Host An Exchange Student

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Our host families
are at the heart of everything we do

Welcoming a foreign exchange student to your family is rewarding in so many ways. You can share your family's American way of life with a student from another culture, connect to your community in exciting new ways, and bring the world into your home. The Ford family gained a new daughter. Watch their story!



Our host families represent the diversity of American culture, but they all share one thing: their lives have been changed by welcoming exchange students into their homes. Read about some of our wonderful host families below.

Obrochta Family

For the Obrochtas, hosting an exchange student was the perfect way to introduce their own teenage children to other cultures. They found a friend for life along the way.

Ford Family

Janice and Kevin know its the little things you do together as a family that become the most unforgettable memories. They love sharing their own family traditions while learning about another culture.

Garcia-Stokes Family

Wade and Jesse Garcia love to travel and wanted to expand their family- after hosting five exchange students, they have family all over the world.

Nettles Family

The Nettles family in Alabama found that hosting helped them appreciate American culture as they shared it with an international exchange student.

Carlson Family

Karen Carlson has hosted with EF for more than 30 years. From watching movies with Karen’s grandchildren or shopping for prom. Her students love being part of her American family!

Adkins-Reffit Family

The Adkins-Reffit family started hosting EF exchange students because their daughter wanted an older sibling. Now, exchange students feel like part of the family!


questions every host family has

It's The
Simple Things

For our exchange students, it's the little things that make their year: making s'mores, going to a high school football game, dancing the night away at prom. Hosting an exchange student doesn't take anything fancy — just a warm, welcoming spirit and the love you'd give to your own family.


How Student Exchange Works

Below is an overview of how our exchange program works, from accepting the best international students, to finding and screening all our amazing host families, all the way through the exchange year itself.

Exchange Student

Application: A student applies to EF High School Exchange Year and is guided through the process by their local EF office. The student selection process is thorough and competitive; it includes academic transcripts, teacher recommendations, an English evaluation, an interview, and more.

Program acceptance: Once the student's application is approved, EF High School Exchange Year officially accepts them into the program. Next we find them a host family, with the help of local exchange coordinators across the U.S. and EF staff in Boston.

Next stop USA: After a thorough preparation in their home country and an EF orientation when they first arrive in the U.S., the student heads on to their host family to start their life-changing exchange year in America!

Part of a global family: Over the course of their exchange year and beyond, the student becomes much more than a guest in their host family's home; they're part of one big global family.

Host Family

Application: Families who express an interest in hosting are guided through an application process by a local exchange coordinator in their community and EF staff in our Boston office. The screening process includes a home visit, an in-person interview, an online application, and a background check.

Choosing your student: Once you have been accepted into our program as a host family, your local coordinator will share with you the profiles of students looking for host families in the U.S. Together, you and your coordinator will find the perfect match.

Student arrival: Your student arrives before the start of the school semester, marking the start of a life-changing experience for everyone. Throughout the year, EF is available to support host families and students 24/7.

More than just a student: While your student is here in the U.S., they'll become like a true member of the family. And it doesn't end there; they'll be your family from across the globe for years and years to come.



questions every host family has

Hosting an exchange student is an incredibly rewarding experience and life-changing experience in so many ways. It’s a chance for you and your family to learn about new cultures, create lasting friendships, and bring the world into your home and community. And for the student you welcome into your family, you’re providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ll treasure forever.

There is no 'typical' host family! Our families represent the diversity of American culture, and we encourage families of all shapes and sizes to host.
Some families have young or teenage children, while others may be empty-nesters or newlyweds. We've had single parents, same-sex couples,
and grandparents all be wonderful hosts.

All our host families are volunteers, and we've found that those who truly enjoy the experience are caring, open-minded people who want to learn more
about other cultures while sharing their American life with a student from across the globe.

Host families provide the student with room and board, and are expected to treat their student as a member of a family, not as a guest. Students cover their own travel costs, health insurance, school expenses, cell phone, and spending money. EF and the U.S. Department of State also designate certain requirements of all host families. For example, host parents should be at least 25 years of age or older. Let us know if you are interested and we will help you determine if your family meets our program requirements!

Host families are not paid. According the U.S. Department of State, host families cannot receive financial gain from their participation in a student exchange program. This rule is designed to ensure that host families are participating in the program for the right reasons. However, in recognition of their role as citizen ambassadors, all host families are eligible to receive a charitable tax deduction on their tax return.

EF exchange students come from countries across Europe and Asia.

Yes, our coordinators and full-time staff will work with you to find the perfect student match. We have spent more than 30 years matching over 100,000 students to their American host families. If you have an idea of what type of student would fit best in your family, let's talk about it!

We are committed to making sure that our exchange students and host families have a great experience. If problems ever arise, you can rely on your local exchange coordinator, regional coordinator, and full-time EF staff in Boston to be there for you. In the rare case that we can’t all resolve the issue together, EF High School Exchange Year will find the student a new home.

EF exchange students come to the U.S. for either one semester (beginning in September or January) or one school year (usually September to June, though it depends on your school district).

We are always looking for local exchange coordinator and host family recruiters. Additionally, we offer referral incentives for each family or coordinator you refer to our program. If you're interested in joining our program, give us a call at 1 (800) 447 4273 or let us know the best time to reach you!

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