Host Families

Interested in building a lifelong friendship with someone from another country while broadening your own worldview and learning about another culture? If yes, start today by hosting an IFF student!!! Apply Now to Host an IFF Student!

Why Host an IFF Student?

Since IFF’s inception in 1998, thousands of families like yours have broadened their worldview and made lasting friendships that span an ocean by hosting an IFF student. These relationships have often become so strong that members of former host families have traveled abroad to visit their former student. Likewise, former IFF students often return on their own to visit their former host family. Time and time again, the host family experience has been both enjoyable and rewarding.

About the IFF Hosting Experience

IFF host families are volunteers who open their home to a foreign exchange student during their stay on an IFF program. IFF host families are diverse and come from various demographic, economic, religious, and racial backgrounds. IFF host families include couples with children, couples without children, singles, single parents with children, couples without children, and empty-nesters.

While the exact nature of each hosting experience varies (depending on program type, student origin, length of stay, and program activities), most IFF host families are recruited to host high school-aged (13-18) students who come in groups of 10-15 for short-term 3 to 4-week stays during the summer, spring or fall months. With most of these programs, the IFF students participate in a variety of pre-scheduled program activities (e.g., ESL classes, school visits, excursions, etc.) and remain with the family for the balance of their time. On others, however, students have no scheduled activities and remain with the host family for their entire stay. And on some programs, students stay with a host family for only part of their trip, and in a hotel or college dorm for the remainder to participate in a group tour. No matter what your preference with regard to type of program, IFF likely has an offering that is right for you!

Host Family Responsibilities

You may now be wondering, what would I have to do as an IFF host family? As a host family, you will be committing to the following responsibilities:

Your responsibilities as a host family are to:

  • Provide room and board for your IFF student (i.e., three meals a day and an individual bed for your student – the student may share a room with a host sibling of similar age and the same gender)
  • Follow the advance instructions of the IFF coordinator with regard to student arrival and departure (host families must be at the designated transfer point to pickup and drop-off their student during arrival and departure)
  • Be prepared or make adequate arrangements to transport your student to all scheduled program activities (students will be expected to participate in all scheduled activities unless an exemption has been approved by the IFF Coordinator and home office)
  • Treat your IFF student with respect as you would a member of your family.
  • Take an interest in learning about your student and his or her culture.
  • Provide adequate supervision of your student at all times (the same level of supervision should be given to your IFF student as you would for your own children)
  • Inform the IFF coordinator and IFF home office of any emergencies as soon as practicably possible.
  • Most of all, enjoy your hosting experience!!!

Host families are not expected to provide students with any money. Each IFF student comes with his or her own spending money. In addition, IFF provides health and liability insurance for each student.

Added Benefits

In addition to the great many rewards already mentioned with regard to hosting an IFF student, members of host families are welcome to participate in all program activities (space-permitting) such as group excursions. Furthermore some host students may be able to receive service learning credit (where applicable) for participating in IFF programs.

IFF host families may be eligible for discounts on outbound IFF programs. Finally, you may be eligible for a federal tax deduction for hosting an IFF student.

For more information about hosting an IFF student, please visit our host family frequently asked questions page.

Hosting Brochure

Host Family Guide

Build an Intercultural Friendship – Host an IFF Student!!! Apply Now!