IFF Homestay Program Rules

Intercultural Friends Foundation (hereinafter “IFF”) is committed to ensuring each student’s safety and welfare while on our programs.  Our dedicated home office staff, field representatives, and host families work hard to ensure that each student has an enjoyable and safe experience on our program.   IFF has established certain program rules to ensure that each student’s experience on our program is as successful, safe, and secure as possible.   Violation of these rules may lead to disciplinary action and possible termination from the IFF Program, at IFF’s sole and absolute discretion. Violations of local, state, or federal laws or serious misbehavior in the host family or the community may lead to prosecution and/or an early repatriation to the home country at the expense of the student’s parents.  No program fees will be refunded for any student that is terminated from an IFF Program for disciplinary reasons

Each student and his/her natural parent/guardian is required to certify that they have reviewed and accepted the IFF Program Rules prior to the commencement of the program.  Students applying directly with IFF will complete this certification as part of the IFF Student Application.  Those students applying through one of our overseas partners will be given a copy of the IFF Program Rules by our partner and must complete the certification prior to acceptance into our program.


If a student is arrested, or if it is reliably confirmed that the student has acted illegally, the student will be dismissed from the IFF Program, resulting in early return as soon as legally possible to the home country at the expense of the student’s parents.  The student’s parents will be responsible for any legal defense of the student, and depending on the severity of the circumstances, may be required to travel to the United States to assume custody of the student.

1. The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, by students is prohibited on the IFF program, and is illegal in most states for persons under 21 years of age.  Any student who is found to be in violation of this rule will be subject to immediate removal from the IFF program.

2. The possession and/or use of tobacco and tobacco products (e.g., “smoking”) are illegal in most states for persons under 18 years of age.   Students under the age of 18 are not permitted to possess or use tobacco products while participating on the IFF program.  Any minor student who is found to use or be in possession of tobacco or tobacco products may be returned home.  If the student is over the age of 18, but has stated in the application that he/she is a non-smoker, he/she must not smoke while participating on the IFF program.   If a student over the age of 18 is found to be a smoker after having stated otherwise, he/she may be returned home. If the student over the age of 18 is a tobacco user, he/she must comply with all smoking restrictions imposed by the host family, host school, any public, or private venue, and state laws.

3. No student may buy, sell, possess, or use illegal drugs of any kind or use any controlled drugs, unless prescribed for him/her by a physician or other health professional.  Any student found to be in violation of this rule will be reported to appropriate authorities and immediately removed from the IFF program.   If a student is taking prescription drugs, the name, dosage, and length of time of use for each drug must be listed on the IFF Medical and Dental Information Form, which is part of the Student Application.

4. Students must not commit or take part in any act of violence against another person or property.

5. Shoplifting and theft are illegal and may lead to criminal charges.

6. Students are not permitted to drive or operate a motor vehicle while participating on the IFF program. This includes, but is not limited to, any car, truck, motorcycle, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), boat, farm equipment, snowmobile, etc.   Driving a car without a driver’s license is illegal in all states.

7. No student may work or perform any job for money while on the IFF program.   It is illegal for students on the Visa Waiver Program or the B-2 Tourist Visa to work while in the United States.


All American host families are volunteers and receive no compensation for hosting a foreign exchange student. Host families participate in the IFF Program out of a genuine desire to enhance their worldview and learn about another culture while sharing the American way of life.  Fees paid are used for program costs and activities as well as administrative and supervisory purposes only.

1. No guarantee is made with regard to placement in a particular kind of host family (for example, a host family of a certain socioeconomic status or with similar-aged children in the home).

2. A private bedroom is not guaranteed. Students may be required to share a room with a host sibling of the same gender.  Only a separate bed is guaranteed.

3. The student must comply with all reasonable rules of the host family (e.g. curfews, chores, visitors, phone calls, Internet use, etc.).

4. The student must keep the host family informed at all times of his/her whereabouts, with whom he/she is associating, and time of departure from and return to the host family’s home.

5. The student must not borrow money from the host family or from any other source.   Students must come with an adequate amount of spending money to last the duration of the IFF program.


Students will generally be expected to participate in all program activities (including school visits or ESL classes, when applicable) unless excused in advance by the IFF Coordinator with permission from the IFF Home Office.  If a student anticipates missing a program activity (e.g., due to accompanying the host family on a trip), the IFF Coordinator must be notified as early as possible.

Students coming on an ESL program will be required to attend all program classes (generally 12 hours per week) unless excused.  ESL students will be expected to participate and complete all class assignments and maintain appropriate classroom behavior at all times.  Any student who is continually disruptive during the ESL classes may be removed from the IFF Program.

Students participating in an IFF program during the academic year (September – June) generally come on a school visit program.  A key component of this program is visiting an American secondary school for a prescribed number of days (check program itinerary for more information with regard to the specific program).  Students will be expected to attend school on those days as prescribed in the program itinerary.  During the school visit, students will be required to comply with all school rules.   The specific attendance in certain classes or subjects is not guaranteed.   On school visit days, students may generally bring a lunch from their host family or purchase lunch in the school cafeteria.

Please click here to download a pdf version of the IFF Student Guidelines.