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Foreign Exchange Programs: 10 Common Questions

Becoming a foreign exchange host family is a major decision, and you might have a few questions along the way. Here are the 10 most common questions about the foreign exchange program.

1. How long will the student be in our home?

While it ranges, typically students will live with you for one full academic year.

2. How much is this going to cost?

You would be required to pay for food and transportation, but the travel and program fees would be covered by the program. Also, students are encouraged to bring money for social outings, clothing, and other expenses.

3. Do I become the student’s legal guardian?

No. Their parents would still serve as guardians, while the foreign exchange program would take on any legal responsibility that may be needed.

4. In order to host, do I need to send my son/daughter to another country?

Not at all, though your biological children are able to apply for foreign exchange programs, if they so choose.

5. Do I need to speak the student’s native language?

No, in order to enter a foreign exchange program, students must be able to know enough of the local language to be able to function in a classroom.

6. Will I be compensated?

Payments are not made to host families. However, they do receive tax deductions for their time with the student.

7. What does a host family look like?

Host families are as diverse and complex as the students they will be mentoring. There is no mold of what a typical host family would look like.

8. Do I get to choose the student?

In most programs, you get to select from a group of students who have been matched to your family’s specific structure and needs.

9. What if it doesn’t work out?

You will maintain contact with program coordinators who will do everything they can to accommodate you, particularly if any problems should occur. Make sure to give them full disclosure about your satisfaction with the program.

10. How will my family benefit?

You will broaden your horizons, experience the a different culture, and make a lifelong addition to your family. Hosting is an extraordinarily rewarding experience.

Last Updated: July 13, 2017