One of the biggest misconceptions about hosting an exchange student is that you have to have kids of your own and a spouse or partner in order to become a host family. This isn’t the case! The truth is, you can be single, married, have kids or no kids, be empty nesters, etc. – there is no such thing as the “typical” host family. If you meet hosting requirements and are willing to open your heart and home to an international student, you’d make a great host family!
Can I Host an Exchange Student as a Single Person/Parent?
Yes! ISE has many individuals and single parents across the country who have made excellent host families for our exchange students. Here’s what a few of them had to say about the experience.
“It was a wonderful experience as a single host. We became very close and still communicate.” – Pauline, Michigan
“I am a single dad and have hosted over 75 students throughout the years. I would not change the experience for anything. I truly believe we can make a difference in the world one student at a time.” – Morris, Mississippi
“It was a good experience. I had to work harder but I was ok with that. My student constantly told me how much she admired me working and getting my masters at the same time.” – Chinna, Wyoming
“I hosted as a single parent and we had a blast. Honestly, our Thai girl will forever be a part of our family.” – Brandy, Indiana
“I’m a single host and I’ve hosted 9 students over the last 13 years. I love it. We have a great time going and doing things they’re interested in. I’m still in contact with all but one and I’ve visited all the others over the years. I highly recommend it.” – Julie, Texas
What are Host Families Required to Do?
During the application process, you will undergo a criminal background check and home inspection (required steps in any reputable exchange program) and tell us a bit about yourself and your lifestyle. Once approved, you will work with a member of ISE’s local team to select a student who will mesh well with your daily life. Below are a few of the requirements for an ISE host family:
- Treat your student like a family member, not a guest. Our exchange students come to the U.S. to experience authentic American life and sharpen their language and communication skills, not go on vacation. He or she should have the same privileges and obligations as your own children.
- Watch over your student and provide guidance and support to ensure his or her success, safety, and well-being.
- Provide a room with an exit window, bed, and storage along with a quiet place that the student can study. Students may share a room with one host sibling of the same sex and similar age.
- Provide three meals per day.
- Work with ISE by adhering to program regulations, guidelines, and policies (regular progress reports, home visits, etc.)
You can learn more about becoming a successful host family by reading 5 Helpful Tips for Hosting an Exchange Student (From Host Families!)
How Can I Learn More and Get Involved?
We invite you to read more about hosting a foreign exchange student. If you have specific questions about hosting, check out our host family FAQ page. You can also read testimonials from our past and current host families. When you feel ready, complete our host family interest form, and our area representative will get in touch with you.
You can also get involved by joining our team of Area Representatives! Help match host families and exchange students and bring the world closer together, while making a supplemental income.