Traveling With Your International Student

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Host Families

Host Families

Traveling can be a great way to spend your international student’s winter break, as it gives you an opportunity to share another part of American culture with them, and to spend time together as a family.

Traveling with your international student is allowed, but there are certain rules that you need to follow. 

Trips that are organized by your student’s host school or CIEE Local Coordinator (LC) have no special rules, and require no action by you.

Trips that are organized by you (the host family) or if a is traveling independently must be approved in advance by CIEE through a travel request form. These include (but are not limited to): 

  • Air travel
  • Independent travel
  • Any trip outside the United States
  • A trip that causes the student to miss three or more days of school
  • Visits from your natural family
  • Church youth group volunteer trips
  • Travel with a relative of your host family
  • Travel with a friend’s or neighbor’s family

For any kind of trip, your student must follow the CIEE program rules regarding travel: 
Travel only with adult members of the host family, the Local Coordinator, official school trips, or group organized trips. Student must obtain written permission from the CIEE Portland Office if traveling by air, traveling internationally, and/or if travel results in school absences. Travel with or visits from the natural family members are not permitted before January of the ten-month program and not at all during the five-month program.


A travel request is a form that must be filled out prior to any travel that you plan to do with your student.

This form can be found on our website, under “Travel”, or you can reach out to your Local Coordinator.

As you prepare to submit a travel request, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • CIEE must receive a release from the student’s natural family
  • Participants must travel with a CIEE approved chaperone at least 25 years of age
  • The student must complete a Travel Request Form with host family and Local Coordinator approval and submit it to the CIEE Support Team at least 28 days before scheduled travel

To submit your Travel Request Form, please:

  • Send a photocopy by email to

  • Fax it to 207-553-5299

  • Or send a paper copy to CIEE at: CIEE, 300 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101

When processing travel requests, our Support Team often receives questions about whether you or your student should be responsible for the fees involved in going on the trip, since this can sometimes be a large expense.

This is something that should you should discuss with your student prior to the trip. Our Support can also help facilitate a conversation with the natural parents. It is ultimately your decision as a family whether you cover these costs.

No matter what you’re planning, CIEE asks that when you are arranging trips with your students to keep your Local Coordinator and Support team informed of these plans


That’s okay too! While some families decide to travel with their student, it is not expected or required. Here are a few ideas to keep busy during a school vacation (check out this post for more ideas):

  • Help your student get involved in a community service activity to fulfill their program requirement for volunteer work.
  • Encourage your student to remain active through exercise or other activities. It’s okay to relax during the holidays, but students who stay physically active tend to do better. Whether it’s warm or wintery in your area, it’s a good idea to help them get outside to explore what your community has to offer.
  • Try to organize a family activity during the break. Even if you don’t plan to take time off during the week, it’s great to have some additional family time even if it’s just a nice dinner together or a game night. Ask your student to arrange something the whole family can participate in to keep them engaged.
  • Make sure your student is keeping up with any school assignments they need to be doing over the break. Encourage them not to leave these projects until the last minute!

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