Hosting a foreign exchange student?

I'm really considering hosting a foreign exchange student, so if anyone has any information on it I'd really appreciate to hear it.

How long can the person stay at your house? I know they can stay for an entire school year, but are there shorter time periods?

Have you ever hosted a foreign exchange student? If so, I'd LOVE your experience. In great detail! :-D

And do they send you a picture of who you're getting ahead of time to help find them at the airport and stuff?

I can't think of any more questions now.....but all answers will be appreciated!

4 Answers

  • Feisty
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    I've hosted for 14 years now. My first time as an arrival family and then 13 full time students. It's a wonderful experience. Will I tell you everything will go perfectly, no. You are dealing with teenagers! But I'll tell you that out of the 14, there's only one I would not take back in a heartbeat!

    The way to begin is to contact your local high school. Not all programs operate in all schools - and many schools have strict guidelines on the number of exchange students they will accept each year. Have the counselor put you in touch with one of the representatives they work with. That will save you a lot of grief in the long run!

    If your school does not already have students, I recommend that you contact one of the three premier organizations -- YFU, AFS or Rotary Exchange. I'm not sure if you have to be affiliated with Rotary to host with them or not.

    Whichever method you've used, the next step is to fill out an application. You'll be asked lots of things about how your household works and what you expect from your kids (if you have them) and what you'd expect from your exchange student. You'll then have a background check and reference check plus a person from the organization will come out and meet with you. That's a great opportunity for you to learn a lot as well! You might even consider going through this process with two organizations and then selecting the representative you feel most comfortable with. As a prospective host family, you're in the driver's seat.

    Once you have been selected, you will get information on your student. I recommend getting a student as early in the placement cycle as possible! That can be as early as February or March for the next school year! That will not only get you a place in the school, but give you an opportunity to get to know your new son or daughter. Also, the exchange program might invite you to a few activities to learn more about hosting. You should exchange letters, e-mails and phone calls with your student -- I "talked" to mine nearly every day for five months before he arrived on MSN or Skype.

    Your student (if a fall semester or year student) will arrive in August. Some organizations have you meet them directly at the airport, others will have an orientation for all the students together and you pick the kids up there. Both are actually good methods.

    The trick to a good hosting experience is to treat the student like a member of your family. The are NOT a guest. You should go to their ball games, school open houses, expect their friends to be in your house and your kid to be at their friends. Apply rules and assign chores just as you would teens of your own and be ready to help with some homework!

    Financially you are responsible for your student's room and board. They come with their own spending money and are fully insured. You should also make sure you treat them nicely for their birthday and definitely make sure there is something under the Christmas tree for them. Students are not allowed to drive here, so you will need to handle some transportation issues.

    Finally, you can host as an "arrival" family, which is just until a permanent family is found (sometimes that's YOU!), a semester or a year. I really recommend a year student for the best experience!

    I could type REAMS more, but instead I'll refer you over to Exchange Student World -- an online forum and resource center. You can learn a lot about exchange students there. Also, I've included the addresses of the three organizations I told you about.

    Good luck and happy hosting!

    Source(s): 14 years hosting/repping exchange students
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hosting is fantastic! I can speak to this as a former exchange student, a former host and someone who works with exchange students professionally. First off, hosting is an ideal way to share your world and culture with another individual, and the host family truly makes or breaks the experience. As a student, I had one bad experience, and then a second family who made my year! We still exchange Christmas cards, and without them, I don't think I would have enjoyed myself as much. I'd be happy to talk about actual hosting in a private message, though I bring the perspective of a host sister, not host parent :D

    Typically, yes, students do a full year program, either from August/September to May/June or January to December (this is mostly Australian and Kiwi students). There are fewer of them, but there is a decent subset who do half years, from either August/September to December or January to May/June. More full year students need homes (just because there are more of them), but hosting a half year student can be a great way to get your feet wet.

    You would work with a local coordinator, who will listen to the types of students you're interested in (country, language, gender, interests), and then present you with several student applications from which to choose. The application will include a photo, family details, interests/activities, academic records, an interview evaluation and with my organization, a letter to the host family. Your local coordinator will arrange all the details once you select your student, including enrolling them in school (though you are free to do that, especially if you have a pre-existing relationship with your high school), and give you details on airport arrival, etc. And what's great now that wasn't around when I hosted is, of course, the internet! Many families start exchanging emails with their exchange student from the moment they get their match :D

    I'm happy to talk to you about anything else, and if you're raring to go, I can send you an application! EF is the largest private exchange organization in the US, and are 100% compliant with CSIET and the State Department -- the two top regulators of foreign exchange. Our students come from over 40 countries, particularly from Germany. All our students are academically strong and pass strict admissions standards, including a language requirement. If you put in an inquiry on the website (, someone will call you.

    (sorry for the information dump, but finding great host families is so exciting and rare!)

    Source(s): personal and professional experience
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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    it could work out, but in a lot of cases getting a foreign exchange student the same age as you is not a good idea. They could get along better with your friend and leave you out or vice versa. However, it could be a good experience to learn a lot about a country and make a new friend. If you guys feel up to it, then I would say give it a try!

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  • 1 decade ago

    It really will depend upon the program.

    I was an exchange student from the USA to Argentina when I was in high school. The student exchange program I used was the Rotary Club International (which is very well reputed and highly affordable, by the way).

    Basically, the Rotary Club charged little to no fees. My family hosted an exchange student, then later I got to go to Argentina to be an exchange student. The exchanges took place during summer vacations. In Argentina, summer vacation was December-February, so that's when we hosted the student. In the USA summer vacation was June-August, so that's when I went to Argentina.

    As far as knowing who we were, well, it's fairly easy. First of all, we e-mailed pictures, which is helpful. When I arrived in Argentina, even though I wasn't going to stay with the family of the same student who we'd hosted, she nevertheless came to the airport in Buenos Aires to greet me and help me get acquainted with my new family. Plus, the Rotary Club makes its exchange students all wear navy blue blazers with Rotary Club patches on them when we arrive at the airport, so our host families can find us better.

    Overall, it was a wonderful experience--both hosting an exchange student, and being one. I wish you the best with the experience.

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