Who can host?

Host families vary all over the United States.  From married, single, empty nesters, young kids, teenage kids or no kids - HSUSA welcomes any host able to provide a safe home, three square meals, and loving support.  The best host families are open to how an experience with an exchange student will positively impact their family.

Happy Healthy Home

A bed, a place to study, and a place they can call "home."

Healthy Meals

Three a day.  They know to bring money for food with friends; host families provide the basics.


This can mean the public school bus or the host family or friends provide rides for where the student needs to go.

Welcoming Spirit

Listen to them, guide them, and love them.  Learn from them and treat them as your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are host families responsible for?

Host families provide a safe and caring environment for the student, a bedroom and bed and three meals a day.

How do I become a host a HSUSA foreign exchange student?

Here are the steps to host a foreign exchange student:

  1. Contact High School In the USA (HSUSA) or fill out the Host Family Application Request Form.
  2. We will then send you more information, as well as our host family application. This will allow you to tell us about your family, household and lifestyle.
  3. Since safety is our priority, all potential host families must pass a background check and home check.
  4. Once accepted, you will be able to work with a local area representative to select an exchange student.
How old are the exchange students?

Students are between 15 and 18 years old when they arrive in the US.

Do HSUSA exchange students speak English?

Yes.  Students are tested on their English proficiency before coming on their exchange.  Our overseas partners and our Nashville staff screen student for English proficiency, academic strength, maturity, and that they are coming on exchange for the right reasons.  The "right" reasons students come on exchange are for the cultural experience and having positive relationships with their host family, host school, and host community.

What does a typical host family look like?

Truly, there is no typical family.  Parents with young children, parents with teenagers, and empty-nexters make great host families.  Some of our best host families are single parents, retired couples, and newly weds without children.  Most important is the hosts ability to provide a safe, caring environment, personal space the student can call their own (bedroom and bed), three meals a day.  Interest, curiosity, patience and capacity to support are attributes that help for a successful experience.

How long will the student live with our family?

The exchange year is 10 months and the student arrives a few days to a week before the school year starts and leaves a few days to a week after the school year ends.  A small percentage of students are on a semester program and then have a five-month stay.

When is the best time to apply to host?
The short answer:  As soon as you're ready! 
We receive most of our student applications in the fall of the previous school year.  On January 1 of each year, we open the flood gates - we give the screened host families the first opportunity to select their student or students from the applicants.  We receive exchange student applications until March 31st and will allow exceptions when we have interested host families.
Plan A:  Become a screened host family before January 1st.  Working with your Local Coordinator, select your student between January and March.  April - August, get to know your student and prepare for a great year!
Plan B:  It's between April and August and you would like to host.  GREAT, there's still time!  Connect with your Local Coordinator, become a screened host family, and make one of the students on our waiting list's dream come true.

How are host families screened?

HSUSA puts top priority on safety for the students in our program.  All of our host families go through a screening process to ensure the student's safety that includes:

  1. A criminal background check.  We simply email you a link to the service that conducts background checks for HSUSA.
  2. A home visit.  Our Local Coordinator comes by to assure the safety and general "picked-up-ness" of your home.
  3. Three character reference calls.

What are the expenses of hosting a HSUSA student?

Host families provide room and board, basic transportation and family activities. Students pay for their own school supplies and expenses, clothing, entertainment, shopping, and extracurricular activities. Due to Department of State regulations, host families are not paid but are rewarded with an experience of a lifetime.

Will my exchange student have health insurance?

Yes, exchange students are covered for the duration of their stay in the United States.  They and their natural family are responsible for any additional medical costs.

Do I get paid to host an exchange student?

No, all of our host families are volunteers. Families are eligible for a tax deduction for hosting a student. If you are looking for paid opportunities within the HSUSA exchange program, consider becoming a Local Coordinator.

What about training and orientation?

Wouldn't it be great if children came with instruction booklets?  Well exchange students do... and more.  At HSUSA, our mission is to create a fantastic cross cultural experience for host families and exchange students and we excel in the industry of student exchange because of our preparatory services.  We offer video training for host families to prepare them for the joys and challenges of hosting.  We require that HSUSA students take our cultural preparation courses, teaching them the nuances of respect, gratitude, and other principles of a successful assimilation.  Required by the Department of State, every family must have an orientation before and after the student arrives.   And finally, our Local Coordinators live in your community or one nearby and are available to support you.  We even have 24-hour emergency support.

Can I host more than one exchange student?

Yes. Some families prefer the experience of hosting two exchange students at a time. To host two students, the students must come from different countries and speak different native languages.

Are host families responsible for enrolling their HSUSA student in school?

Yes.  HSUSA will first get permission from the high school to accept your exchange student.  Your family will fill out the same paperwork at the beginning of the school year as you would for your own children. You and your student will meet with the counselor to determine the classes your student will take. HSUSA Local Coordinators can offer help and assistance.