About Hosting

Host families play a critical role in making the world a kinder and smaller place. By hosting an international student, host families promote a positive image of America, expand their families worldview and cultivate international friendships. Volunteer host families are anything but ordinary. They come from all over the United States and represent the depth and diversity of American culture.

How does Hosting Work?

During the program, host parents treat their new son or daughter exactly as they would their own. By the time students complete the program, they become a part of the very fabric of the host family. The bonds formed through hosting last a lifetime and the friendships formed help shape the image of America abroad while bringing awareness and understanding of foreign cultures to our local communities.

Benefits of Hosting

International students have a profound impact on their host families, enriching their day-to-day life by exposing their family to new cultures, languages, and perspectives.

Host families impact International students by encouraging international goodwill, understanding, and closing the barriers between different worlds at home, in local schools and the larger San Diego community. Some of the rewards of becoming a host family are:

  • Experience a new family dynamic
  • Expanding family’s world view by connecting them to new cultures
  • Creating lifelong memories and relationships
  • Giving an International Student an unforgettable experience
  • Encouraging world perspective and travel

Who Can Host a Student?

Successful host families share a genuine interest in caring for the well-being of students. A host family can be a single-parent household, family with adolescent children or teenagers, or retired couples.

Requirements of Host Families

  • Provide a safe and welcoming environment
  • Support and make the student feel like a part of your family
  • Include the student in family outings, vacations, and cultural opportunities.
  • Encourage the student to be a participating member of the household
  • Provide room and board for the student.
    • All students must have their own bed. If the room is shared, it should be with a child of similar gender and age.
    • Provide a quiet space in the home where the student may study.

Celebrate the students birthday and other special occasions as though they were your own children

  • In case of an emergency, have access to a copy of the student’s passport and insurance card. Ensure the student knows how to contact family members, friends, and other support networks.
  • Voice any concerns and questions regarding the student to the IEM representative, including serious homesickness, difficulty adapting to family life or school, or illness.
  • Encourage involvement in community life by introducing the student to neighbors, friends, and volunteer opportunities with local organizations.

Host Family FAQs.

What is required of the host family?

Host families are expected to provide a nurturing and structured environment for students (ages 14-18) to grow and flourish. Host families are responsible for taking the child to and from school, providing three meals per day, a private bedroom, and consistently communicating with IEM about the progress of the child. A handbook will be provided.

When will the students arrive?

They will begin to arrive around a week before the semester begins (Fall or Spring Semester), depending on the start date of the school that the students will be enrolled in.

How long should I commit my family to the program?

To ensure that our students have a stable home throughout their studies, we ask that our homestay families commit to the program for at least a year.

How much are host families compensated?

$875-$1000 per month/child depending on the location of the school.

Why do students come study in the U.S.?

In addition to receiving a high quality education in the U.S., our students seek to experience our culture and become part of an American family. Furthermore, many of our students strive to get into a top U.S. university.

May I make a special request for a specific gender/nationality of student?

Yes, special requests are considered, but cannot always be accommodated.

What should I do if I need support?

IEM will have a detailed orientation for families and also provide ongoing support. A handbook will be provided to families and students.

What if the child is not a good fit for my family?

IEM will work with the family to find the child another homestay placement.

How do I get other families involved with this program?

IEM has a referral program. You will receive $100 for every family who you refer to us, who is selected and accepts the homestay commitment.

Host Family Resources

We have set up a network supports you with every stage in the hosting process. Your IEM Area Representative is the person who has arranged the student’s placement and secured permission for the student to attend the local high school.