Making the decision to participate in a student foreign exchange is not a simple decision.  High school and college students come from all over the world to study in the USA and families have a the choice to host through a J-1 Visa or F-1 Visa program. The main difference between a J-1 Visa and F-1 Visa program is simple – families receive a monthly stipend for hosting with an F-1 Visa, where on the J-1 it is all voluntary and families can only receive up to $50 deducted from their taxes per month.

Selecting a program entails a little homework. Take time to evaluate which foreign exchange program is ideal for you and your family and has the same objectives as you. Use the following strategies to make the right choice.


While most cultural exchange programs offer similar educational, personal development and life experiences, not all student foreign exchange programs are created equally. As with any academic or educational service, the credibility and reputation of cultural exchange program is critical to choosing an exchange program that will present the benefits necessary to ensure success.


For the majority of international homestay programs, everything runs smoothly and both the student and family have a great year and are sad when it comes to an end. However, there are occasions where additional support is needed; if the student is having trouble at school, adjusting, the family and student are having a hard time setting boundaries, etc. While performing your search for a program, be sure to find out what kind of support the organization offers. Some programs, such as LPI Learning, offer support to their families, student and the school on both a local and national level and have a 24/7 emergency line.


Of course the main benefit to hosting an international student is cultural exchange, but programs will offer families other benefits for hosting a student. Some organizations offer local representative positions to host families, monthly stipends or opportunities for their children to participate in other programs sponsored by their organization. Browse around and see who is offering what deals and promotions to their families!