Host family

Host Families

Open Your Home To The World

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Families come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re ready to open your heart and share your home, chances are you’ve got what it takes to host an international student. Connect your family with the world! We’ll support you every step of the way.


What is a host family?


Host family

Is Hosting An Exchange Student Right For Me?

Being a CIEE High School USA host family is about creating a home away from home. You’re part parent, part cultural ambassador, part mentor. Hosting is a chance to learn from one another. Our host families tell us over and over that their lives are just as touched and changed as those of their exchange student.

You’ll join 16,000 CIEE host families that welcome students from 55 countries while they attend high school with the United States’ oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization. Each year, we bring students who are eager to learn to more than 1,000 schools from our network.

CIEE host parents are volunteers who must be at least 25 years old, and able to provide the following:

  • A welcoming home for one or two high school semesters
  • Family support
  • A bedroom and a bed (students can share rooms with children of the same gender within four years of his/her age)
  • An appropriate place to study
  • Meals at home and school
  • Assistance coordinating appropriate transportation
Host family

How long will I be hosting an exchange student?

That is up to you! At CIEE, we offer a wide variety of short-term, cultural, and academic programs that last two weeks, one semester, or one academic year. Many host families who chose to host short-term exchange students love the experience so much they chose to host again – this time, welcoming longer-term exchange students into their home.

Learn more about our programs.

How can I refer a host family?

Share the experience of hosting an exchange student. We'll give you $200 for each host family referral that ends up hosting a student in 2022. 

  • Host family
  • Host family

What can you do with your host student?

  • Go to a football game
  • Have an all-American evening: burgers, apple pie, and a movie
  • Share a meal and stories from your student's host country
  • Invite neighbors over for dinner and games
  • Enjoy a night out at the mall or the movies
  • Work on school projects and club activities
  • Catch up at a coffee shop
  • Help with community-service projects
  • Explore nature
  • Have fun at a county fair

 What if I need help?

Program Orientation

CIEE is known for the support and high level of quality in everything we do. Our Local Coordinators, also known as LCs, are your go-to resource, members of your community who are ready to ensure a positive experience. Your LC will:

  • Outline the program and get to know you, so we can match you with the right student.
  • Be your principal CIEE contact while you’re hosting, and your first resource for advice, guidance, and assistance.

In case of emergency, just call our expert staff members at CIEE headquarters. They’re on call 24/7.

We’ll Help You Connect

CIEE helps you keep students engaged with activities designed to bring participants, host families, and communities closer together:

  • Each CIEE student completes a community-service project
  • CIEE students and host families can participate in fun events, like photo and recipe contests


U.S. Department of State-sponsored Scholarship Programs

CIEE administers several prestigious U.S. Department of State J-1 grant programs. A select number of CIEE-placed students have been selected by the Department of State through a highly competitive application process to receive these full merit-based scholarships each year. These DOS-sponsored programs empower the next generation of leaders and establish long-lasting ties between the United States and other countries and allow students from diverse backgrounds and countries to come to the U.S., experience American culture, and share their own.


The Congress-Bundestag Exchange (CBYX) program was inaugurated in 1983 through a bilateral agreement between the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag.  The program celebrates German-American friendship and fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Germany through an academic year school and homestay experience. Scholarships are available for both German and American students to go abroad. Learn more.



The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program was established in 1992 from former Senator Bill Bradley’s conviction that the best way to ensure long lasting peace and understanding between the United States and 21 countries of Europe and Eurasia was to enable young people from these countries to learn first-hand about the United States and Americans. Learn more.



The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was initiated by the Department of State in the aftermath of Sept. 11. It aims to build bridges of understanding between Americans and people in countries with significant Muslim populations. Scholarships are also available for American students to go abroad through the YES Abroad program. Learn more.

What People Are Saying

  • "We wouldn’t host if it wasn’t fun and meaningful. It’s kind of cool to be 53 and find a new family member from a country you haven’t been to!"

    David L., Archer City, Texas

  • "Our lives were changed in such an unexpected and delightful way by opening our home and hearts to Sofia. She taught us to laugh louder, treasure each other, and enjoy the moment."

    Cindy J., Louisville, Kentucky

  • "What was most unexpected was how much Martin became a family member. By the end of those 10 months, we really felt like we had a son."

    S.F., Wichita Falls, Texas

Ready to help bring the world to your community?

Host an Exchange Student

Speak with a CIEE representative in your community to learn more about hosting, or start your host family application today!