Host Family Responsibilities
There are many different types of hosting programs which allow any family the opportunity to host and find the program for them. Each type of program does have its own responsibilities that are required of the host families. Let us compare the type of program and the responsibilities of the host families.
J-1 vs F-1 Programs
J-1 Programs are those where the family is typically a volunteer host family and does not receive a monthly stipend for hosting.
Students on a J-1 program are typically in the US for both educational and cultural reasons and only stay for a semester or academic year. Families who host on a J-1 program can host up to 2 students at a time.
The main responsibilities of a host family are:
- Provide a student with a safe, supportive, and loving home
- Accept student as a member of the family and encourage the student to participate in all aspects of family life
- Provide a student with his/her own bed and a quiet place to study
- Provide a student with 3 quality meals a day
- Provide transportation to and from school (usually by school bus)
- Encourage the exchange of ideas and provide students with exposure to the cultural and social environment of your home and neighborhood
- Contact with their local rep weekly and meet with the rep every other month to go over the placement
F-1 Programs are programs where host families receive a monthly stipend for hosting.
Students on an F-1 program are in the US to pursue educational opportunities at the high school or university level and often plan to stay for multiple years. Families who host on an F-1 Program can host more than 2 students at a time.
The main responsibilities of a host family are to:
- Provide a student with a safe, supporting, and loving home
- Accept the student as part of the family and include them in family activities
- Provide the student with his/her own room and a quiet place to study
- Provide the student with 3 meals a day
- Be available for transportation to and from school and after-school activities
- Encourage the student to be active in their school community
Short Term vs Long Term
Short term programs range from a week to a semester-long program, including summer programs.
These programs may be academic, language/cultural immersion, sports related in focus. Families who host a student on a short-term program may either be paid or unpaid, dependent on the length of the program and program type.
Students who are on short terms international exchange programs are driven academically however they tend to be in the US for more of a cultural exchange. Students want to have an immersive experience in American culture during their time in the US. Living with a host family is a key way to help students build their language skills and understanding of American culture.
Families who host short-term students are responsible for:
- Helping the student embrace the culture
- Supporting the student in activities and sports
- Providing the student with 3 meals a day
- Having a bed for the student
- Assisting the student further their knowledge and skills of the English language
Long term programs tend to be for at least one academic year and can last longer, depending on the student’s academic program.
Students who participate in multiple year programs are academically driven as they are enrolled in either a local American high school or university. Though cultural exchange and understanding is also a component of long-term exchanges, participants’ primary focus is their academic program.
With long-term programs, families who host are responsible for:
- Providing a student with a bed (if a student is placed in a home for multiple years they may be required to have their own bedroom)
- 3 meals a day (not including lunch if the student wants to buy lunch at the school)
- A quiet place to study
- Assistance learning tasks such as laundry, cooking, etc.
- Encourage the student to participate in family activities
- Support the student in after school activities and sports
Above all, the main requirement of host families for any program type and duration is to accept the student into their home and make them feel comfortable. Hosting is an incredible experience and families get back more than they could ever imagine!