Thursday, November 24, 2011

Student Host Families: How to Become a Host Family

Have you ever thought about participating in a student exchange program as one of the many student host families throughout the world? If so, do you need some additional information on how to get started? Student host families are an integral part of any student exchange program, with an immeasurable number of benefits for both students and their host families. In this article we will briefly mention a few of those benefits, and outline the steps normally required to become a student host family to one of the thousands of international students that participate in these programs each year.

Student Host Families: The Benefits

Student host families are the bedrock on which international exchange programs are built, and while it’s true that the generosity and caring of these families has changed many students lives for the better, most student host families will tell you that they, too, benefit greatly from these programs. Student host families have the opportunity to:

· Learn about and embrace a different culture

· Learn a new language

· Act as an ambassador for their country

· Share in the experience of their student’s life

· Teach their children about acceptance and tolerance

· And much, much more…

Student Host Families: How to Become Involved

There are hundreds of organizations worldwide involved with international student exchange programs, and while each has their own particular procedure for locating and qualifying student host families, generally the process is very similar with each one of them. This includes:

· Submit a Host Family Interest Form. Completing a host family interest form is usually the first step for potential student host families. This informs the organization that you are interested, who will then connect you with a volunteer working in your area to help answer any questions and explain the application procedure.

· Attend an Informational Seminar. Families willing to share their home with an international exchange student will usually have the opportunity to attend an informational meeting or seminar, either in a physical location or via online. Here the organization will provide all the information families need to know, including how the program works, the various countries that the children are from and how to begin the application process.

· Complete an Application. Many international exchange organizations have now streamlined the application process, allowing applicants to apply online. The application itself is fairly straightforward, typically asking you to provide some general information about your location, the size of your household, your community, your lifestyle and the things that are important to your family, i.e. education, religion, etc. Also required, for the safety of the child and the program, is a criminal background check on all the adults living in the household. Some organizations may even require the same criminal background checks on all persons 14 and older.

· Be Matched Up with a Student. Once your application is approved, you will typically have the opportunity to review student profiles with a program staff member, and from the information in those files you’ll be matched up with a student whose interests are very similar to your family’s interests.

Many organizations will usually hold some type of orientation event just prior to the school year or semester, giving your family the chance to meet other student host families, many of whom will have prior experience and can give you some helpful tips.

1 comment:

Amazing_Craft said...

Once your student arrives your family will be the first faces that he or she sees, giving you as parents the opportunity to welcome this new student not only into your country, but into your home as well.


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