Frequently Asked Questions - Home Hosting
No. Hosts are asked to drop their guests off in the morning prior to program start (usually around 8:00 a.m.) and to pick them up at the end of the program day (usually around 5:00 p.m.). Drop-off and pick-up times are flexible to accommodate hosts’ work schedules. Pick-up may be later if there is a scheduled evening activity. On evenings when there are activities that finish late, we can always work with you to arrange transportation to your home.
No. While visitors are with our team on program days (generally every weekday, as so not to conflict with hosts’ work schedules), we will provide lunch and snacks for them, so there is no need to send them with any food.
Anyone with a legal driver’s license and permission to carry passengers in their car is able to transport your guest(s). Hosts should consider the driving ability and responsibility of anyone who will be transporting their guest(s) and use their discretion.
Please let our staff know as soon as possible and we will work with other hosts or our staff to arrange transportation for your guest(s).
During the program days, guests meet with members of our community to share and learn best practices specific to their profession or their program theme. This may be in the form of a meeting with their professional counterparts in which both the members of our community and the international visitors share tips and best practices that help both sides do you their work smarter and better, or in the form of targeted workshops, where visitors are given specific skills that they need to complete a professional or service project upon their return to their communities.
No. We understand that families have evening activities or may just want a night in, so we do not expect all hosts to attend the host-friendly cultural activities (for example, some groups may attend the Aces ball game or go bowling), though we are always very glad to have hosts, if you can make it! If you are not sure if an evening activity is host-friendly (some events may be used as team building for the program participants or may have limited space), please contact the program staff
We do ask that at least one family member attend any opening and closing ceremonies if possible, as these events are very exciting for and important to your guest(s). For these events, we provide dinner to any host family member who attends, so make sure to let the program staff know the number of attendees.
General hosting and visitor questions
No. We have had and continue to have multiple successful and fruitful home-host pairings that do not include family members who are of the same age as the guest in the home. Individuals, couples with grown children, couples of any age without children, etc. who will provide a safe and welcoming environment for our participants are strongly encouraged to participate in this opportunity!
This varies by program. It is a requirement of our youth programs that participants speak English; however some of our visiting professionals may have varying English abilities. We find that apps such as Google Translate are very helpful in communicating more complicated concepts with guests whose English may not be fluent.
Though we consider all of our overnight hosting opportunities to be short-term (two weeks or less), and hence a great way to dip your toes into home hosting without committing to a semester or year, the exact number of days varies by program. The goal of all of our programs is to give American citizens and visitors as much contact with each other as possible in both formal and informal settings. Home hosting is an absolutely essential part of our program, as it provides an insight into American life that can not be provided at professional meetings and workshops. Overnight hosting can be as few days as two nights during a weekend (see our SUSI program) to 10 to 14 days four our Youth Leadership programs. We also offer several professional (adult) home hosting opportunities annually—please continue to check our home hosting page for opportunities or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our home hosting list and we’ll email hosting opportunities directly to you as they arise! The point of cultural exchange is for participants to see what a host family does in their day-to-day life, so do not feel pressure to have every minute planned. We can provide a suggested list of activities that you can use during weekends and evenings and would also be glad to arrange for other hosts to take your guest(s) if there are any times that you cannot be with them. Your guest(s) may also have evenings when they wish to meet up with other program participants or host families. Many past hosts have commented that they expected to be “on” and entertaining constantly while their guest was with them, but that, due to program pre-arranged cultural activities and side activities arranged by guests or other hosts, they found that not to be the case.
Hosting is a volunteer activity and, as such, there is no formal compensation. Whenever possible, we provide dinner or activity entrance fees to our hosts as a token of how much we appreciate you volunteering your time and resources to welcome a visitor to our community.
Yes – you will have the opportunity to select a gender preference when you fill out the Youth Programs Home Host Application or the Professional (Adult) Home host or Dinner Host Application. You can also let our staff know if you would prefer a certain age. We can generally accommodate these preferences.
The most common dietary restriction that we see on our programs is the Muslim halal diet, which is similar to, but less restrictive than, a kosher diet. If there is a Home Host Orientation for the program you are hosting for, we will discuss any dietary restrictions at that time. For some programs, will provide a supply of halal meat for guest(s) wishing to follow a halal diet. We place the burden on the guest(s) to ensure that they are checking ingredients, but we are happy to go over the diet and give you resources to accommodate your guest(s)—simply contact the program staff!
We discuss with all visitors that they will be experiencing another culture in which some things may be very different than in their home country. The most important piece of cultural exchange is getting to see how another culture is in day-to-day life. As such, hosts are not expected to alter their lifestyle (wine with dinner, eating pork) in any way. Guests may also not be used to the degree that pets are integrated into American families and guests practicing certain religions may request a pet-free area to pray. Keeping your guest's door closed so pets don't enter is sufficient for this purpose.
Absolutely! We take great care in learning about and understanding the preferences, interests and lifestyle of each host family and guest so that we can make appropriate home placements. In addition, any food, pet or other allergy (of the host or guest) is taken into account when placing guests. Relevant medical conditions will be communicated to hosts as well. Your preferences and lifestyle will be noted on the youth or professional home host applications and you can also feel free to reach out to staff if there is a preference or restriction that you would like us to pay close attention to.
Yes. As visitors are part of U.S. federal government programs, they are background checked prior to being invited to participate, as well as when they apply for their J-1 Visas.
For our youth programs, the U.S. Department of State requires that every host family member over the age of 18 be background checked and that every home be visited prior to the guests’ arrival to ensure the safety of all visitors. If your home has certain amenities available (such as a pool or trampoline), our staff must document that we talked to your family about safety procedures related to these. We also are required to make sure that all pets are safe for guests.
The home visit also provides our staff an opportunity to get to know a bit more about your family, so that we can better match a guest or guests to your interests and lifestyle. For this reason, we ask that all family members be present for at least a portion of the visit.
All guests have comprehensive medical insurance through their program. In case your guest is injured or has a medical emergency, our staff will be your first point of contact. During the program, a staff member is available 24 hours a day in case your guest requires care. Our staff is also trained in providing the correct insurance information to ensure that no medical bill comes to you.
There are certain high-risk activities (skiing, trampolines, ATVs, boating) that are not covered by guest insurance. Please contact us for a list of those activities.