night?
11) What are the rules of transportation?
12) What are the rules for local or international telephone calls?
13) What are the rules for computer use?
14) When is it ok to watch TV and how long is appropriate?
15) I don’t want to offend anyone, so when I am doing something that bothers you personally, would you please let me know?
Always remember that the key to a successful relationship is open communication!
There is no universal answer to this question. The improvement will depend on your program and your language learning abilities, and above all of your willingness to take the best out of your trip. If you take your trip to heart, you will no doubt notice an important improvement back home, even if during your trip you did not acknowledged it. The more you will interest yourself in the language and try to communicate while abroad, the most noticeable change you will see. Check the different steps of the language improvement!
Depending on the program chosen, you will have more or less free time. During a summer camp, your free time will be the shortest because we organize a complete timetable of courses and activities. On the other hand, during a language school program, you will have free time as soon as you are outside of the classroom. Generally speaking, the more independent a program requires you to be, the more free time you will have, even if this rule counts some exceptions.
Generally speaking, you will get hot meals during your stay when the meals are included in the package. When there are outings/excursions, you get a cold packed-meal for lunch (if you’re accommodated in full board). Exceptionally, when the outing is long, you can also get a cold dinner.
The host families and the residence cookers prepare common meals, and will not cook special meals for you (except for dietary, health or religious reasons).
You should be prepared to taste all the food prepared by the host family; host families may feel frustrated otherwise.
Depending on the program, you’re accommodated:
- on a full board basis = one night, with breakfast, lunch or packed meal for lunch and dinner.
- on a half board basis = one night, with breakfast and dinner.
If you develop allergies or require special meals for diet or health reasons, you’re requested to mention this on the application form when applying.
Late notices, during the stay, cannot be considered as valid.
Why choose an accommodation in a host family? You will get first-hand information on the local culture and really experience the local way of life. You may also make life-long friends!
We believe that the success of a stay abroad largely depends on the quality of the host family. Our local coordinators carefully select and visit prospective host families.
Our host families are:
• Warm, welcoming & open minded,
• Proud to share their lifestyle & language,
• Willing to include an exchange student in their family & community,
• Aware that today's youth need to be world citizens.
Sometimes you’re hosted in an individual room, sometimes in shared rooms. It depends on the destination and program. However, students of different sex won’t share a room. In all programs, host families have no duty to organize activities for you. You must be mature enough to get occupied by yourself.
You must be aware that a host family can be a single adult person, with or without children, retired people or a couple with children. A host family does not have systematically children of the same age like you. This is important that you do not expect to get the perfect family of your dreams and you must be open to the host family willing to host you.
You can be welcomed by a host family whose social environment, race or religion is different from yours. Please understand that you must be tolerant with these people and accept their difference. All host families are carefully visited and selected by our local representatives.
This is important for you to understand that you must adapt to the host family life, environment, and not the contrary.
During the visit, the local representative explains the aim of the program. In addition to the accommodation, the host family is expected to introduce you the local culture and way of life. You should not expect or request that the family organises tourist visits.
Note that host families can be volunteer or paid, depending on the program.
Families are not requested to do your laundry, ask them how you can wash your clothes.
A host family can welcome several exchange students at the same time– but none of them should share the same home language; ie one German, one Canadian and one Mexican. So you may share your host family with people coming from the whole world: take the chance to make friends!
Please be kind and respectful. Remember that you are part of the family, not a guest. You can expect to eat dinner with your host family, help with housework and chores, and talk with them just as you would with members of your own family.
Host family accommodation is the heart of our programs and we have 60 years of experience in this field!
Supervision depends on the program chosen.
In some programs, like language schools or home lessons, there won’t be any supervision because these programs are aimed for adults. Students are considered mature and independent enough to be able to go around without any supervision. Of course, if you need assistance, you will be able to contact a local coordinator, but otherwise you will be in total immersion.
On the other hand, for some other programs, like summer camps, language courses, homestay programs and high school programs you will be monitored and supervised all day long, and won’t be independent.
For junior programs with homestay accommodation, you will have to respect the host family’s rules. This means that you can be allowed to go out, or may not and that you have to obey to the family’s recommendations for return hours.
If you are living in a residence, you will have to abide to the residence regulations. Sometimes, parents are asked for a formal authorization to let their children go out by themselves.
You will be welcomed by your host family, the school staff and/or the local Nacel staff. This is a time when you will get a lot of practical information and you may also be introduced to the other participants, if any. For some programs, host families will show/explain you what the itinerary is to go to classes for example. You won’t be accompanied everyday to your classroom, and will usually travel by public transportation if you need to. If you have any question regarding this matter on a specific program, don't hesitate to ask us!!
Your local coordinator has an emergency phone number you may call anytime. Nacel also offers a general 24h/24, 7 days a week assistance in case of emergency. The phone number of this service will be given to you and to your parents before your departure.
Here are some tips for you:
1) Communicate! Please talk about everything and be open with your host family. For example, tell them about your school life, where you are going, and what time you will return. Make a point to discuss host family rules, and schedules (such as when you can take a bath) right away.
2) Ask Questions. When in doubt, ask your host family for help. You might not understand everything at first, but your host family wants to help. You might feel less independent in the beginning, but these feelings will go away eventually. Don’t hesitate, or feel it is impolite to ask many questions. This is normal and expected.
3) Discuss Issues. Sometimes there will be small problems adjusting for you and your host family. It is important to talk about these frustrations even if they seem small. Always talk to your host family first about any problems. If you become sick, tell your host family right away.
4) Allow adjustment time. You may form an image of your host family within the first couple of days that isn’t accurate. Your host family might take you sightseeing, fix special foods, or be extra polite when you first arrive. Little by little, you and your host family will feel more comfortable around each other and act naturally.
5) Participate in Family Life. Don’t hide in your room. If you are feeling homesick, hiding in your room will only make it worse. Have fun with your host family, and share in evening or weekend activities.
6) Keep an Open Mind. Look at differences as new and fun experiences. This is your chance to try many new things that you might not be able to do in your home country. Take advantage of the opportunity!
7) Be polite and friendly. This is important. You might not talk very much with your family in your home country, but if you shut yourself off from your host family they will assume that you are homesick or unhappy. When you like something, be sure you tell them. A “thank you” and a smile can go a long way!
8) Help with Housework and Chores. Seriously, you would be surprised at how much an offer to do the dishes will mean to your host family.
Remember, your host family will also be nervous, especially if it is their first time hosting. They worry about whether you like the food, or their family. If you are open and friendly, you will help to put them at ease. At the end of you stay, you will probably find that you do not want to leave!
You will be helped by our local representative and your host family to visit a local doctor and take the necessary medical treatment. If hospitalization, surgery or repatriation is needed, your insurance should be first informed.
In case of an emergency, please first call your local coordinator as he/she is on site and able to help you quicker. If necessary, our team at the headquarter located in France, which delivers a 24 hours emergency service, 365 days a year, may assist you. The phone number of this service will be given to you before your departure and on your acceptance letter.
Please be sure to have a medical insurance. We can provide you one, for an additional cost. Ask us for more information about the insurance policy!!
Exploring a new culture involves a sense of adventure, a willingness to take risks, ability to learn from your mistakes, and the responsibility of meeting people on their terms. You will have several new cultures to adjust to. These new cultures will be composed of new friends, family, teachers, language and situations. Apart from learning about the local culture remember that every social group and organisation also has its own unique culture. Keep an open mind; what is the norm in your country may not be the norm in other countries.
Do you know what ‘culture’ is? There are certainly many definitions. You may even have your own. The following definition is from Ralph Linton quoted in "Sociology, Themes and Perspectives" by M. Haralambos and M. Holborn (1990: 3rd Edition)
“… the culture of a society is the way of life of its members; the collection of ideas and habits which they learn, share and transmit from generation to generation …
…members of society usually take their culture for granted. It has become so much a part of them that they are often unaware of its existence… culture defines accepted ways of behaving for members of a particular society. Such definitions vary from society to society… “
When people from different cultures meet, the possibility for misunderstanding and conflict is high - unless they are already aware of the impact that culture has on their relationship.
Often we don't realise how much of our personality and the way we look at the world is affected by the culture in which we grow up.
Learning to do this is something that you can take with you and use anywhere in the world. It will make you a better person. Remember – don’t lose your sense of humour and ability to laugh at yourself! There may be times when you will make mistakes, don’t worry; this is also a part of the international experience you will have.
Homesickness may happen to everyone, even people who have already been abroad without having faced any problem before. To prevent homesickness, keep in touch with your parents, but not too much/too often and follow our preparation tips. If it is your first experience abroad, a short-term experience would probably be the best choice for you to make, so that you can “test” yourself.
The purpose of most of our programs is the immersion in another country’s language and culture. During the first days, it is normal if you feel a bit homesick, and too frequent communication with your natural parents could delay your integration in the host country. An occasional phone call is ok, but daily contacts could disrupt your integration in the program, and even worse, be the cause to homesickness!