During the on-campus intensive sessions, transportation is solely the responsibility of the student. Students may drive their own cars, rent a car or ride share with other students. Other options include Lyft, Uber, and Taxi. Jacksonville has a limited public transportation system, therefore, we do not recommend relying on that as a mode of transportation for the week. The IWS staff cannot arrange for or provide transportation to and from campus each day.
If you are interested in ride sharing or if you would like to offer ride sharing for other students, please post requests in the IWS Facebook Group. This is a great way to share the cost of transportation. If you are requesting a ride from another student, it is expected that you would offer to assist with the cost of the car and/or gas.
There are many reasonably priced hotel options available within comfortable driving distance of the IWS campus, many more than we can list here. To help reduce the accommodation costs for the week, you may want to consider sharing a hotel room with another IWS student. Many cohorts set up a Facebook group to coordinate travel plans and other outside-of-class topics. Post requests for roommates on the IWS Facebook Group. Also, cohorts set up a Facebook group to coordinate travel plans and other outside-of-class topics.
Local Hotel – Official IWS Group Rate
The official hotel of the January 2023 session is:Sonesta Simply Suites Jacksonville
4990 Belfort Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32256
tel: 1 (904) 296-7785
This hotel is located just 6.2 miles from campus and is about a 13-minute drive without traffic. Use this link to book at the reduced rate of 87.30 by making a reservation by December 5, 2022. The rooms feature 1 Queen Studio and a kitchen. The rate includes wi-fi and parking. Please reserve your room early so we may expand the block if all of the initial rooms are reserved.Book Online @ IWS Rate
Other Accommodation Options
Many students have utilized Airbnb or VBRO to find accommodations close to campus. This is a great option to do as an individual or with a group of other students.
There are many hotel options for you within comfortable driving distance of the IWS campus, many more than we can list here. Remember that sharing a room with a classmate is a great way to reduce your accommodation expense.
As you are researching hotels, please make sure you map them in proximity to 4001 Hendricks Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207, as Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the United States. A good resource for locating hotels by area of town is to use the Where to Stay tab on the Visit Jacksonville website. You can then select neighborhoods to view available hotels. The DOWNTOWN neighborhood tab showcases 2 hotels downtown and 4 that are on the Southbank side of the river, including the official hotel listed above (closer to campus). The SOUTHSIDE neighborhood tab showcases hotels within 5 miles of campus. Use the SHOW ON MAP feature and you will find many acceptable hotels in the Southpoint area at the intersection of SR-202/I-95. These hotels are convenient and reliable.
Please note that the closest hotels to campus in the Emerson Blvd/Phillips Hwy area are transient hotels and we DO NOT recommend you stay in those hotels (ex: Magnuson Inn, Scottish Inn, Emerson Inn).
It is also a good idea to read the current hotel reviews on a site such as Trip Advisor and not just rely on price. Do your research. If you have any questions about an airbnb/VRBO, hotel or area of town you are considering, please feel free to contact Sandy Dinkins, Director of Student Services, by email or 800-282-2977 for assistance.
Host Home Program
IWS offers a limited Host Home Program for those students who would not be able to attend IWS without housing assistance. Placement in a host home is not guaranteed. Members of local churches have offered to host students in their home for no charge, providing a “home away from home” while you are here. However we currently have fewer host homes available due to the pandemic. Please note that the host home program is for the enrolled student only. We are unable to provide housing for spouses (unless also enrolled), children or friends. Home stays are filled on a first come first served basis and fill up quickly. While the deadline to complete a host home request form is November 15, all available homes may already be filled by that date. If you want to try to secure a home, request early! Homes may be within walking distance of campus or a considerable distance (15+ miles) from campus. You are responsible for securing your own transportation between campus and your host home each day. If you are not bringing a car that means you must rent a car, make arrangements with classmates to ride share, or use Uber, Lyft or a taxi. Public transportation (local bus) is not an efficient way to get around Jacksonville. There is not light rail service that serves campus. Host families do not provide transportation (please see the Transportation section).
If you are a returning student who has previously stayed with a host family, please do not make your own arrangements with the family for future stays. Always complete the online housing request form to have the arrangements made through the IWS office. We have had instances where the host had the incorrect dates, realized this at the last minute and we had to find new homes for the students. If you had a conversation with a host who indicated they would love to have you back with them, please make a specific noteof that in the comment section of the request form.
Note that we will try to accommodate special circumstances as we are able. However, please realize that if you have specific allergies or are not comfortable around pets, we may not be able to accommodate you with a host family; a hotel or Airbnb/VRBO may be a more suitable option for you.
Guidelines for Students Staying in a Host Home
Acceptance of Host Home Stay
You will receive a notification from the IWS office with the name, address and contact information of the host family to which you have been placed. You should immediately accept or decline the home placement by reply email to the IWS office.
Introduction to Host Family
Once you have received the contact information for your host family from the IWS office, please promptly contact your host by email or phone with a brief introduction. This can include your name, where you’re from, your ministry context and other information you wish to share. As the session draws near, you will also want to contact them again to advise them of your specific arrival in Jacksonville and what time you anticipate arriving at their home.
Please carefully read the Transportation information provided above. Transportation to and from campus is solely the responsibility of the student. Please do not ask your host to provide you with transportation to or from the airport, campus or around town. If they offer you transportation you may accept the ride but please do not expect it. Ride share requests and offers may be posted in the IWS Facebook Group.
Host families have graciously offered to provide you with a private room and a nearby bathroom for your stay. Remember always that you are guest in their home. Please keep your room neat and the bathroom clean. You may be sharing the bathroom with others so be conscious of your time and belongings in the common bathroom. At the end of the week, please make sure your room is at least as neat as when you arrived.
Duration of Stay
Host families have generously offered their homes for eight days. We feel tremendously blessed by their hospitality! We in turn want to be mindful of our host families and their life situations.
Also, we understand that many flights require you to arrive very late at night or leave very early in the morning. Please be mindful that our airport shuttle volunteers, IWS Staff, and host families have work or other obligations that may make it less than ideal for you to arrive to a host’s home after 11pm or be taken to the airport at 4am.
Please consider these 2 scenarios: a 10:45pm flight arrival (that is on-time) then means 20+ minutes to retrieve baggage and another 30+ minutes travel time to your host home. That would have you arriving no earlier than 11:30pm with your volunteer or staff driver not getting home until after midnight. A 6am flight out requires a volunteer or staff member to wake by 3:30am to pick you up by 4:30 to deliver you to the airport by 5am for your 6am flight. They then have a full work day ahead.
Thank you for your understanding with these guidelines. We do not want to unduly burden our volunteers, staff or host families.
Since most of your meals are provided on campus, hosts are not required to provide any meals for you. You may certainly accept an invitation for a meal if it is offered and you may ask them if you may bring in a few light snacks that you may need. Please do not help yourself to food in their home unless they specifically invite you to do so. For meals that are not provided on campus (Saturday night and all day Sunday), please make meal arrangements on your own or with classmates.
Please do not invite your classmates over to your host home. If your host tells you to feel free to have a few classmates over you may certainly do so. DO NOT expect your host family to provide food and drinks to you and your classmates while they are there. If there will be food involved during the visit, please ask your hosts if they mind if you bring in food for everyone. Please make sure you thoroughly clean up the area where your guests have been.
Future Home Stays
Always arrange for your home stay by completing the New Housing Request Form each session. Even if you have stayed with a family previously, please do not contact them directly requesting housing for an upcoming session. If your previous host invited you to return, complete the New Housing Request Form and leave a specific note in the comment section of the form.
NEVER contact your host family and ask if you can come for a vacation and bring your spouse or family! This would be considered inconsiderate and place the host family in an awkward position. Host homes are for the two sessions each year only, based on need and availability.
Remember that you are a guest in someone’s home while you are here and they are providing a huge blessing by opening their home to you. When you leave, a thank you note would be an appropriate and adequate gesture of appreciation.
Host Home Request Form
The Host Home Request Form is now filled out through Populi. Click here to be taken to the form.