December 12, 2022
Activities and Tips

How to Work With the Best Student Exchange Programs For Host Families

International student exchange provides amazing benefits for both students and host families. 95% of students say that being immersed in another culture had a positive impact on their world view, and host families also enrich their lives by adding another member to their family. If you want to help students have a rewarding experience and expand your own family’s cultural understanding, it’s important that you work with one of the best student exchange programs for host families. 

At AYUSA, we’ve been connecting families and students across the globe for over 40 years. We’ve helped over 40,000 high school students and host families learn about new cultures and gain new family members. We care about helping people learn about new cultures and create lifelong relationships through foreign exchange. 

Keep reading to learn about the top traits of the best student exchange programs and why you should become a host family with AYUSA!

What Makes A Good Student Exchange Program For Host Families?

At AYUSA, we pride ourselves on being one of the best student exchange programs for international student host families. Our years of experience, supportive representatives, and successful matches make us one of the top choices for student exchange programs. A good student exchange program cares about making sure you are prepared for what it means to be a host, and we do just that. We guide you through the entire process and never leave you (or your exchange student) alone! 

Top Traits Of The Best Student Exchange Programs For Host Families

There are some key traits of the best student exchange programs for host families that make programs stand out. These top traits are:

  1. Relationship-focused
  2. Passionate
  3. Unbiased
  4. Communicative
  5. Experienced
  6. Exchange sponsor designated
  7. Supported locally

Check out our breakdown below! 

The Best Student Exchange Programs For Host Families Are Relationship-Focused

Being one of the best student exchange programs means that we have a personal approach to working with families and students. As a non-profit organization, we care about creating quality relationships. Our people are passionate about cultural exchange, and they:

  • Take the time to get to know families and students
  • Build strong networks in local communities
  • Do everything they can to take care of people

The Savage family in Colorado said that Ayusa’s support is what made them prepared to be a host family:

“Preparing us for the unprepared, Ayusa’s presence and reassurance is comforting; we are never alone in this journey.”
Family of four people holds corn dogs and lemonade at the Colorado State Fair.
The Savage family enjoys a day at the Colorado State Fair with their exchange student!

Our community representatives and regional directors take the time to build relationships with you—and they also care about the relationships formed between families and students! 

Passion Makes The Best Foreign Exchange Student Programs For Host Families

The most important trait of the best foreign exchange student programs is passion. We’re passionate about all aspects of global exchange, from helping families grow to developing the next generation of leaders and change-makers. We know that student exchange isn’t just connecting cultures—it’s connecting friends, sisters, daughters, brothers, sons, and family. High school student exchange programs are shaping the future and shaping everyday lives. 

The Best Student Exchange Programs For Host Families Provide Unbiased Conflict Resolution

Hosting a foreign exchange student can create stress for both host and student. With our 40 years of experience, we’ve seen our fair share of conflict. At Ayusa, we don’t hold our students or hosts to unrealistic expectations. Instead, we use open and solution-based communication to fix problems and help relationships come out stronger. 

Communication Is Important To The Best Student Exchange Programs For Host Families

The best student exchange programs for host families value open and consistent communication. Exchange programs should be honest about their student and host requirements, provide ongoing support, and be involved throughout the whole process. 

The Best Foreign Exchange Student Programs For Host Families Have Years Of Experience

When working with a foreign exchange student program, it’s important that the program has years of experience and knows how to handle every situation. 

Here at AYUSA, we have over 4 decades of experience and have seen everything! Our team has grown to be international, and we’ve received over 50 grants from the US Department of State. We were selected to administer high-quality exchange programs (check out the breakdown below)!

Our years of experience mean that we take care of the hard stuff so you can focus on being a loving family to your exchange student. Working with a program with years of experience helps you focus on the fun things to do with your exchange student—we’re here to support you with everything else!

The Best Student Exchange Programs Provide Local Support Networks

When you host an exchange student, it’s important to have ongoing and accessible support. That’s why we have community representatives who enhance the exchange experience by staying involved with families and students. They check-in monthly and are available on short notice for questions that pop up. Our representatives are cultural exchange experts and are passionate about helping hosts and students have the best experience possible!

The James family was able to focus on playing games, laughing, and sharing stories because of support from their AYUSA representative:

“Ayusa has been a wonderful organization to work with. I know my representative is there for whatever questions or concerns we might have, and they do all the heavy lifting. All we have to do is open our hearts and our home.”

Why You Should Become A Student Exchange Host Family

Interested in becoming a host family? You’re not alone. Many American families are turning to student exchange because of the benefits! In one survey, a third of host families found that hosting a foreign student enhanced their own existing family setting. Along with that, you’ll also gain these benefits:

  1. Expand your family: When you host an exchange student, you’re not just helping a student—you’re gaining another family member! Many families and students maintain strong relationships for years after their exchange program.
  2. Learn about new cultures: You have the opportunity to teach your exchange student about your family’s culture and holidays, and your student can do the same for your family! 
  3. Gain a new perspective: Cultural exchange is the perfect way to get to know how someone else views the world. You will increase your family’s global understanding and compassion for others!
  4. Make a difference: When you support an exchange student, you help them have the experience of a lifetime and enhance their education. Your support also extends throughout the community, schools, and other families. 

Expand Your Family

One of the top reasons to become an international student host family is that you gain another family member! The Mitchell family shared their memorable year with their exchange daughter Hanna, who quickly became a big sister to their daughter Caitlin. When Hanna graduated, she got to have two sets of parents cheering her on from the crowd.

The Bauer family has been hosting students for six years and also sees each student as a member of the family, even when they return home: 

“Your heart really loves these kids and not just for when they are here but even when they are home. I will love each of our kids forever.” 

The connections formed when you become a host family are magical and life changing. Many families say that student exchange gave them another person to love. When you want to add another member to your family, contact us to start hosting!

Learn About New Cultures

Students and families break cultural barriers and learn to understand other perspectives! Host April Bray from Texas shared that she was an international exchange student herself when she was 16, and the experience was so life changing that she wants to help others have the same experience:

“I want to be able to be a part of that journey for an international student. I also want my own children to be exposed and have an appreciation of other cultures.”
 Group of family members stands in front of the Field Museum.
The Bray family visits the Field Museum in Chicago!

Our host families find it eye-opening to learn about the different places students come from and how everyday things that seem normal may be totally new for a student! If you want to enrich your family’s cultural understanding and teach a student your culture, request more info today!

Gain A New Perspective

Hosting a student from a different country lets you learn about the different ways people experience life. The Savage family found that hosting helped them grow personally and understand the different life experiences that other people have:

“Hosting enhances the lenses in which we experience the world. Not only do we provide space for a student to widen their global view, the opportunity gifts host families with a unique, front row seat to diversity and inclusion.” 

Seeing the world through the eyes of someone else broadens your understanding and enriches your family—contact us to learn more! 

Make A Difference

Being a host family has many effects—on your own family and more! Hosting a student makes a difference in their life by giving them the opportunity of a lifetime and teaching them the culture of your family. Other students and community members are also affected as they get to know your student! 

Student exchange also positively affects the U.S. economy by bringing talent to the U.S. and supports national security goals by creating global understanding. International students contribute almost $41 billion to the U.S. economy! While the experience of being a host family is very personal, you’ll also be making a huge impact outside of your home. 

What’s It Like To Be A Host Family?

Being an exchange student host family is one of the most enriching and rewarding things you can do. Families who host an exchange student bring culture to their doorstep and form loving relationships. They learn new things every day from their student and in return, they teach their student their own culture and provide them with amazing opportunities. 

Does this sound like the right experience for you? Find out how to get started on becoming a host family below or contact us now to get started! 

How To Become A Host Family

Ready to become a host family? We’re here to make sure you’re prepared! To become a host family for exchange students, you need to provide the four core comforts of home:

  1. A comfy and safe place to live for 5 to 10 months
  2. Three healthy and balanced meals per day
  3. Reliable transportation
  4. Enthusiasm and welcoming from the entire family

Once you know you can meet those requirements, it’s time to prepare to be a host. It’s important to:

  • Discuss the pros and cons with family
  • Decide the contribution of each household member
  • Make a communication plan

Every family member should be prepared and excited to host an exchange student. Host families can create a plan to make sure the exchange student feels welcome to avoid homesickness or alienation. Whether you are a family of six or two, hosting is a great experience for all family dynamics! 

Meet Our Students

When you’re ready to have the experience of a lifetime, it’s time to meet our students

At Ayusa, we hold our students to high standards. They have strong academic and interpersonal skills, like:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Leadership
  • English language proficiency
  • Strong academic performance
  • Open-mindedness

Our students must also complete a health check for required immunizations. 

Hosting an exchange student makes a difference in their life, and helps both of you gain cultural understanding of people from across the globe. Eman, a student from Pakistan who lived in Idaho, found that student exchange was one of the best decisions because of the clear and different perspective you gain:

“You learn that the world is not the desolate and awful place it is so often made out to be, because people all over the world have hopes, dreams, struggles and fears just like you. Everyone is inherently different, and yet, so very similar."

Head over and meet our students to get to know them and find a good fit for your family! 

Work With The Best Student Exchange Program For Host Families

Becoming a host family is a rewarding and exciting experience—you’ll gain cultural understanding, learn about different perspectives, and even add a new member to your family. Working with the best student exchange program for host families makes sure that you and your student have the best experience possible! That’s why we’re here. 

Here at AYUSA, we pride ourselves on having the traits of the very best student exchange programs. We’re here for you during the entire process and support you with the hard stuff, so you can focus on creating a welcoming environment and opening your heart. Get started on working with Ayusa with these steps:

  1. Read stories from other host families
  2. Meet our students
  3. Request information to get connected with a representative
  4. Complete a hosting application with the help of your representative
  5. Choose a student that matches your family’s interests
  6. Get ready to host!

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ for families. 

Ready to become a host family and make a difference in a student’s life? Contact us to get started! Call us at 888.552.9872 or email us directly. We can’t wait to join you on your journey!

Sharing cultures and building communities with high school exchange.

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