Host Families

Do you have an interest in learning about other cultures, meeting new people, and sharing your life and home with a study-abroad student? Becoming a host family with AmeriStudent, provides you the opportunity to help a high school student as they study abroad at one of our partner schools. AmeriStudent host families often say that through the hosting experience they gain a new cultural perspective and develop a lasting relationship with their student.

Many international students are interested in studying abroad in California, and are eager to connect with caring homestay families that will help them improve their English language skills, teach them about American culture, and help them adjust to living in a new country. In fact, over the course of the homestay, many students go from being welcomed guests to cherished members of the family. Hosting a student is a unique and rewarding experience for both the international student and the family!

Our goal at AmeriStudent is to connect
international students with warm and
welcoming families. We are looking for families who are truly wanting to experience the culture of a student from another country, and are willing to take in students and treat them like their own. Through an extensive
matching process, we strive to find a good fit
between our students and host families. If
you can provide a student with three meals a
day, a private bedroom, transportation to
and from school and are wanting to invest in a
high school student, then applying to be a
host family may be the opportunity you’ve
been looking for! We are always looking for
individuals and families who want to join us in
providing the safest and most hospitable
homestays in the industry.

Our heart behind matching host families, is to
help both students and families have a
fantastic experience. To ensure our program
is a success, we maintain quality assurance
by keeping up with CSIET standards, offering
monthly reports, ongoing support, and to
provide host families with a generous
monthly stipend. AmeriStudent also
provides families and international students
with an orientation process to cover common
cultural differences, rules, and expectations of
living abroad with a host family. With staff
throughout California and in other parts of the
country, we can guarantee a local contact to
support you every step of the way.

Become A Host Family

How It Works

What’s the process of becoming a host family with AmeriStudent?

 

Application:

The first step is to fill out our host family application. The application only takes about 15 minutes to complete, but provides us with a good glimpse of your home and family. We ask for contact information, a list of who lives in the home, some basic details about your home, and the clearest photos you can provide of your family and of a few individual rooms in your house. AmeriStudent uses a unique technological platform in which we upload the photos and parts of the information you provide to a “family profile” accessed by special link. These profiles allow students from around the world to catch a glimpse of their potential host families and are a great tool in creating the best match for the student and the family. All personal details about your family will remain confidential.

Initial Background Check:

This is only a preliminary background check to make sure nothing major pops up.

In-Home Interview:

Next, one of our AmeriStudent staff will conduct a home visit to meet you in person and to make sure there are no discrepancies between what you’ve provided and what they observe on their visit. To ensure that the inspection goes smoothly, and if at all possible, we will ask that all family members be home for the visit. The AmeriStudent representative will want to meet everyone in person and ask a few questions to each family member. When it comes to scheduling a visit, we will coordinate with you so that the visit does not get in the way of work or other important obligations. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask us any questions you have and to hear a bit more about what to expect.

Matching:

The family’s profile is finalized and we begin connecting the hosts with international students who we think would be most compatible from across the globe.

In Depth Background Check:

At this stage in the process we now conduct a thorough background check on each adult family member for criminal activity or other misconduct. We may use more than one resource to check the backgrounds of our potential host families. We will always ask permission before we do the checks, but they are mandatory. The safety of our students is a number one priority!

Agreement:

This contract will go over, in detail, all that is expected of host families. It is important that the contract is read carefully before being signed.

Placement:

Once a match has been made we work on the final details regarding placement. Typically, students arrive during Fall or Spring depending on when they start school. We will give you time to prepare for their arrival and help you through the process.

Post-Placement Support:

Once confirmed, you will be required to participate in an orientation before the student’s arrival. Our orientations are designed to help our host families best prepare for a positive host family experience. You will receive some training, which will equip you by describing what to expect, how to deal with conflict when it arises, and how you can make the most of your hosting experience. Even after the training is done, AmeriStudent staff is available 24/7 throughout the school year to help you and to mediate any issues that arise. We are committed to supporting you from the moment your student arrives to the moment they leave your home to head back to their native country!

FAQ’s

 

Q

What is AmeriStudent?

A

AmeriStudent provides full-service educational placements and homestays for international clients wishing to study abroad in the United States. In our pursuit to offer our students an ideal learning environment and the best homestay experience, we are continually seeking out quality host families to provide a stable, friendly, and accommodating home. As an AmeriStudent host family, you will feel fully supported and equipped to host your student, with detailed orientations, training, regular communication with AmeriStudent staff, and 24/7 support. Our desire is that the experience of hosting will be just as enriching and fulfilling for you as it is for our students. Find out more in our About Us section.

Q

Will there be a system of background checks?

A

Yes. Safety for our students is our number one priority. Any family member over age 18 must pass a background check as we want to ensure that all our host homes provide a safe place for each of our students to live and thrive.

Q

Would I make a great host?

A

Do you have a warm and inviting family? Is your home clean, organized, and comfortable? Do you enjoy bringing new people into your home? Would you make a concerted effort to make someone from a foreign country feel more at ease? If you answered yes to any, or all, of those questions, you would make a perfect host. We invite families from all walks of life to try their hand at hosting international students. We want our pool of host families platform to include a wide spectrum of families – families with different religious beliefs, races, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We don’t want to exclude any families who believe they can be amazing hosts.

Q

Will I receive a stipend for hosting?

A

We know that overhead costs and maintenance expenses can rise as a result of introducing a new temporary member to your family. For this reason, we provide an agreed upon monthly stipend to cover these expenditures. You will receive your stipend in a timely manner and the remuneration will be prorated accordingly if the student arrives on an irregular date during the first month of his or her stay. By speaking with one of our representatives, the stipend amount can be discussed in greater detail.

Q

How long do I host for?

A

Typically, you will host a student for a full academic school year, which is usually between nine and ten months. Of course, international students may return back home for certain holidays or family events, and these breaks could last up to two weeks. For instance, students may return home to their families for Christmas, and there may also be a summer break, as well. Whatever the circumstances, we will provide you with more details before you agree to host a particular student.

Q

Will students have all their paperwork to legally study abroad?

A

Yes, all students will receive the necessary documentation to study abroad. More specifically, they will receive an F-1 student visa, which will allow them to visit the country while they are studying. Students will also receive a Form I-20, which is otherwise known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status-For Academic and Language Students. This form will have more details about the school where they are studying and how long they plan on staying in the country. A student will need this information to legally live and study in this country ­– and you will need it to legally host the student.

Q

What is the role of a host family?

A

The host family plays a unique and vital role in the international student experience. While providing a safe environment for students to live in, host families provide more than just a room and board experience. Host families provide support for an international student while they are away from home and often help to bridge the cultural gap that students experience. At the same time, host families need to understand that their role is not to replace the student’s natural family. Students in this day and age stay closely connected with their family and friends in their home country – often on a daily basis. The host family needs to respect the student’s culture and native family while also helping the student to adjust to the home and culture they are currently living in.

Q

Are there rules for the student?

A

When your student first arrives, you should go over any rules that you have in your home. For instance, if you don’t allow shoes inside, you need to be clear about this. If you want music off at a certain hour, you need to be very straightforward. Of course, the student you host should be courteous, respectful, and willing to take part in basic household chores. This would include the student keeping his or her room clean and tidy. The student should also try to get into the routine of your family’s daily life. If you are trying to save energy and water, your study abroad student should be mindful of this fact. Also, the student should hold on to house keys and be mindful of not inconveniencing anybody to open the door at odd hours. The same goes for transportation – transportation requests should be reasonable. And it goes without saying that alcohol, tobacco, and drug use are forbidden. In addition to the host family’s personal household rules, AmeriStudent has rules and guidelines in which the student is expected to follow.

Q

Will the student have insurance?

A

In our continued effort to make host families feel more secure and to protect students traveling abroad, we make sure that students have all the proper medical and accident insurance coverage. As a host family, you will receive all the insurance information that you need when a student arrives. This information will provide detailed information about the coverage so that there are absolutely no questions or concerns.

Q

Will the student have money for personal expenses?

A

When it comes to accommodating an international student, we don’t expect host families to spend money on things apart from the basics. This is why students are encouraged to arrive with their own spending money – either in the form of cash or on a prepaid debit card. Anything that falls outside the scope of academic expenditures, like entertainment and clothing, will require the student’s own spending capital – not yours.

Q

Can I host more than one student at once?

A

We generally discourage hosts from housing more than one student at a time as it is a big enough adjustment adding just one new family member to your life. Occasionally, some of our host families will host more than one student but it is an exception, not the rule. If you realistically feel you can handle more than one student, you can discuss your options with your AmeriStudent representative.

Q

Will I have to pay additional taxes for hosting?

A

Families will be issued a 1099 at the end of each tax year. Families should keep a close record of any expenditures for hosting and give it to their tax advisor.

Q

What are the guidelines regarding transportation?

A

Host families are responsible for school related transportation. Students need to be dropped off and picked up from school each school day. Host families are also responsible to provide transportation if the student needs to stay late or arrive early for sports or activities. There are a number of options when it comes to transportation. However, as a host, it is your responsibility to see to it that your international student gets to school on time – even if that means driving them. If you have another family member with a legal driver’s license, that person can also be designated as a driver. Some schools and academic institutions have a bus or shuttle system, which is another reasonable and effective means for transportation. And if your home is close to the school, your international student can walk or take a bike. However, you want to verify that the route is safe and that they know how to read various street signs and warnings.

Q

Can International students drive their own car or vehicle?

A

It is difficult for international students to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle. Of course, without a license, an international student is forbidden to drive. Not only can the student get in trouble, but you can too if the student drives your vehicle. If a student is over 18, students can take a driving course with an instructor and obtain a license. To prevent complications though, students should check with their Ameristudent representative before obtaining a license and operating a motor vehicle.

Q

When will my international student arrive?

A

Students typically arrive in August if the student is studying for a full school year. They typically start classes soon after, so giving the student a week or two to adjust is recommended. Students may also arrive in January if they are placed for a start in the spring semester. In any case, host families will receive detailed flight and arrival information as it becomes available. We don’t want our host families to feel rushed when it comes to preparing their homes for a student’s arrival, so all information will be detailed well in advance – not at the last minute.

Q

Will I have legal guardianship of the student?

A

The student’s birth family is considered their legal guardian. While in the United States, Ameristudent will act as temporary guardian in all matters regarding student’s education, safety and medical emergencies.

Q

Is there legal documentation between AmeriStudent and the host family?

A

On top of signing a custody agreement, there will also be a formal document to sign between AmeriStudent and the host family. This document will go over all the guidelines pertaining to the responsibilities of host families, and it must be signed and dated by someone that is over the age of 18 – typically the head of the household or the homeowner. With this agreement, we want to ensure that the host family is protected and knows exactly what AmeriStudent requires.

Q

Will someone visit my home?

A

Yes, as part of our process to ensure the safety and comfort of our students, one of our local reps will visit your home after you submit your online application. This is our opportunity to get to know your family and to answer any questions you may have. After the student arrives, we will periodically visit to speak briefly with both you and your student.

Q

Will AmeriStudent stay in contact with the host families?

A

We make it as convenient as possible for our host families to contact an AmeriStudent representative. AmeriStudent representatives will have regular contact with both the host and the student to make sure everything is going well for both parties. It is important to us that both the host family and their student are happy and comfortable in their arrangements. Regardless of whether an issue is big or small, we encourage host families to contact us with any inquiries they might have. Open communication is the key to an enjoyable and positive experience for both the host families and international students.

Q

Will there ever be a time that I cannot reach a representative?

A

No! Emergencies and other last minute situations are unavoidable. In the case of a true emergency, the host will need to immediately call 911. If the issue is not life threatening, but there is a concern that needs to be promptly addressed, we will have representatives available after hours. Host families are encouraged to reach out to their representatives when difficult situations arise.

Q

What happens if the student has academic or behavioral issues?

A

AmeriStudent has stringent policies and protocols in place to ensure that academic and behavioral expectations are clearly defined. All students are required to sign a detailed contract that covers behavioral and academic expectations. If hosts experience a problem with academic or behavioral issues, they will be asked to contact their local AmeriStudent representative to make an official report. Our first priority is for our trained Ameristudent representative to meet with the student and host family to clarify any issues or disagreements as soon as they arise. The local representative will work together with the host family to clear up any misunderstandings and to define any changes in behavior that need to occur. AmeriStudent will work with the host family and the student to try and come up with a successful conclusion to the conflict, but AmeriStudent will not hesitate to send students home if they do not heed warnings, and/or an incorrigible situation arises.

Q

What if political and religious beliefs are different?

A

Ameristudent host families and students both have their own political and religious beliefs. Host families and students are expected to show respect towards each other and should not try to change a person’s beliefs. Of course, students and host families are welcome to exchange and talk openly to share their beliefs with one another. If a host family attends religious services regularly, they are welcome to invite the student to attend with their family. The student may enjoy learning and experiencing attending a church service with their host family. Some students will want to attend regularly with their host family, but some students may choose not to attend regularly. The student’s choices should be respected and students should not be forced to attend religious services. Some schools may require church or religious service attendance. If this is the case, the host family should help the student to attend a church or church activity which meets the school’s requirements and where the student feels comfortable.

Q

What if it is just not working out with a student I am hosting?

A

Our hope at AmeriStudent is that the student and the host family have an enjoyable experience. The reality is, however, that some placements may not work. When a conflict occurs, AmeriStudent will make every effort to mediate and offer counseling to the offended parties. If mediation does not work, AmeriStudent will remove the student from the home. A student can only be moved to a host family approved by AmeriStudent.

Q

What happens if our family has to go out of town?

A

There is a good chance that the host family will leave town at some point during the year. If this is the case, it is recommended that the hosts bring their international student with them on the trip. If they choose to do this they will need to receive a signed permission letter from the student’s family. A host family member over the age of 25 may stay with the student if AmeriStudent has vetted that person. If an emergency arises host families should feel free to call their AmeriStudent representative for help solving the problem.

Q

What should I do if an international student has certain dietary needs?

A

International students may have completely different dietary needs than the host family. This will be disclosed before a family decides on having that student stay in their home. While this may present some initial adjustments, it is also part of the fun of introducing someone from another country and culture into a host home. Host families should encourage their student to try whatever the family is eating, as well as being flexible and open to making or buying foods requested by the student. In addition, your student may be a vegetarian or vegan or allergic to certain foods, so you may have to further customize your meal planning.

Q

Is there anything else I should know?

A

Although it is not required, hosts may want to take a safety-training course and obtain first aid certification. In addition, host parents may want to research cultural sensitivity training and learn how to be more welcoming to students from foreign countries. AmeriStudent will provide each host family with information that will help them make the cultural adjustments needed, but host families may want to learn the customs of the country from which their student is coming, and study the cultural heritage, history, and language of their student’s homeland. Family members may also want to learn a few phrases in your student’s language. We recommend that host families predominantly speak English. International students will want to improve their English language skills while living with their host families.

Q

What is the next step?

A

If you still have questions, we’d love to hear from you! Click on the contact section of our website to speak with an AmeriStudent representative. If everything sounds great and you’d like to proceed, please click here to fill out our host application.

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Become A Host Family

Before applying to be a host family please make sure to have at least the following pictures available:

Become A Host Family

These photos are what the potential student will see. We encourage you to take good photos in good lighting. We also encourage you to make sure the rooms are picked up and clean. The application process should only take 10-15 minutes.

Apply