Students interested in immersing themselves fully into Roman life may apply to live with a host family. All Loyola students live with host families. Students may request to be placed in a host family with another student in the program. The host families are managed for Catholic University by Italiaidea, a local language school. The student will be placed in an Italian home; he or she will have dinner during the week with their hosts, get to see the local neighborhoods, local cooking styles, and speak Italian. Students move in with their host families on the Sunday after arrival and remain there until the morning of the last day of the semester.
For a pleasant and relaxed time, students are encouraged to respect the habits and mode of life of the person(s) of whom they will be a guest. It is imperative for the success of their time in Rome that they adapt themselves to this life and respect the rules of the house. In particular, they should be attentive to the rules and guidelines set out below. Our students find that living with families becomes one of the most memorable aspects of their Roman stay. Many of them stay in contact with their hosts after they leave, and sometimes return to visit.
Students will receive a private room in an Italian home, which they may share with another student upon request. A house (casa) in Rome almost always refers to what those in the United States would call an apartment or condo. The student will become part of the life of the family, helping with setting up and cleaning up after the meals, perhaps watching television with the family or participating in family activities, integrating into their lifestyle, and getting to know them. The student's time, however, remains his or her own. Students are given a key to the building and to the home so that they can come and go as they please. On occasion, there may be a student from a different program in the same house, with their own room.
The types of housing situations vary widely. Some are families with young children, others are widows living on their own, and others are young professionals who both work. Some have simple lifestyles, others not. Each family has been carefully chosen by Italiaidea through personal contact and verification. They are all friendly and eager to get to know students and help them with their time in Rome. In these families, students will get to know life as it is lived by modern Romans. Their interaction with their hosts will vary from situation to situation. They may invite the student to participate in their activities, or they may give him or her the space to develop their own pattern.
Almost all of the host families are located in the residential area beyond the historic center of Rome. They are located all around the city, so students will get to know local neighborhoods that the casual visitor or tourist never sees. In order to get to the Rome Campus, students will take Rome's public transportation. They will get to know how to move about the city in order to make the best of their Roman experience. The families are within 6 miles travel distance of the school. With the buses and metro, students can expect, on average, a 45-minute commute, with some taking only a half hour while others over an hour. Every neighborhood of Rome has its own charm; the further the student is from the school, the better the experience of Rome will be.
The most important general attitude students should have is one of hospitality and openness. Students are both guests in these people's home and a representative of their culture, their school, and the USA. They should always act in a way that is both welcoming and helpful. Students should offer to help around the house, cleaning up after themselves, cleaning your room and keeping it neat, helping with the dishes, and remaining kind and considerate. This will go a long way to making their stay pleasant and rewarding.