Host Family Guide. Enriching lives one student at a time!

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1 Host Family Guide Enriching lives one student at a time!

2 What is AmeriStudent? AmeriStudent is a committed community working together to help students meet their full potential. At AmeriStudent, we strive to provide the ideal learning environment for students studying abroad in the United States. We want our students to feel equipped, safe and well provided for, so that they can focus on what they came for, an education. We work together to provide our students with the encouragement and support they need to achieve their goals and dreams. We can t wait to see what the future holds for these talented students! Our team consists of facilitators, administrators, teachers, families and students who are all a vital part of the AmeriStudent community. AmeriStudent is you... if you are ready. What sets us apart from other companies? AmeriStudent has many of the same qualities that make other international educational services successful. We just do things a little bit better. By using smarter technology, Ameristudent has set itself apart from the crowd. Through the use of our technological platform, our students and their parents will have the opportunity to pick the family with whom they wish to live. Our students will enjoy having the opportunity to create the ideal home stay match by taking a tour of prospective homes without leaving their home country. Parents will have many of their concerns alleviated by the opportunity to hold a meet and greet from thousands of miles away. AmeriStudent has revolutionized the study abroad experience by opening it up to 21st century technology. 1

3 Why host? There are many reasons to host an international student. The opportunity to provide a safe and accepting environment for a student who has traveled far from home, often for the first time, is good for the heart and soul of one s family. The globalization of the world, and the growth of study abroad programs have allowed families from around the world to share their unique experiences with one another and broaden their global perspective. Most families continue to host after their first year, because the experience is so fulfilling. When a family opens up its home and heart to a child from another country they have an opportunity to be goodwill ambassadors. If the host family warmly embraces their international student a bond will be formed that lasts a lifetime. Hosting is not for everyone, but it is a uniquely wonderful opportunity for every family with an extra room and a hospitable, loving attitude. Will I receive a stipend for hosting? Yes! It is important to us that our hosts are fairly compensated for this important responsibility. The stipend amount and financial expectations will be discussed in greater detail when an interested party contacts an AmeriStudent representative. AmeriStudent will clearly explain every aspect of the host s expectations at its prospective host meetings. Will there be a system of background checks? Yes! Our main priority is the child s and host family s safety. We are required to complete background checks for all adult members of the host family and study abroad students aged 18 and older. We want to ensure that the hosting experience is as safe as possible for everyone involved. Each host home will be inspected by an AmeriStudent representative to make sure that the living quarters meet our expectations. Would I make a great host? Do you have a warm and inviting family? Is your home clean and comfortable? Do you enjoy bringing new people into your home? Would you make a concerted effort to make someone from a foreign country feel more at ease? If you answered yes to those questions, you would make a perfect host. We invite families from all walks of life to try their hand at hosting international students. We want our platform to include a wide spectrum of families. We don t want to exclude any families who believe they can be amazing hosts. How long do I host? Most students stay for ten months (August through May). Students are able to return to the same host family the following year if it is a good fit. 2

4 Will students have all their paperwork to legally study abroad? Yes, all students will have the student visa necessary to legally study in a foreign country. Each student must hold a current Form I-20, which is otherwise known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status-For Academic and Language Students. This form will have more details about the school where they will be studying, and how long they are allowed to stay in the country. Because students are in the US on a student visa, they are not allowed to work. What are some of the responsibilities of a host family? Beyond the importance of creating a warm and accepting environment, host families are asked to furnish a clean room with a quality bed, plenty of light, a desk, a chair, and a dresser or closet. You must also provide three meals a day. The exception to this is if the student chooses to buy their lunch at school. You are not expected to pay for their school lunch if you provide food for them to make a lunch. You must also provide an internet connection and access to the web. If the educational institution does not offer transportation, you will need to arrange travel to and from campus. A supportive and welcoming environment, one in which you are openminded and accepting of the student s worldviews and perspectives will make for a pleasant experience for both the student and the host family. 3

5 Will the student be expected to follow our house rules? Yes! When your student first arrives you will need to go over any rules that you have in your home. Ameristudent provides an easy to use template. The student you host should be courteous, respectful, and willing to take part in any household chores. This includes keeping his or her room clean and tidy. The student should also try to get into the routine of your family s daily life. If you are trying to save energy and water, your study abroad student should be mindful of this fact. You may, or may not, want to give the student their own set of house keys depending on each parties schedules. Transportation requests should be reasonable. Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use are forbidden. Discussing these issues earlier rather than later will make for a more enjoyable experience. Your host family representative with help guide you through any potential challenges. Will the student have insurance? Yes! Each student will have all the proper medical and accident insurance coverage. You will receive the insurance information that you need when a student arrives. This information will provide detailed information about the coverage so that there are absolutely no questions or concerns. Will the student need money for personal expenses? Yes, the student is required to have money for personal expenses, either in the form of cash, credit card or a prepaid debit card. Host families are not expected to spend money on personal items that their student may need. Anything that falls outside the scope of food and lodging (entertainment, school supplies, personal items, clothing) is the responsibility of the student. 4

6 Can I host more than one student at a time? Ameristudent is not opposed to a host family housing more than one student if the accommodations allow for each student to have their own room. We just require prior notice to notify our students parents. Will I have to pay additional taxes for hosting? A 1099 will be issued to the host family for the stipend. Ameristudent provides access to tools for tracking expenses and mileage. Please consult with your tax professional for further advice. It s our sincerest hope that our host families are blessed by the experience as well as the stipend. Can any family host an international student? All families are welcome to apply to be a host family for Ameristudent. Ameristudent looks for families that can provide safety, structure and a loving home for our students. An AmeriStudent representative will also visit your home a second time within the first few months of your student s arrival. We conduct these checks to confirm everyone is comfortable and on the right track. What are the guidelines regarding transportation? Host families are required to provide or arrange any and all school related transportation for the student. 5

7 Can international students drive their own car or vehicle? Due to the liability for the guardian and host family, high school students in the Ameristudent program will not be allowed to drive. When will my international student arrive? Students are placed with host families year-round. Host families will receive arrival information as soon as it becomes available. Will I have legal guardianship of the student? Ameristudent is the student s legal guardian while studying in the US. Ameristudent holds commitment highly from host families as the primary caregivers. Is there legal documentation between AmeriStudent and the host family? Yes, all host families will be required to sign a contract that outlines the terms and conditions of hosting for Ameristudent. What are the guidelines concerning students traveling? Ameristudent will review and discuss travel plans with the student and their parents to guide them through the process and give permission if granted. As the legal guardian, the most important concern is for our students safety. 6

8 What should I do when the student arrives? An Ameristudent representative will schedule a meet and greet tour with the host and student to go over pertinent information and to assist the host family to welcome the student into their home. Please refer to your welcome package for specifics or call your Ameristudent representative with any questions. When will my international student leave? Our international students are scheduled to attend school 10 months out of the year. However, we are a year-round program that provides hosting opportunities throughout the year. Will AmeriStudent stay in contact with the host families? Ameristudent ensures consistant and reliable communication with its representatives. AmeriStudent representatives will have regular contact with both the host and the student to make sure everything is going well for both parties. Will there ever be a time that I cannot reach a representative? Ameristudent has staff after regular business hours to assist you with any emergencies! Host families are encouraged to reach out to their representatives when difficult situations arise. What happens if the student has academic or behavioral issues? AmeriStudent has stringent policies and protocols in place to ensure that academic and behavioral expectations are clearly defined and followed. If hosts experience a problem with academic or behavioral issues, they should contact a representative at AmeriStudent to make an official report. What if it does not work out between the student and host? An Ameristudent representative will coordinate a series of interventions to resolve any issues that arise, while the student is in your home. This mediation will include resolution tactics, problem-solving, cultural and linguistic mitigation. As a last resort, if a resolution is not reached the student can be moved to another homestay. 7

9 What happens if our family has to go out of town? What are some of the rules regarding phone use? In the event that a host family has to go out of town, our Homestay Department will assist in placing the student into a short term homestay on a case-by-case basis. On certain occasions the host family may be granted permission to invite the student on the trip with a signed permission letter from the student s family. What should I do if the student wants to spend time with friends? Amerstudent encourages a healthy social life for students and host families, as long as safety guidelines are followed. Students are required to provide a contact s name and number if and when spending time with friends. Are host families responsible for truancies and tardiness? Ameristudent requires the host family to report any absences or tardies to the student s school and their Ameristudent representative any time the student misses school. Any and all communication from the school to the host family should be provided to their Ameristudent representative. Our international students are required to have their own mobile phone plan. They rarely will have a need to use your home phone. They most often use their computers to communicate with their parents, so internet access is important. If they do require use of the landline, it is important that they use a collect calling service or a telephone card to make long distance calls. When it comes to personal cell phone use, the student will be asked to speak quietly at times when other family members may be sleeping. What are the rules concerning curfews? Curfews will be enforced during the week to ensure that students get sufficient rest. On weekends, however, the curfew may be more flexible. What should I do if an international student has certain dietary or health needs? In the event that the student has special dietary or health needs AmeriStudent will advise the host family prior to the student arriving to the US. While this may present some initial adjustments, Ameristudent will ensure that your consultant will assist you through this process. 8

10 So what are the steps for becoming a host? The first step is to fill out our host application. This application will go over basic information, and because it is very important for the approval process, we ask each potential host to be as honest and straightforward as possible. Hosts will also be required to give a detailed description of their home life. They will need to include how many children are living in the home, the number of pets cared for, and any other unique family characteristics. Ideally, we want our potential host families to be as candid as possible in this section of the application. After all, our goal is to find the perfect match for the student and the family. An important part of the application process is the background check. We will be checking each adult family member s background for criminal activity or other misconduct. We may use more than one resource to check the backgrounds of our potential host families. We will always ask permission before we do the checks, but they are mandatory. Because AmeriStudent uses a unique technological platform, we will upload the family profile to our website. This profile includes pictures of the family, the home and the room the student will be living in. These photos and family information will allow students from around the world to catch a glimpse of potential host families. These photos should be of the highest quality possible. Once the application has been approved and all background checks cleared, an AmeriStudent representative will pay a visit to the home. This is a routine visit to confirm everything is in order. One of our agents will look for discrepancies between the written application, the profile pictures and what they see in person. To ensure that the inspection goes smoothly, and if at all possible, we will ask that all family members be home for the visit. The AmeriStudent representative will want to meet everyone in person and ask a few questions to each family member. When it comes to scheduling a visit, we will coordinate with you so that the visit does not get in the way of work or other important obligations. After the field visit, the hosts will be given a contract to review and sign. This contract and what is expected from host parents will be explained in detail. This contract represents your commitment to the Ameristudent Program. Once the contract is signed, a host family profile is created in order to connect the hosts with international students from across the globe. Ameristudent takes pride in creating a seamless experience for host families and our students. 9

11 Is there anything else I should know? It may be smart to take additional steps when readying your home for an international student. Ameristudent will provide additional training to prepare host families for the best experience and to help families make the cultural adjustments needed. Host families may want to learn the customs of the country from which their student is coming, and study the cultural heritage, history, and language of their student s homeland. Family members may also want to learn a few phrases in your student s language. We recommend that host families predominantly speak English. International students will want to improve their English language skills while living with their host families. A Concluding Statement to Host Families Thank you for your interest in the AmeriStudent hosting program. It is our aim to ensure that each and every host family and student gets the most out of this unique, culturally enriching experience. Not only will you learn from each other, but you will also create and share memories that will last a lifetime. Why host a student from another country? Simply put, it is a remarkable opportunity to expand your horizons and learn about the world in a way you never thought possible. 10

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