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What are the requirements to meet to be a host family for international students?

I know that there are international students that come to universities in usa to take English courses for the summer or even to study all along the school year and I was wondering if I can host one of them at my home. We’re a family with two kids and we have one guestroom. We’d be delighted to host an exchange student to show them our city and help them with their language acquisition. And I’d like my kids to get in touch with other cultures.

Ashley Howard

in Study Abroad

1 answer

1 answer

Ralph Lopez on May 14, 2018

The main characteristic of the time we live in is the fast technology development, especially the development of the information technology that has allowed us to improve communication worldwide. Getting information about educational institutions nowadays is easier than ever and, hence, students from all over the world can learn about the history of any educational center they may be interested in, read reviews about it and contact it to ask for more details or start their registration process.

Many students search for information related to universities in the United States, to study the English language for a few months or take regular college courses for a longer period of time. Study abroad programs usually offer different housing choices, such as private apartments or shared bedrooms on university campuses. But exchange students can be hosted by host families too. And it is a great opportunity both for the student and their host family since they can have a friendly approach to each other’s culture.

Many scholarships for international students are sought in the USA and in Canada. Most of those students have often at least a basic knowledge of the English language, which can ease your communication with them.

If you want to participate as a volunteer host family with an organization such as CIEE, with programs to study in USA for an international student, you will be asked to be at least 25 years old and provide a home for one or two high school semesters, family support, a bedroom and a bed (it is possible for students to share room with children of the same gender within four years of their age), an appropriate place to study, meals at home and at school and assistance in coordinating appropriate transportation (

I recommend to ask for information about each specific program since some of them can ask for less or more requirements. You can offer to host students who choose short programs of only one month or a couple of months or students who want a longer stay.

Some colleges and universities propose financial aid for international students to attract students from all over the world and encourage a multicultural environment within their campus and some educational institutions offer undergraduate scholarships for international students. Although the number of granted aids and scholarships is limited, many international students come to study in American universities and wish to be hosted by a family. 

Cynthia Bakera year ago

I hosted an exchange student a few years ago and it was a marvelous experience that I’ll always remember. It was like studying abroad without having to leave home. He chose one of the shorter programs to study English in the summertime. We showed him our city and its surroundings and he went to visit other cities in excursions organized by his college. He already spoke good English and he shared with us a lot about his country and his life there. We haven’t housed another student since we had a baby but when our child grows up, we’ll love to repeat the experience.

To make it a really unforgettable experience, I recommend to other host families to organize their own fun cultural activities at home: kitchen nights to prepare traditional dishes from each country together or entertainment time to watch movies or listen to music from the student’s country. 

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