When you think of foreign exchange students, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a high school student traveling to a new country to learn about a different culture or have opportunities outside of their home country. But did you know you can get paid to host a foreign exchange student?
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Through an exchange program, adults or families can host exchange students and can even receive money for housing and food expenses. In some cases, host families even receive a stipend from the exchange student’s home country.
However, this is not the case for all, as some organizations expect volunteer host families to welcome a foreign student without a stipend.
If you’re interested in becoming a host family or want to learn more about the process, keep reading!
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What Is a Host Family?
A host family is a family that chooses to open their home to a foreign exchange student from a different country. They are a very special group of people or individuals who are willing to provide care, support, and opportunities to a young person. A host family would treat this young student as they would their own children.
Host families are not limited to the traditional family setup. They often come from different backgrounds and family orientations.
Here are a few examples of what some types of families might look like:
- Single adults or single parents
- Working adults or parents
- Same-sex couples
- Empty nesters
- Adoptive parents
- Couple with or without children
- Military families
As you can see, host families may come from different backgrounds—including different ethnicities, races, or economic statuses. What the family looks like doesn’t matter, as long as the family is willing to welcome an exchange student. However, it’s important to note that different organizations may have different requirements for host families.
How to Get Paid to Host a Foreign Exchange Student and Be a Host Family?
Applying to be a host family is a big responsibility. Host families should be willing to undergo a background test to make sure the foreign exchange student is safe away from their home country.
There are also usually some requirements such as progress reporting and home visitations from the organization that provide student exchange programs.
Through these programs, host families get to learn about different cultures, languages, traditions, and customs. They also have the opportunity to show the student the American culture, which may help break stereotypes and forge mutual understanding and respect for each other’s way of life.
What Are the Benefits of Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student?
Not only does the student get to know and learn the culture, but you and the family would get a better perspective of their culture as well. You get to be the encouragement and guidance they need to achieve their educational goals. Maybe even help with social guidance and meeting new people. It’s not all about how to get paid to host a foreign exchange student, but rather how you can make a bigger impact on a student’s educational goals.
What Are the General Responsibilities of a Host Family?
Host families will stand as “parents” to the student. They are expected to care for the student and treat them as part of their families. These “parents” need to provide a clean and safe environment for the student.
They are required to arrange a conducive and personal space for the student to study and rest, have daily meals with the family, offer several options for local transport, engage in open and clear communication, and, most importantly, show love and support. Of course, it’s equally important for host families to familiarize foreign students with life in the United States, including the local culture, during their daily interactions.
If you are looking to get paid to host a foreign exchange student, read on for potential financial responsibilities.
What Are the Potential Financial Responsibilities of a Host Family?
In most organizations, international students are expected to have their own spending money for school activities, personal expenses, and travel costs. For instance, if they would prefer to have lunch at school, they can do so at their own expense.
Their health insurance is normally covered by the organization as well, or they will likely have their own insurance if not. Should the host family have activities, they are expected to include the student as a member of the family without expecting any monetary compensation.
The host family will also be responsible for the expenses for the daily meals of the student. Since host families are supposed to provide a space, including a separate bed, for their students, it should be anticipated that certain utility bills will also increase. The taxes related to hosting a student should also be a financial consideration.
How Much Can Families Get Paid to Host a Foreign Exchange Student?
Some, but not all, organizations offer a stipend to host families. Usually, the amount of stipend would depend on the location of the host family, the school where the student will attend, and other potential factors. It is normal to expect between $800 to $1,500 monthly from the organizations that do pay host families.
Additionally, it’s important to know that some organizations only offer stipends for students with F-1 visas. If the student has a J-1 visa, then the hosting family can expect a tax deduction, but not a monthly stipend.
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How Long Do Foreign Exchange Programs Last?
Similar to the above questions, the answer to this question depends on the organization.
There are short-term programs wherein the student’s length of stay is only 6 months or less. However, some organizations offer study abroad programs that may last for an entire school year, a full year, or even multiple years.
Can a Single Person Host a Foreign Exchange Student?
Most people think that hosting an exchange student that you have to have kids of your own and a spouse or partner in order to become a host family. The truth is, you can be single, married, have kids or not. You could be an empty nester. There is no such thing as the “typical” host family. As long as you meet hosting requirements and are willing to open your home to an international student, you would make a great host family!
What Is to Be Expected from the Student?
Students enrolled in a foreign exchange program would already have English skills and most likely be proficient with the English language, as this is a normal requirement for almost every exchange program.
Additionally, it can be expected that the student will consistently show effort to share his or her culture with the host family.
Aside from regular school attendance, a student can also be expected to join school activities and even social activities. Likewise, home activities with the host families are also encouraged.
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The Don’ts to Get Paid to Host a Foreign Exchange Student and Being a Host Family
Though it is very tempting to be a host family because of the stipend that some organizations offer, the monetary gain should not be a decisive factor in choosing to apply as a host family. Host families are expected to treat the students not as guests, but as family members.
Here are some reasons you should NOT consider being a host family:
Don’t (This Is Very Important) Only Apply to Be Get Paid to Host a Foreign Exchange Student for Monetary Compensation.
Being a host parent is not financially rewarding, because he or she is expected to make sure the student eats at least 3 times a day at the former’s own cost. There are also increased utility bills to think about. Additionally, family activities that cost money are also something that should be considered when deciding whether or not to host a student.
DON’T consider being a host family if rules, regulations, and requirements are difficult for you to abide by.
Student exchange organizations are very strict in terms of their requirements. They make sure that they do a criminal background check, home visitations, and evaluations. Plus, they expect to have regular progress reports from the host families. These are safeguards in making sure that the students are well taken care of during their stay in a foreign country.
DON’T convert or attempt to convert your student to any religion that you engage in.
Students who join exchange programs have paperwork that may include an option for them to not make any life-changing choices while they are away abroad. For the most part, though, students are welcome to join any religious activities with their host families, but only if they prefer to.
DON’T be an “absent” parent.
Being a host parent entails being a present one. As such, you should make sure to have enough time to communicate and do activities with your student. Exchange students are usually underage and they are still dependent on adults to guide them. Plus, their legal guardians or parents have entrusted their child to your care, and they expect you to treat their child as part of your whole family and not just as a roommate.
DON’T Make Your Students Feel Like They Are Being Used—Emotionally or Financially Just to Get Paid to Host a Foreign Exchange Student.
At the stage of a student’s life abroad, they are vulnerable and they need your support in order to adjust well to the changes.
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Becoming a host family for an international exchange student can be an extremely rewarding experience. After all, not only will you have the opportunity to welcome someone into your home and share your culture, but you may also be able to earn extra income and get paid to host a foreign exchange student if you’re eligible for financial compensation.
Plus, this incredible hosting experience might even give you a life-long relationship with a new friend!
If you’re interested in becoming a host parent, reach out to your local program coordinator for a more detailed discussion and to start your host family application.
If you or someone you know has hosted an exchange student before, let me know your experience in the comments below.
Was it positive? Did you earn income that way?
I love hearing from you!
By the way, if you’re looking for more ways to make money online, be sure to check out our blog for posts on side hustles, making extra money, job leads, and more.
Thanks for reading!
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