What Is Hosting? (And Why You Should Host!)

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Host Families

CIEE host families (also known as a homestay families) welcome a dedicated, studious, and excited international student into their home for a semester- or year-long High School USA program. As a host family, you will:

  • Offer family support
  • Provide a bedroom and bed, as well as an appropriate place to study
  • Meals at home and school
  • Assistance in coordinating transportation to and from school, extracurricular activities, etc.

It’s important to remember that your role as a host family is more than just logistical. You and your international student are meant to bond, exchange cultures, have fun, and spend time together. It is, in no uncertain terms, the adventure of a lifetime. Show your international student what it’s like to live your American life. Take them to a football game. Have a barbecue. Enjoy a night out on the town. Help with their school projects. Attend their sporting events. Explore your community. Play games. Cook and share each other’s cuisines. Celebrate each other’s holidays.

In other words, hosting an international student is like adding an (international) member to your family. To learn more about what that’s really like, check out the video below:

Now that you know what it’s like to host, you may be wondering: Why should I do it? We’re glad you asked! There are so many benefits to hosting an international student that it would be difficult to list them all. But that won’t stop us from trying! The many benefits of hosting a student with CIEE include:

  • Photo for blog post What Is Hosting? (And Why You Should Host!)
    You get to have an international adventure without leaving home! Experience a new culture firsthand.
  • Have fun! Learn new recipes, celebrate new holidays, and so much more.
  • Add an international member to your family; if you have kids, they'll get an older sibling – a role model, mentor, and friend!
  • Hosting gives your family the opportunity to practice a new language. This is the perfect opportunity to start learning French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, or one of many other languages. Having a native speaker in your home will make it easier and more fun!
  • By bringing the world to your community, you make the U.S. a more understanding and inclusive place.
  • Since hosting is a reciprocal experience, you will get to share your own culture with someone who is excited to learn about and participate in American life.
  • Most important of all, you will create memories that span the globe and last a lifetime. This is something our host families and international students frequently tell us: their lives are touched and changed for the better by the hosting experience.

Does hosting sound like a good fit for your family? Start your application today!