Frequently asked questions

If you thought about it, we may have an answer for you... below are some of the most commonly asked questions.  If you can't find what you were wondering, feel free to call or email us at any point; we are here to help!
  1. 1
    When do I get detailed information on what to bring, etc.?
    In the spring, we send out a detailed packet for your trip. It goes over clothes to pack, money to bring along, presents for your host family, contact info of students, etc. We also send out a detailed questionnaire designed to help us select a family for you. Specifics of our flights are also sent out. Overall, don't be too concerned about all these details right now. We will take care of everything! As the summer nears, we send out several other letters to help you prepare for your trip. As always, be certain to call or email us with even what you might think of as the most mundane question.
  2. 2
    Can personal travel plans be accommodated before or after the program?
    Our flights can be adjusted to meet almost any schedule, but the earlier we know your plans the better. Changing our group flights adds to the cost, but not substantially. If you take your own flights (not the group flights) you schedule your own flights, we refund $1,000 for the European programs and $_____ for Perú; if you change dates or airports (NY/ Paris/ Madrid/ Barcelona/Lima) but use us, there is a non-group charge plus any additional flight costs. And, in most circumstances, we can easily arrange to meet you in Europe or at our gateway. Last year, we arranged to meet students pre-trip in Madrid, London, Toulouse, Paris, and Singapore; and post trip, we put students on trains or planes for Frankfort, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. We are flexible, but again, we need as much advance notice as you can give us.
  3. 0
    What level of Spanish or French is required?
    Frankly, if you are a motivated person, if the choice to really assault fluency is your goal (and not just your parents'), then we can do the rest. We teach to as many as four different levels, and have even contracted special tutoring for those either just above or just below everyone else. If we make the commitment to accept you, we will make it work (with your help, of course!) Bring your energy, enthusiasm, and leave the driving to us. Note that the French and Spanish programs typically require 2 or more years of the target language. In France and Spain, students ranged from 2 to 5 years of the language on our programs last summer, in fact, there were a few students who were close to fluent. We take French and Spanish students with 1 year of the language in only certain circumstances. Please call if that describes you.
  4. 3
    What are the other kids like?
    This one is a hard one to answer, for example, one student, enrolled last summer, had climbed Mount Ranier in Washington State, another who had trekked through Alaska for 5 weeks, and yet another who sang throughout Europe with her choral group. But there are also several who spent the prior summer in study programs, bus trips, or on family vacations. Our students are as diverse in their interests as our programs! They are usually very active and curious about the World around them—these would be the most apt generalizations that come to mind. In the end, remember - our focus is speaking the language, so students come to us with more than a desire to get a better grade next school year, but rather to move to fluency in the target language and honestly to have another place where they feel home, where they will always have a second family.
  5. 4
    How would Rassias deal with suspected or real terrorist activities?
    We take a conservative approach, often taking steps before worries arise. 30 plus years of experience (dating back to terrorist activities in Paris during the 1980s) and, perhaps most importantly the savvy of our local friends and experienced staff are essential elements of avoiding danger. As an example, in the summer of 2015, our friends in Arles observed that the Bastille day celebration (July 14) in Nice that we had always attended (and that the kids loved) was too insecure to be comfortable given the environment in the summer of 2016. So, in December we elected to extend our students' stay with their host families to July 15 and, following the Nice terror attacks of July 14, continued their stay with their hosts until it was time to travel north. Even before that, in April, we made the decision to fly our group from Montreal directly to Marseille, avoiding possible danger at Charles DeGaulle. And in concert with our US parents and our French friends in Paris, monitored the situation in Paris before electing to visit the city.