Host a Student
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can host an exchange student?
- Do the students speak English?
- How are students selected?
- Why does the program use volunteers?
- What are our responsibilities as a host family?
- What are the student’s financial responsibilities?
- Where do the students go to school?
- Can we select our own student and how do we choose?
- Do the students have health insurance?
- What role do we play?
- Is it really as good as you say?
- I'm ready to learn more. What's next?
- Why aren't host families being paid? (Video)
- How successful was Student Exchange at matching a student with a host family? (Video)
- What were the main challenges? (Video)
- Why host an exchange student? (Video)
- What is required to be a host family? (Video)
- Support system for host families and exchange students (Video)
- Handling the responsibility of hosting an exchange (Video)
- How did the rest of the family react? (Video)
- Choosing a student exchange organisation (Video)
Our host families come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ages. Retired couples, single parents with or without children, couples with primary school children, couples with teenagers and a family pet…all can apply to become a host family and all can benefit in many ways from the exchange experience.
Students have all been tested and speak English well enough to attend classes at a local school. As with any non-native speaker, there may be a period at the beginning of the exchange where they need extra help and patience as they get used to speaking and hearing English.
We work with partner organisations around the world with which we have long standing relationships. Every new student is interviewed, their medical and academic records are checked and references are always required. Students come from over 15 countries, are usually aged between 15 and 18 years old and their natural parents must have the financial means to support them while on exchange. Each student comes with a passport and return ticket plus money to cover personal expenses and school costs.
We are a registered, non-profit student exchange organisation. Regulations governing exchange programs in Australia prohibit payment of host families. The programs operate on a reciprocal basis that allows Aussie and Kiwi students to benefit from the same opportunities overseas. Our not-for-profit status is also a regulatory requirement and means that our accounts are audited by an independent auditor each year and lodged with regulatory authorities. Click here to view more information explaining the government regulations on student exchange programs.
Exchange programs help promote international understanding and good will and depend on the good will of a number of participants. Volunteers help to look after the students while they are here and provide additional support services. The combined result is that many more students from around the world can share in the experience of living and studying in another culture.
Your basic responsibility is to welcome the student as a member of your family and to provide the same care and support you would give to your own children. We ask that you provide a bed and two to three meals a day. Students assume the normal responsibilities as a member of your family and are expected to undertake the same simple chores you would expect your own children to do.
Any school expenses incurred by exchange students are their own responsibility –school fees, uniforms and all equipment required by the school. Students are expected to have access to a minimum of $150 to $200 a month to cover personal expenses and all ongoing school costs. Students are responsible for the cost of all personal telephone calls they make and internet charges if applicable.
Exchange students will go to the local secondary school in your area. Our local coordinator will arrange the initial approval after discussion with your family and then we ask you to assist with finalising the enrolment details when the student arrives.
We will provide you with profiles of students which will include information on their interests and family background, and a ‘letter’written to you as a prospective host family. This will often give you a special insight into the student which will help your decision. You then make a decision based on the students available.
All students have overseas student health insurance cover with the same benefits to the student as Medicare.
We provide a local coordinator who will live nearby. Trained by us, this person provides support to the host family and the student. Full time staff are available 24 hours a day in case of an emergency. We arrange transport for the student to the nearest main airport when they arrive. We also provide you with handbooks and other information.
We’re probably biased, but YES! We can have you talk to families who tell us how their lives changed by participating in student exchange. Having said that we wouldn’t dare say your semester or year would be without its problems –after all you are welcoming a teenager into your home. But we find host families cope well and help students through any problems they have and we are here to support you locally and at the national level.
Please telephone us on 1300 135 331 (in Australia) or 0800 440 079 (in New Zealand) to request more information. We’ll send you details on students who will be coming to Australia and New Zealand soon and as well as information on how you can become a host family.