Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

ECI FAQs - Itinerary

Are the trips safe?

Safety is our number one priority! We cannot do this alone, and need your cooperation. We assume a certain level of maturity from all of our students, and trust you to make responsible decisions. All of our programs are based in what we consider to be safe locations. However, like any town in the US, there is always the potential for danger, and it is your responsibility to avoid putting yourself in unsafe situations.

Taking personal responsibility to help keep yourself and your trip mates safe is the theory behind our Personal Responsibility Contract. Part of ECI’s philosophy is to provide young people with an environment in which to mature and gain a level of personal independence. It is up to you to be an active participant in this process and to not abuse the trust given to you by our chaperones, who cannot be with you at all times.

Should you find yourself in a difficult situation, however, the chaperones are always available to come to your aid, take a taxi with you, walk you home, take you to see a doctor, help you communicate with your host family, etc. You and your parents can call them on their cell phones 24/7.

What is there to do in the evenings?

On each trip there is usually a period of time at night, after dinner and before curfew, when students and chaperones and/or Language Partners can get together to experience how European teenagers spend their evenings. To help you get the most out of your French or Spanish experience, we have chaperoned activities each evening.

Our European Program Coordinators, in consultation with our young, local Language Partners, do their utmost to provide you with nightlife experiences that are fun, appealing to teenagers, and whenever possible, unique to France and Spain.

Some example nightlife choices in Spain could include music concerts, summer festival events and shows, movie nights, flamenco shows, tapas tasting, sports activities, late night chocolate and churros. In France, nightlife choices could include concerts, movie nights, cafés, summer festival events and shows, evening art classes or sports activities.

What time is curfew? Is there a difference between weeknights and weekends?

In France, the curfew is midnight. This means students must be back in their dorm room by this time.

In Spain, from Sunday through Thursday, the curfew is also at midnight. This means students must be back in their dorm by this time. On weekends, there is a curfew extension to 2 AM because of the late-night culture.

Please note: students are always chaperoned after dark.

Do students have free time?

We always strive for a balance between organized activities and free time for our students. We encourage you to spend time pursuing personal interests and exploring the local community and culture with friends. During free time, you are required to be in a group of at least two, preferably three.

There is free time built into every day of the program. During every excursion there will be an opportunity for you to have free time and to explore the excursion town in small groups, within a safe environment.

How are weekends spent?

During the program town portion, Saturdays and/or Sundays are generally spent doing a full day excursion to an area outside of the program town. Participation in these excursions is required. We often leave one weekend day to relax and spend time with your new friends in your program town. During the Host Family Immersion Week you will be spending the weekend as a member of your immersion family. Please note: students are always chaperoned after dark.

Have a question?

If you can’t find the answer to your question here or in the program brochure please contact us:

  • 510-845-2230 
  • Send us an email