Maryland-in-Nice Housing Overview
An exciting semester in Nice awaits you! Your experience during the Maryland-in-Nice program will greatly depend upon your choice of housing. It will also be one of the deciding factors in how you live your life abroad. Therefore, it is important that you consider your housing selection carefully. It may even be helpful to think about the goals that you have set for yourself and how your choice of housing you make will help you to attain those goals. It is suggested that you speak with former Maryland-in-Nice participants to get an idea of what to expect from each housing option.
Before leaving for Nice, you will have to select one of the following housing options:
Students who choose to stay with a French family often want to improve their ability to speak French and understand the French culture through everyday contact with a French family. Families are selected for our students by our housing partner, Sud Études Accueil. When assessing potential families, the agency considers both friendliness and the quality of the services provided. The host families in Nice are diverse, as you may live with a single parent, a family with small children or retired couple with adult children. Families typically live apartments rather than houses, given the city's dense urban area.
Students can live alone in a host family, or they can choose to live in a host family with one other participant from the Maryland program, either in a double room or single room. Note that the other student must also do the same in order for the program to accommodate the request.
As part of the host family arrangement, students receive breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday, and breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. This usually means that you will have breakfast and dinner with the family, which provides an excellent daily opportunity to speak French with your hosts! Some students describe dinnertime as a great French lesson where they are in a comfortable environment to ask questions about vocabulary, culture, pronunciation etc. Please note that the Resident Director's class often occurs one night a week. Most students who stay in host families will have a plate saved for dinner on class nights.
Living with a French Family
There are considerable variations in the host family experience from one student to another. Some students develop warm relationships with their families, while others experience a comfortable home but a more formal relationship with their hosts. Much depends on the chemistry between the student and the family and how flexible the student is in living in someone's home. Although availability must be taken into account, every effort is made to match your interests and personality with the host family, so make sure that you provide as detailed answers as possible in the Sud Etudes Questionnaire.
Remember, a host family is not a hotel or dormitory. Students are expected to help out just as they do in their own homes, and remember to be open and flexible to the requirements of your individual host family.
The costs of housing is included in the Maryland-in-Nice program fee charged to your Testudo account. Education Abroad will pay for your housing expenses to Sud Etudes directly on your behalf. The housing expenses include your meals and utilities, including internet, electricity and hot water. While these are included in your rent, you should plan to adapt and share these sparingly and wisely with your host family. It is best to be conservative with these utilities as you adapt to living with your host family.
Education Abroad works with Giletta Immobilier, a local agent in Nice to identify apartments for those students who choose this option. Each student will sign a lease with the rental agency for the duration of your stay. Past students have generally been pleased with the size and comfort of their apartments in Nice.
Very often students' apartments are situated somewhere between the university and downtown Nice, which is a busy shopping area. Occasionally, students are fortunate enough to get apartments overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Some students choose to walk to campus while others choose to ride the bus. Most apartments are within walking distance of each other, the Resident Director's apartment, and about a 30 minute walk from the Universite de Nice.
The apartments chosen for Maryland-in-Nice students are spacious and comfortable by Nice standards. The apartments can be in older buildings with hardwood floors, noisy plumbing etc, and may not have an elevator. All units are furnished and in good condition.
You will be held financially responsible for any damage that occurs to any item within your apartment. This includes broken dishes. You should do an inventory of the apartment as soon as you arrive and report any missing or damaged items to the Resident Director and rental agency immediately.
Engaging in French Culture while living in an Apartment
Living in an apartment can provide an opportunity for daily interaction with French people. You will frequent the same markets and stores, developing a rapport with people in your neighborhood. It will take effort on your part to make friends with the other tenants in your apartment building. However, it can be done. You will, of course, need to respect the fact that you will be living in a communal living arrangement.
Students should be conscious of their noise level as not to disturb their neighbors and possibly jeopardize future students from living in the building. Students who choose to live with other Americans in an apartment should continue to practice their French as much as possible to continue to make progress.
The costs of housing is included in the Maryland-in-Nice program fee charged to your Testudo account. Education Abroad will pay for your housing expenses on your behalf directly to Giletta Immobilier. Included in the cost is money for your utilities electricity and hot water. While these are included in your rent, you should plan to adapt and use your utilities sparingly. It is best to be conservative with these utilities.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Internet access in apartments is not guaranteed. If you plan to set up internet access for your stay in France, contact the Resident Director for assistance. This process can be complex and expensive. Students are encouraged to take advantage of alternative sources of internet in the interim.
- Apartments on the premier etage are on the second floor, and rez-de-chaussee refers to the ground floor.
Students choosing to live in apartments have a number of apartment options, including:
Kitchen facilities with a small area with two burners, a small fridge, a sink and some cupboards)
A separate bathroom
TV (most apartments)
In France, apartments are classified by the number of rooms and NOT by the number of bedrooms. So, un deux-pièces has two separate rooms and a bathroom. The apartment is composed of:
One main room and one bedroom (not 2 BR in the American sense)
The main room may or may not have a door that closes it off from the main entry
The apartment may also include a kitchenette
There are also a limited number of 2 pieces with two separate rooms (that can each be closed with a door) and a joint kitchen (either in a type of hallway/alcove or in a separate room). Most of the deux-pièces include TV's (a few with built-in VCR's) and washing machines.
This type of apartment has:
Two clearly defined bedrooms and a separate living room area.
In Nice, this room often includes a kitchenette
A wall unit with hotplates, small fridge, cupboards and a sink
Some of these apartments have separate kitchens.
Most of the trois-pièces include TV's (a few with built-in VCR's) and washing machines.