Formal language learning in the classroom is further reinforced through such informal program components as homestays with Russian host families. For the entire duration of the program, participants live with Russian families. All host families provide private rooms and telephone access for their American guests, as well as two meals per day during the week, and three meals per day on the weekends. The American Councils host family program is a popular feature of the exchange experience, as it complements the academic portion of the program by contributing to language acquisition and a deeper understanding of Russian culture. All families are chosen through a careful selection process and monitored throughout the program by the local Homestay Coordinator. Placements are made with consideration for student preferences and special requirements. In addition, best efforts are made to match students with families who share their interests. Each location is checked for security, relative proximity to the university and transportation routes, fire safety, and overall living conditions.