Hosting has been such an amazing experience! The memories we’ve made and the things we’ve all learned are countless. Our family is blessed beyond measure to have this experience.

Mom and Son Shutterstock

Share Your World

Become a Host Family

Our Host Families Make it All Possible

By hosting an exchange student, you build lasting relationships, open doors to new opportunities, promote a positive image of America abroad, and cultivate international friendship and goodwill.

Our host families receive in-person attention from our field staff and are allowed a choice in the selection of students that will live with them. The requirements for becoming an ISE host family are:

  • A sincere desire among all family members to embrace learning about a different culture

  • Enjoyment of helping young people develop confidence and a global perspective

  • The ability to provide a warm, stable, and nurturing home for a student from another country


Your World!

Interested in a cultural exchange? Here are 7 reasons to consider hosting an exchange student.


How Does Hosting Work?

During the program, host parents treat their new son or daughter exactly as they would their own children. Students immerse themselves in American culture by participating in family meals, gatherings, outings, holidays, household chores, etc. By the time the program ends, the student will have become a part of the very fabric of your family.

Why Would I Host?

International friendship grows best when it’s personal. You can help shape the image of America abroad while bringing awareness and understanding of foreign cultures to our local communities. Host families also encourage friendship, understanding, and curiosity in local schools while enriching their own day-to-day family life.

Who Can Host a Student?

There’s no such thing as a “typical” host family. Single-parent families, retired couples, families with young children, and families with teenagers have all had successful hosting experiences. The most important criteria for a host family is a genuine interest to share American culture with a foreign student while caring for the well-being of the student.

Marie's Journey

One Student's Cultural Exchange Experience

Follow one of our international exchange students as she gives us a glimpse into what our cultural exchange program is all about. Cultures are shared, memories are made, and - most importantly - worldwide friendships are forged.

Frequently Asked Questions

According to the United States Department of State, all host families must be volunteers and are not eligible for payment. In many cases, families are eligible for a tax deduction of $50 per month in exchange for hosting. The real reward is the memories and friendships you allow your family, community, and international student to experience.

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.

Yes. It is required that all students must be able to speak English and are screened for proficiency prior to their acceptance into the program.

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 cooperation, 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.

Cultural Exchange Chronicles

Read more about the experience of hosting an exchange student with ISE