Who can apply to become a Host Family?

Host Families come in all shapes and sizes. Families with teen or young children, empty-nesters, single parents, same-sex couples, and everyone in between can apply to become a Host Family! To vet Host Families, the U.S. Department of State and STS Foundation have put in place certain requirements such as having a suitable and stable household and passing a criminal background check.

What will be required if I become a Host Family?

Host Families are required to provide room and board for their student(s) and to welcome them not as a guest but as a member of the family. As a Host Family, you should be ready to help your exchange student adapt to American culture, get registered at school, and participate in the local community.

Can I choose the exchange student I want to host?

Absolutely! We believe a successful exchange experience starts with helping our host families find a student that will be a good fit for their family. Whether you are looking for a student who shares the same interests as you or your children or want to learn more about a specific part of the world, we’ll help match the best exchange student for your family.

Can I host more than one exchange student?

Yes! You can host up to two exchange students as long as they come from different countries and don’t share a native language. We encourage all our families to consider hosting two students if they have the room. There are many benefits for students to share their exchange experience with another student and your family will have the opportunity to discover two cultures and languages.

Will I be compensated for hosting?

As a volunteer Host Family, you will not receive any monetary compensation for hosting an exchange student. To thank you for your commitment to international exchange, the U.S. tax code allows you to claim a $50 per month tax deduction as an American host family.

It is also helpful to know that STS Foundation exchange students come with their own pocket money to cover any school-related expenses, clothing, trips, sports fees and social activities. Although you welcome an exchange student into your home and family, your exchange student is still financially supported every month by their natural parents.

How will hosting impact me financially?

To keep the financial impact of hosting minimal, we believe it is important to set clear expectations and boundaries. You can find all the answers to your financial questions related to hosting on our Financial FAQ page.

How long will my exchange student stay?

STS Foundation exchange students stay for one academic semester (5 months) or year (10 months). The majority of exchange students will arrive in the USA in August of each year, although a small number apply to come for the Spring semester only, starting in January of each year.

Are we supposed to show them America?

Exchange students are excited to discover life and culture completely different from theirs. When we ask students at the end of their exchange what they enjoyed most, they always talk about the time spent at home with their Host Family, participating in the community, and attending high school. Becoming a Host Family is a great way to rediscover your local community through the eyes of an exchange student and share your slice of America! Exchange students who want to travel and see other parts of the U.S. will have the opportunity to take part in organized trips provided by a partner of STS Foundation.

What if we need help or it doesn’t work out?

An STS Foundation Local Coordinator will be there to support you and your student during your time together. They will start by guiding you through the application process, and help you find the best student for your family. Your Local Coordinator will also conduct orientations for you and your student and will maintain monthly contact throughout your entire hosting experience.

We are committed to our Host Families and exchange students having the best possible time together during their exchange year. Should any problem arise, your Local Coordinator, Regional Coordinator or full-time STS Foundation staff member will always be available to help.

What if my student is ill or has an accident?

All STS Foundation exchange students come with their own medical insurance covering accidents and illnesses. They are provided with their insurance card and claim procedure prior to arriving with your family.

How do I apply to become a Host Family?

Fill out a quick form to let us know you are interested and one of our team members will get in touch to answer your questions and get you started with an application. Click here to let us know you’re interested in becoming a host family.


Who can become a Local Coordinator?

Our ideal candidate is an individual with a passion for youth, a desire to make a difference in their community, and someone who is enthusiastic about working with people and building strong relationships. Someone with experience in cultural exchange and working with youth is a definite plus but not required.

You must be at least 25 years of age and pass a criminal background check to become a Local Coordinator.

Do you offer compensation?

You will receive a minimum of $1,050 for each academic year student you place and supervise, broken down as follows: $250 when a placement with a host family is complete, $100 when the student arrives, and $70 for each month of supervision. In addition to this compensation, you can earn your place on our annual international incentive trip when you place 7 students.

What is the time requirement for this role?

You are in control of your own schedule and how much time you would like to dedicate to your role as a Local Coordinator. The more students you aim to place in your community, the more time you will choose to dedicate to finding host families and providing support during the year. This is a great opportunity if you are looking to add something meaningful to your life and earn supplemental income while doing it.

Do you provide training and support?

The entire team at STS Foundation is dedicated to helping our Local Coordinators be successful in their roles. Your Regional Director and the rest of the team are always available to provide you with guidance and support. You will also have access to weekly online training webinars which you can join when available, 1-on-1 training with your Regional Director, and 24/7 access to all the resources you need to successfully recruit host families and support exchange students.

How do I apply to become a Local Coordinator?

Fill out a quick form to let us know you are interested in becoming a Local Coordinator and one of our team members will get in touch to answer your questions and get you started with an application. Click here to let us know you’re interested in joining the team.


How do I know if my school can accept exchange students?

STS Foundation works with all types of accredited schools all across the country to help them welcome exchange students. Whether your school is public, small or large, we would be happy to share more about how your school can accept STS Foundation exchange students.

All STS Foundation exchange students are screened for acceptance into the program and meet the following requirements:

  • Are between the ages 15 and 18.5 upon arrival
  • Have recommendations from teachers and community members stating their appropriateness for a study abroad exchange year
  • Have been screened and interviewed by an STS Foundation partner team member
  • Have a ‘C’ or higher average in the last 3 years of school
  • Scored 675 or higher on the ELTIs 2.0 English profiency test
  • Recieved a full medical examination including all required immunizations
  • Participated in a Pre-Departure Orientation in their home country

Is my school responsible for providing visa documents for these students?

STS Foundation exchange students come to the United States on a J-1 visa sponsored by STS Foundation, a fully accredited and designated exchange organization. Your school is not responsible for providing any visa documentation for our exchange students.

How are exchange students different from international students?

The fundamental difference is that exchange students come to the United States on a cultural visa and through an exchange organization designated by the U.S. Department of State. Exchange students come to experience life in the U.S. for one academic year or semester before returning to their home country. These students travel under a J-1 visa and are under the responsibility of the exchange organization sponsoring their visa. The exchange organization is also responsible for recruiting and screening the host families, and for providing support during the exchange year.

International students travel to the United States on an F-1 visa under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Schools are responsible for International students and must be certified within the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) in order to sponsor international students and issue the I-20 form needed to obtain the F-1 visa. Students on this type of visa can only attend one year of public high school education but can transfer out of a public school to continue their education in the U.S. at a private institution.

What are the school requirements for exchange students?

Exchange students are required to be enrolled in a local high school for the full duration of their program. There are no requirements regarding the classes that exchange students enroll in, however, they must have a full course load and are encouraged to take an English course and at least one semester of American History and/or U.S. Government as part of their cultural learning. Some students will have the opportunity to receive convalidation for their high school year in the USA and STS Foundation will provide assistance.

Exchange students enrolled in their senior year are not guaranteed a diploma and it is the individual school’s discretion whether they can participate in graduation activities.

What support does STS Foundation provide to the schools, students, and host families?

STS Foundation provides multi-layered support starting with the Local Coordinator. A Local Coordinator supports the exchange student, the host family, and the local public school throughout the exchange semester or year. Local Coordinators are supported by a Regional Director and an STS Foundation National Office.

Each month our Local Coordinators “check-in” with all participants and provides reporting through an online system. STS Foundation is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of our exchange students and provides 24/7 emergency assistance.

Do you have more questions?

Complete the form below and someone will contact you to answer your questions!


Would you like more information?

"*" indicates required fields