A family, couple or individual that would like to become a host family can do so with a number of organizations. These may be structured through local schools, and there are also many that operate outside of schools. Each organization can have slightly different requirements for those who want to become a host family, and it’s advisable to make sure these programs have proven reputations.
Before deciding to become a host family, it’s important to consider what will be involved. For instance, how long will an exchange student stay, what kinds of financial obligations are involved, and what types of supervisory responsibility will be required?
It can help to come up with a general checklist regarding readiness to host, which may include the following:
- All members of the family agree that hosting is a good idea.
The family can provide private or semi-private sleeping quarters for the exchange student.
The host family will be able to meet expenses related to caring for and feeding another child.
Members of the family will be willing to help the student deal with homesickness and sometimes great transition to a new culture.
The exchange student will have adequate supervision and some parenting help as needed.
When people feel they meet these requirements, there are many ways to become a host family. Families or individuals should next choose organizations that are reputable and apply to them. Most organizations expect written applications and then conduct a formal in-person interview. Some may inspect premises where students will live, and others do perform background checks.
Typically, lengthier stays may involve greater investigation. Some families only host for a few weeks, and requirements to host can be minimal. This can be a great way to determine if the family would like to host another student for a longer period of time.
During interviews, it’s important to ask details about hosting. For instanc, sometimes families are reimbursed for care costs and other times they are not. Most foreign exchange students have medical insurance, but host families may need to do some work on behalf of a exchange student who needs extensive care while visiting, including understanding insurance coverage. As with all kids, exchange students are just as liable to get injured or need a hospitalization.
It can also help to know what kinds of support students receive from the program organizing the exchange. Some may have access to services or get-togethers. Other students will need to participate in special projects or events that may require transportation.
Individual students may also vary in what they can bring. A well-funded host family may have kids with much more pocket money than the exchange student has, or a wealthy student is better off than the host family siblings. Those who wish to become a host family should consider that some students may have more needs than do others, and ought to be able to help address this by providing some spending money for example.
When people plan to become a host family with preparation, research and consideration, hosting a foreign exchange student can be a terrific experience. Many students form familial bonds with their host families and stay in touch for years to come. This is more likely to occur when a family sees hosting as an opportunity to parent with care and to enthusiastically help a child explore a new culture.