What is Hosting?

Hosting a State Department-sponsored student means sharing your home, your country and your culture with a student from another country. International students will attend a local high school or college, often participating in local clubs, school activities, sports and more. The length of stay varies depending on the program, but often lasts a semester to an academic school year.

Who Can Host?

Hosting opportunities are open to families of all sizes, even individuals and families without children at home. Host families can live anywhere in the United States and come from varying backgrounds. The most important criteria is that the hosts treat the student like a member of their own family, providing them with not just a house but a home. The hosted student will have the opportunity to learn about the American way of life, plus share his or her culture as well.

How to Host

  • Locate a State Department partner organization that administers a hosting program.
  • Find out specific hosting requirements, which often vary by program. Most require that you be at least 25 years old and able to provide a loving caring home.
  • Hear from other host families; watch host videos and read host stories to find out what it's like to host a student.
  • Fill out an online application through a State Department partner organization's website, or send an email.
  • Receive a response from the organization's local representative or coordinator.
  • Meet your student! Your family will be matched with a student based on your criteria.
  • Make your student feel welcome and help them adjust to their new surroundings. Most organizations will assign a coordinator or representative to help with this transition.

    In their own words

    Ivan, an American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange (A-SMYLE) participant, talking about his exchange experience.
    Ivan V. Participant Secondary/High School Students Montenegro American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange United States Read the story