Become a Host Family

Host Family FAQs


Where do participants come from?
IFYE program participants come to the U.S. from Europe, Latin America, Asia, South America, and the Pacific.

What do IFYEs do?
IFYE stresses family living as the heart of the learning experience, offering young people the chance to experience other cultures through personal involvement in the homes, schools, and communities of their host countries. IFYEs are expected to join in almost all aspects of U.S. family life - sharing quiet moments, as well as taking on household and family chores, celebrating birthdays and holidays, enjoying family vacations, and participating in community activities.

What will I have to provide as a host family?
Room and board, love and understanding, care, and guidance.

How long would an IFYE stay with my family?
Approximately three to four weeks in your home; a lifetime in your memories

What do host families do?
Host families play a unique role in helping participants discover daily life in a new country. They welcome the IFYE into their homes as a member of the family, rather than as a guest or tourist. In turn, the IFYE shares in most daily activities, just as a natural son or daughter. The family is responsible for introducing their young person to American culture through the normal support of a caring, understanding family. Host families provide affection, meals, a bed, and more - just as they would for their own family members.

Must I have children of my own to be a host family?
No. Host families are of all sizes and backgrounds. Families with young children at home, grown children, and no children have all hosted international youth successfully. The most important qualification is a love of young people.

What expenses will I have to pay?
Host families are expected to pay only for food and housing. The young person will bring their own money for incidental expenses.

Will we be paid?
Families who volunteer to host exchangees receive no compensation. We believe that to put the relations on a fee-for-service basis undermines the quality of the experience and adversely affects the basic aims of the program. Families are not selected on the basis of wealth, but on the capacity for caring and their capabilities for showing and sharing qualities that have made our country as it is. Just as importantly, IFYEs are selected for their desire to participate in a family living situation.

What do we get out of this?
Your family gains while giving. For U.S. families, the program offers an opportunity to host an international young person and to watch that person and the entire family grow in understanding of and sensitivity to another culture. Opening your home and heart to an international exchange participant can be an enlightening and rewarding experience for any family willing to take on the opportunity. You not only share your way of life but you learn about another.

How may my family become a host family?
If your family is interested in becoming a host family for the IFYE Association of the USA, please contact National IFYE Program Director Melissa Haberstroh for more information.