Host family for foreign exchange students...?
I'm looking into opening my home to foreign exchange students. Anyone already have experience as a host family, or know of someone who does?
What is it like, what can I expect?
- FeistyLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
I've been hosting for 15 years -- with 13 great experiences. Pretty good odds.
The first thing is to go with a reliable organization with a good local support system. I recommend YFU or AFS. Rotary is also good, but I don't know if you have to be in Rotary to host their students.
If your school is still open, contact your local high school. It may be too late to sign up for this year. Some schools have a spring deadline for incoming fall students. Also ask the counselors what organizations they recommend. The organizations are not through the schools, but the counselors usually know who the local people are.
If you find out you can still host, call the local rep if one was recommended. If not, go to the websites (listed below) and fill out the application.
Generally speaking, anyone can host -- but if you are a single parent with no kids you may have to host a student of your gender. There are no financial requirements other than you can afford to feed and house the student. Exchange students come fully insured, to include medical, and are expected to pay all of their own school, sports and personal expenses.
What we generally say is if you go out to dinner and a movie as a family, you pay for the student. If he or she is going out with their friends, they pay. You should also make sure you celebrate their birthday and include them at Christmas (or other holidays).
Generally, a student with a reliable organization will have at least a passable command of English. You should treat them as a family member and NOT as a house guest. Your student should have chores like your other children and should be expected to follow the same (age appropriate) rules as your other children.
It's also helpful to find a few high school students to e-mail your student over the summer and help show him around when he arrives. Some "instant friends".
Exchange students are not allowed to drive, nor should they be encouraged to "exclusively" date. That's not to say they shouldn't HAVE dates -- they should. They should be encouraged to join a sports team and/or other extra curricular activities immediately as that's where they will make friends.
Finally, you should know that YOU do not get paid to host foreign exchange students, it's strictly volunteer. However, you can deduct $50 a month from your taxes as a charitable deduction.
Hope that's been helpful. It's a great experience -- and a good organization makes a lot of difference. Here are the two I spoke of earlier:Source(s): 15 years hosting/repping exchange students