There’s no such thing as the “typical” host family. Our volunteers come from all over the country and represent the depth and diversity of American culture. From coast to coast and everywhere in-between, the individuals and families that share their lives with our students make a difference both locally and globally.
Exchange students are 15-18 years old when they enter the U.S and come from over 40 countries around the world. Our representatives do our best to match families with students that are most closely aligned with their hobbies and interests. Students are interviewed prior to acceptance and are screened on positive demeanor, language proficiency, eagerness to learn about American culture, and academic performance.
Because the goal of this program is a full immersion not only into American culture but also into their American family, exchange students are expected to adapt to their host family’s lifestyle. Students respect family rules, chores, and guidelines and in return only ask to be treated like a member of the family.
Exchange students cover their own travel expenses and arrive fully-insured with their own spending money as mandated by our program rules. This money covers things like extracurricular activities, phone bills, clothing, school lunches, recreation, etc. Host families are required to provide exchange students with a bedroom and place to study and be financially secure enough to comfortably host a teenager in their home. The U.S. Department of State also designates certain requirements of all host families. To find out if your family is eligible, contact your local representative today.
Each and every ISE host family is assigned a personal representative that can assist with any issues you may experience throughout your program and offer helpful advice and guidance along the way. In the event of a misunderstanding, families and students have access to a support network made up of your representative, local office staff, and 24-7 support team located at our central office. If the issue cannot be resolved through our expert support staff, a new placement for the student will be arranged.
If you can’t host but want to promote tolerance, understanding, and friendship in your local community, you can become an Area Representative. Our representatives help us recruit and support our volunteers and students. In addition to making their communities a more welcoming and interesting place, Area representatives receive generous bonus payments for each successful placement and can also earn all-expense paid international travel opportunities.
I have hosted 7 now going on 8 next year. All amazing and wonderful experiences. I have learned as much or more than the students and have added 7 new children to my family. My granddaughter loves all her new aunts and uncles from around the world. Highly recommend the experience.AnnHost Mother
I cannot begin to put into words just what the exchange experience is like as a host family. Our precious first exchange “daughter” came to us from Germany arriving this past August. She has brought so much joy to our family and we’ve made memories together that will bridge the physical distance when she returns to her home country. We look forward to hosting our 2nd exchange “daughter” who will come to us from Thailand.KatrinaHost Mother
Our 4th host son arrives soon! People just do not understand how wonderful this program is! I will continue to host until I am old!KimHost Mother
When 17-year-old Marnouk Van der Laan arrived in Indiana last Sunday, she immediately noticed one thing. “I saw a lot of cornfields,” she said. “A lot of cornfields.” But even with all of the agriculture surrounding it, Van der Laan said Seymour is much larger than her hometown of Numansdorp, a small village in the…
Ever wondered what it’s like to participate in a high school cultural exchange program? We followed one of our foreign exchange students for an entire semester. She played sports, went to her homecoming, made friends, and became a member of her host family. Watch “Marie’s Journey” to experience a glimpse of ISE cultural exchange.
Esther Williams is an area representative in northern California. She is a stay-at-home mom of five. She is also a former exchange student who, just after high school, spent a year in Hiroshima, Japan. “I had lots of fond memories, and I was thinking a lot about my time there, and how I missed it…