Hosting a foreign exchange student doesn't take anything fancy - just a warm, welcoming spirit and the love you'd give to your own family. For our exchange students, it’s the little things that make their year special.Benefits of Hosting a Student•Ability to share your family’s way of life with someone new.•Make new lifelong memories.•Invest deeply in the life of a student and help them to grow and thrive.•Build a strong friendship with your student and grow your personal network by having a new friend in a foreign country.What are the Requirements to Host a Foreign Exchange Student?Hosting a foreign exchange student is something almost any family can do. There is no traditional model of a host family, as they come in all different forms and backgrounds.The most important thing is that you are able to provide a clean and safe environment for a foreign exchange student to adapt and thrive in their new surroundings.Is My Family Ready to Host an International Student?It is important that all family members understand the potential changes involved with bringing an exchange student into the household. There may be modifications to the current family routine or schedule, which may require flexibility from everyone to accommodate the new addition, such as:•After school activities/classes.•Transport to and from school.•Changes to housework.•Day trips/excursions.•Extra person in the morning (wake up, breakfast, bathroom use). Tips for an Exceptional Hosting ExperienceHere are some important tips with you to help your hosting experience be as smooth as possible.Hosting an international student can be broken down into three stages:Before Your Student Arrives•Have all your due diligence in place when it comes to paperwork, contracts and training. It can seem like a lot of work at times, but it is crucial to ensuring yours and your student’s safety.•Prepare your student’s room. A good practice is to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what kind of room you would like as a young person, traveling thousands of miles to come live in a new country. Aim to create a clean, inviting, and homey space for them.•Familiarize yourself with their school schedule and calendar. Students may be very overwhelmed at the beginning. You can help them understand what to expect and guide them along the way.When Your Student Arrives•Give your student a tour of the house. Make them feel at home by showing them more than their bedroom and the bathroom. They may be unfamiliar with how your appliances work and need help with small details, like where toilet paper or clean towels are.•Set your foreign exchange student rules and expectations. As with all young people, your student may not keep to all your rules perfectly. Setting expectations from the beginning helps and can be a conversation to re-visit in the future if required.•Encourage your student to speak. Helping your student speak English could help them feel more confident and involved, as they adapt to their new surroundings.•Be flexible with meals. Your student may need some time to adjust to different types of food. Be patient with them if needed, as they will be dealing with multiple cultural differences. It may take time at first for them to adjust to a new diet and the types of food your family eats.•Let them rest. You may be excited to take your student sightseeing to all your favorite places or introduce them to your friends. Try to take it easy in the beginning as they may be jet lagged and overwhelmed by all their new surroundings. Give them time to rest and get settled.Once Your Student has Settled in.•Stay engaged. Some students will be talkative and eager to join you and your family in whatever you do. Some students will be far less outgoing, so, do your best to stay involved in their school and home life, while still respecting their need for space. Keep inviting them to join your family outings, they may just need time to warm up to your family.•Recognize that cultural differences matter. Different cultures express things like disagreements or requests in different ways. Remember that there may be different communication styles in play.•Reach out if you need help. Stay connected with your student’s school, and help your student contact teachers or tutors if they need extra help.•Exercise patience and perseverance. No matter how great a student or a host family is, challenges are always likely to arise. When miscommunications arise you can help get through it by being patient, and continuing to work at the relationship so that things keep moving forward.
Are you ready to experience a new culture at home? Talk with us and start your hosting journey.Hosting an exchange student gives you the chance to learn about new cultures, create lasting friendships and bring the world into your home and community. And for the student you welcome into your family, you are providing a cultural immersion they’ll treasure forever.Becoming a host with our organization requires a few qualifications to be met.•A host must live within the boundary of the Worthington school district. •A background criminal check is required for all adult family members within the household to ensure that all our host families meet general safety standards and our students are safe during their stay in America.•It is strongly recommended to be a family with school age children, preferably of high school age. •The home environment needs to be neat and comfortable and provide a private room for the student, including a study area, transportation to and from school, daily meals and a laundry facility to use.•Expectations are that the student will become a member of the family dynamic and as such will participate in events and perform household chores as deemed necessary. Take note that there is no compensation of expenses, and the usual duration of hosting is 3-4 months.