A full-time language pledge is quite serious, and therefore quite challenging. Full-time means always in effect, even during excursions and free time. Of course, exceptions are permitted, as in the event of an emergency. And you may contact your parents using English—provided that you do so out of earshot of other program participants and local roommates. You will receive specific information about what does and does not constitute a pledge violation during your on-site orientation.
Because the pledge is so challenging, adhering to it can make all the difference in the level of improvement you see in your language skills. Time and time again, alumni tell us that the pledge is daunting at first, but gradually becomes more manageable over the course of the semester. And by the end of the term, those who take the pledge seriously are rewarded with huge gains in their speaking skills.