Hosting International Students

Benefits of Hosting an International Student

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Lifelong Friendships

AmeriStudent host families and students develop meaningful relationships that often last long after the student has left.

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Experience of a Lifetime

Inviting someone in to experience your family life and culture is a valuable opportunity to invest in a teenager and learn a new culture.

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Earn a Monthly Income

Host families are given a generous monthly stipend to offset living costs of the international student.

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24/7 Local Support

AmeriStudent local managers and staff are available for emergency situations and routine ongoing support.

Become A Host Family

Help us provide a safe and enriching cultural opportunity for students studying abroad.

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 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 a 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.

Closeup of application form being completed

Agreement:

When signing up to be an AmeriStudent host, you are asked to agree to AmeriStudent Policies.  These policies go over in detail, all that is expected of host families. It is important that all the policies are read carefully before agreeing.  You will always have access to our policies and agreements through your personal AmeriStudent account you create when signing up to be a host.

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Online Training

Through your personal AmeriStudent account, you will have access to our required online host family training which will equip you by describing what to expect as a host, how to deal with conflict when it arises, and how you can make the most of your hosting experience.

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.

Female host parent being interviewed

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.

Host family smiling together

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 will always ask permission before we do the checks, but they are mandatory. The safety of our students is a number one priority!

Closeup of document 'in-depth background check'

Placement:

Once a match has been made, clear placement details will be given to you to review.  We will give you time to prepare for your guest’s arrival and help you through the process.

Female international student smiling

Post-Placement Support:

Even after your guests arrival, AmeriStudent staff is available 24/7 throughout the placement to help you and to mediate any issues that arise. We are committed to supporting you from the moment your guest arrives to the moment they leave your home to head back to their native country!

AmeriStudent Support staff on the phone

FAQ's

Q

What is homestay?

A

Homestay is where a visiting guest (international student) stays in a properly managed hosted accommodation environment for a period of their study in a new country. A homestay allows an international student the opportunity to begin their stay in the USA, in a warm and welcoming American household, rather than in an impersonal apartment, dorm or hotel.

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

Why is AmeriStudent homestay my best choice for hosting?

A

AmeriStudent together with its partnered organizations is a globally recognized homestay provider for international students and guests. We are leaders in the industry as we provide a full-service approach to hosting. That means that we know exactly who is staying with you and what their background is. We provide support 24 hours a day in case there is a problem or emergency. We also handle billing and pay you directly, on time, via direct deposit. We give you training on cultural understanding and how to help guests and your family enjoy the hosting experience.

 

Our desire is that the experience of hosting will be just as enriching and fulfilling for you as it is for our guests. Find out more in our About Us section.

Q

Who can host and what is required?

A

Traditional families, non-traditional families, single people, roommates and friends living together – any person or group who is willing to share daily life with an international guest can be a host.  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.

As an AmeriStudent homestay host you must:

 

Make yourself and your home available to your guest. Our hosts must be able to provide a clean, comfortable and private bedroom for guests.

 

Hosts must speak clear and correct English in the home.

 

Help your guest settle into a comfortable and safe home and help them to learn. You will be willing to make them feel at home with conversation, support, inclusion in family activities and personal warmth. Ideally, you’ll have a sincere interest in other cultures and a desire to connect with new friends from around the world.

 

Provide healthy food for your guest if this is included in their service.

 

Show your guest around the community to assist the guest to become familiar with the local area and customs, while in a relaxed and friendly household setting.

 

Help your guest to access or organise important services e.g. setting up a bank account and mobile, and assist your guest to seek medical or dental attention as necessary.

 

Pass and maintain criminal background checks.

 

For full details and requirements, see our Host Family Code of Conduct and Host Agreement.

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 stipend to cover these expenditures.

 

All hosts receive direct deposit hosting stipends every 2 weeks. The amounts vary based on:

  • What meals and amenities you provide
  • Your location relative to the school
  • The cost of housing in your area
  • The age of the guest

We provide payments in a 2-week cycle because it means you get paid more frequently and always for the exact number of days you host. For a more in depth overview of payments please contact your local AmeriStudent office and they will be more than happy to assist you.

Q

Is the hosting stipend taxed?

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.

 

Please read our tax questions page to find out more.

Q

How do I apply and what is involved?

A

The initial online application is just a capture of basic personal and household information and it should take only about 10-15 minutes to submit it and get the process started. The full process is outlined below:

  • Complete the online application (10-15 minutes)
  • Submit quality photos of your home and family
  • Receive your welcome email
  • Complete your online profile / submit banking info for payment (you can wait until later in the process to submit banking info)
  • Take the online training and self-assessment (under 1 hour)
  • Schedule your home interview with your Local Manager
  • Submit and wait for background checks to come back
  • You are ready!

We do advise you to take your time crafting the profile to ensure we get the best guest matches possible, but there’s no urgency to get it done. You just need to finish it before we start matching you with guests.

Q

Will there be a background check?

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 guests to live and thrive.

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 guest arrives, we will periodically visit to speak briefly with both you and your guest.

Q

What areas do you serve?

A

We are building operations and growing rapidly in the USA.  Please contact us to see if we are currently placing students in your area or visit our location page. Alternatively, you may wish to help us set up a program in your region.

Q

How long does it take to get a student placed in my home?

A

Once you complete the application, self-assessment, interview, and background checks we begin the process of matching you to the right guest. This can happen right away or could take months, depending on demand in your area and what guests match with your lifestyle and preferences.  Students arrive throughout the year depending on the educational program they are participating in.  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

How long do students/guests stay?

A

AmeriStudent has both long and short term hosting opportunities.  Some students need a host for as short as a week (e.g: study tour), or others may extend for as long as you and the student are happy to stay together after the initial 4 week period.  Many of our high school students need a host for a full academic school year, which is usually between nine and ten months. Whatever the circumstances, we will provide you with more details before you agree to host a particular student.

Q

Do I just buy the food or do I need to cook for my guest?

A

You can choose the level of homestay you provide from our list of packages. Breakfast and Lunch are self-serve, so you will only need to have food available for your guest but you do need to prepare it. We ask that dinner (if you’ve chosen to offer it) is served at least 5 days each week and includes interaction and conversation with your guest. AmeriStudent payments are reflective of each package offered; reimbursing our hosts for their costs and effort.

 

Meals may sound like a hassle at first but our hosts confirm what we know to be true – that mealtimes are the best and most rewarding times to connect and build friendships with your guests, especially if you are cooking for yourself or your family anyway. Including your guest in mealtimes will make a much richer experience for you and for your guest.

 

Be clear with your guest which food is theirs and which you would prefer they do not use. If you have chosen to host a guest who is on a no meals plan, you only need to make the kitchen available to your guest.

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

 Are there rules for the student/guest?

A

In addition to a Host Family Code of Conduct, AmeriStudent has a Guest Code of Conduct which all guests are expected to adhere to.  When your Guest first arrives, you will also review your own house rules with your student and assist to orient them to your home.  You should make sure your students understands and agrees to these rules.

Q

Will the student/guest have insurance?

A

International students are encouraged (and for some it is a Visa condition) to have insurance and their insurance requirements usually come from the school.  AmeriStudent does not mandate insurance for the student if they are over 18.  If you have any concerns about your own insurance please check with your household insurer. Each party should check their current insurance policies and/or arrange sufficient insurance to protect themselves and any third party.

Q

Will guests have their own spending money?

A

Yes. Guests of all ages will have their own money. You are expected to pay for their food up to the point you’ve selected for your hosting level but you are not expected to pay the guest’s expenses beyond your host agreement.

Q

How many guests can I host?

A

You can host up to 2 guests at a time and as many guests consecutively as you like. You are paid per guest per night.

Q

Do I take my guest out to dinner, on excursions, and on family trips?

A

We ask that you include your guest as much as you like, but you are not obligated to include them in everything. The host stipend will help cover costs, but just talk with your guest ahead of time about any extra entertainment or travel expenses. Usually the student would pay for anything that is outside of the homestay hosting agreement.

Q

Can we host if we have a pet?

A

Of course, it just needs to be stated on your profile. Some guests will fall in love with your pets. Some will be afraid, allergic, or have a religious prohibition for being around pets. In those cases, we’ll ensure you aren’t matched with that guest.

Q

Do I need to be near a major school, college or university?

A

Yes, our hosts need to be within a maximum 60 minutes by public transport (including walking time) of their chosen university, college, vocational-tech, ESL school, professional or high school. We are always looking for hosts appropriately located where there is current international student demand.

Q

Do I need to provide transportation for my guest?

A

For students over 18, this is an option. In many cities we offer a higher stipend for a concierge offering where the host drives the guest to and from school.  Otherwise students over age 18 in our program use public transport at their own cost.

 

For students in high school and younger, Host Families are often responsible for school related transportation.  With this option, 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.

Q

Who will I be hosting and where do they come from?

A

Most AmeriStudent guests are high school or college-age students who are here to study in a high school international student program, a college degree program, or an ESL or vocational course. We also place interns, older professionals, and study tours. These students come from all over the world – some active countries currently include China, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, India and Brazil.

Q

Can International students drive their own car or vehicle?

A

It is difficult for international students and guests to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle if they are under the age of 18. Of course, without a license, an international student is forbidden to drive. Not only can the guest get in trouble, but you can too if the guest drives your vehicle. If a student is over 18, guests can take a driving course with an instructor and obtain a license.  Licensed Guests over 18 who choose to drive will need to have their own vehicle and insurance coverage.

Q

Will students have all their paperwork to legally study abroad?

A

Yes, all guests will receive the necessary documentation to study abroad. More specifically, they will receive a Visitor or F-1 student visa, which will allow them to visit or study in the United States. F-1 visa students will also receive an I-20 form, 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 .

Q

Will I have legal guardianship of the student if they are a minor?

A

For minors, 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 safety and medical emergencies.

Q

Do the students speak English?

A

English proficiency will vary but most will have some English skills when they arrive. Many guests are trying to improve their English by choosing a homestay.

Q

Is there legal documentation between AmeriStudent and the host family?

A

When registering with Ameristudent as a host family, you will be asked to sign a legal agreement. This document will go over all the guidelines pertaining to the responsibilities of host families, and it must be signed 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 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 Local Managers will have regular contact with both the host and the guest to make sure everything is going well for both parties. It is important to us that both the host family and their guest 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 their international guests.

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 if it doesn’t work out?

A

AmeriStudent stays involved from the start of the placement until its conclusion.  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 after mediation things still aren’t able to be resolved, we will arrange for the student to move to a different homestay.

Q

What is the vacation policy?

A

You are welcome to invite your guest to join you on vacation if you wish. Alternatively, if the guest is over 18, and you are comfortable with it, they can remain in your home while you are away. You must let the guest know in advance and ensure they are getting all the services and meals you’ve agreed to provide while you are away. If your guest is under 18 they will require overnight supervision at all times.  A host family member or adult designated by the host over the age of 25 may stay with the student if AmeriStudent has vetted that person. If necessary, AmeriStudent can help to provide a temporary host for your student while you are on vacation.

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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