The most important quality we look for in a host family is the genuine desire to open your home to an international high school exchange student and to treat your student as you would a member of your own family.
All NWS host families believe in the importance of cross-cultural exchange and are eager to learn about other countries and cultures as well as to share their American was of life with their student. Host families need not have a teenager in the home to qualify.
Qualities that are sought in a host family are friendliness, warmth, flexibility, and financial stability. The host family must also have the means to provide room and board for the student for the period of the student's stay. The socio-economic or educational level of the family is not as important as the family's willingness to share and learn with their exchange student. TOP
All of NWS host families are volunteer and do not receive payment for hosting. Exchange students bring their own spending money and are expected to pay for school lunch, entertainment, personal items and souvenirs. TOP
NWS exchange students live with the host family and attend high school for a full, 10 month academic year or for a 5 month semester program. All students arrive approximately one week before school begins and depart 7-10 days after the program ends. The full academic year students arrive in late August and depart in June. The 5-month spring semester students arrive in mid January and depart in June. Our hemisphere students arrive in January for a full school year of January to January of the following year. If the high school in your area starts early or your family will be on vacation, special arrangements can be made for the arrival date of your student. TOP
Your NWS local exchange local coordinator has been trained to be sensitive to both the needs of the host family and the needs of your exchange student. Your LC is available to provide orientations, to answer questions, and to offer support. On the occasion when your LC might not be available, the NWS office staff may be reached by calling our toll-free number. In the event of an emergency, an NWS staff member is always available toll free on a 24-hour basis at (888) 976-3977.
We greatly appreciate the generosity of our host families and strive to provide each host family with all of the support and understanding that they might need to ensure an enriching cross-cultural experience. TOP
Your LC will visit you in your home to explain the hosting experience and to answer any questions that you may have. Before your student arrives, you will have a meeting either as a group with other host families or individually with your LC. You will be provided with orientation materials that will give you more details about the intercultural experience of hosting. When you select a student and the placement is confirmed, you will receive additional information about hosting.
We also recommend that the host family gather information about their student's country and culture. TOP
The exchange students who participate in the NWS high school exchange program expect to be treated as a member of your family. They have made the decision to leave behind their own family and friends for 5 or 10 months to have the experience of living with an American family and attending an American high school. The international students are as diverse as the American families who host them. Some are outgoing and gregarious; others are quiet and shy. Like most teenagers around the world, they are curious and inquisitive. They have come to the U.S. to discover what the American way of life is all about. They have also come as ambassadors from their countries to share their way of life with you. Your exchange student will expect you to communicate with him/her about your values, and will also expect you to listen when he/she tells you about the way of life of his/her country. TOP
Your student is expected to behave as a member of your family and follow all of the rules and expectations of your household. Since every family has its own set of house rules and policies, it is important for the family to take time in the beginning to explain to their guest everything that is needed to know about your household, including rules, chores, daily schedules, curfews, etc. Your local coordinator will provide you with information which will be helpful to you in the initial stages of your hosting experience. In addition, the NWS host family orientation handbook contains information about communicating rules and regulations. You should be honest and open about your household rules. Remember, your student is not merely a guest, but a new member of your family. TOP
All exchange students have their own spending money to cover personal expenses, such as school supplies, clothing, snacks outside of the home and entertainment, etc. Host families are expected to provide room and board and reasonable transportation to school activities. The expenses of the host family will differ, depending on the lifestyles of each individual family. TOP
Many NWS host families do not have enough bedrooms in their home to accommodate an exchange student with a private bedroom. We require only that your student share a room with host sibling of the same gender and be given his or her own bed and space in the closet and the chest of drawers. Consideration should be given to the fact that your student will be attending high school and will be required to study and do homework. TOP
No. NWS is the legal sponsor for the student. As legal sponsor, NWS issues the documents necessary for the student to obtain an exchange-visitor visa to enter the United States and to participate in the NWS high school exchange program. NWS remains legally responsible for the student for the duration of the program. The host family does, however, have permission to obtain medical treatment from a licensed physician for the student when necessary. A medical release signed by the biological parents is included in the student's application. TOP
Will our student have insurance coverage?
According to the Department of State (DOS) and CSIET regulations your exchange student is covered with medical/accident insurance. Emergency dental treatment is covered for relief of pain or when damage to the teeth is caused by an accident. It is very important that insurance claim forms be completed promptly. Your Local Coordinator will help you and your student navigate the insurance process. TOP
Your exchange student should be invited to attend your place of worship. If your exchange student is of a different religion, but is interested in attending your church, temple, or synagogue to learn more about this aspect of our culture, they should be welcomed and encouraged. However, attendance of religious services should not be forced upon the student. Arrangements should be make to allow the exchange student to attend the church of his/her choice if so desired. TOP
Your exchange student is not permitted to travel outside the local area by himself/herself or with peers. Overnight travel with host family, another family, or a responsible adult is permitted if prior consent is given by the host family and LC. Overnight travel is also permitted with an approved group (e.g. church, school, etc.). The host family and the local coordinator must be informed of all such trips and have a telephone number of a responsible adult, in order to reach the student in an emergency. TOP
If you would like more information about the program,
please contact your local coordinator or the NWS national office toll-free
at (888) 976-3977.
The NWS local coordinator will make arrangements to visit you in your home at a convenient time for your family. We appreciate your interest in promoting intercultural understanding in your community. TOP
Becoming a host family...