BECOMING A HOST FAMILY
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 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.