|Hosting is a wonderful family experience and can be an enriching experience for the entire family that will last a lifetime. By opening your home and heart to a student from overseas, your family will gain a new global perspective, many memories, and – quite possibly – a new family member!
At Youth for Understanding, we think the best reason to host an exchange student is the global education that it provides your family.
Imagine welcoming a young person from Brazil, Japan, Germany, or one of over 50 countries into your home. When your family decides to “go global” by sharing your life with a student from abroad, everyday experiences take a new and exciting twist. American traditions gain deeper meaning as you introduce them to your new “son” or “daughter.” For example, a casual family chat about world events could reveal new perspectives you may never have considered or the dinner table could include exotic new dishes as your exchange student cooks up a taste of home for all to sample. Exchange students will broaden your entire family’s perspective on the world, providing a great education and that is lots of fun too!
Many families host for the educational value the experience brings to their own children. For young children, their new “big brother or sister” may be their first exposure to another language, different customs and new ways of thinking. These early experiences teach tolerance and can spark a lasting interest in world history, geography and language.
For teenagers, an exchange experience brings new perspectives to issues facing teens around the globe – making choices for the future, shaping a better world and having a great time!
American students need a global perspective to succeed. Exchange brings that perspective into your own home. Whether your teenager’s interests lie in history, economics, science or foreign language, the skills, insight and flexibility he or she will gain by having an exchange student in your home will help prepare him or her for life in our fast-changing, multicultural world.
If you don’t have children or your children are grown, you can still host an international student and have a great time doing it! Host families are as diverse as America itself. In fact, any two people related by blood or marriage can host. If yours is a non-traditional household interested in sharing your home with a young person from overseas, your application to host will be considered following special selection procedures. Even if everyone in your family is all grown up, don’t be surprised if your exchange experience teaches you a few things too! After all, there is no age limit for a global education.
What is Expected of Host Families?
Some people tell us that they’d love to host but think they’re too busy or are not the right type of family. In fact, host families come from all nationalities, occupations and religious backgrounds and live in cities, towns, and rural areas. What makes each exchange experience unique is that no family is like any other.
When you volunteer to host an exchange student, you agree to:
- Welcome your new son or daughter as a member of your family.
- Help your student adapt to your family and to U.S. life and culture.
- Provide a safe and loving home environment including a bed, a place to study and three meals a day.
- Attend orientation events, read the preparation materials and maintain regular contact with your local volunteer.
- Understand policies and encourage your student to adhere to those policies.
- Familiarize your student with your community and its resources.
All you need to host an international student is the ability and desire to open your home and heart to a new family member. You and your family have a lot to give. Invite an exchange student to become a part of your family and discover what you can gain!
Stipends are given to Host Families to assist with the cost of boarding an international student and American students whose families have hosted are eligible for a $500 scholarship to study abroad with YFU’s 13th year Abroad Program.