The Application Process
Host families often ask how long the application process is and what all is involved. The process itself can take a few short days to a few short weeks. We generally like to wrap everything up for a placement within a maximum of two weeks if possible. The first step is to get some information about hosting. You can do that by reading our hosting section on this website, or by contacting us by phone or email. Once you have decided that hosting is for you, you will complete the host family application and criminal background checks for all people living in the home (or visiting often). We will then have one of our Community Advisors come to your home for a site visit and to answer any additional questions you may have. Once this process is complete, you are fully vetted and may choose the student you wish to host. Sometimes, you may already know that there is a particular student you wish to host and may complete the process knowing this is the case, so our diagram below may be shifted slightly.
What are the hosting requirements
Our host families need to provide a room for the student with a bed and a place to store their things. The student may share a room with a sibling of the same gender and similar age. The student must have a quiet place to study, have access to three meals per day, and the host family should provide transportation assistance and support. The host family does not need to be at home 24/7 for the student. For students here for an academic year program, it’s perfectly acceptable to have host parents who work daily. However, a parent must be home in the evening hours/overnight. For students here for short-term programs in which school is not involved, we do ask that someone (a parent or teenaged sibling) be home during the day with the student. We conduct background checks on any family member that is 18 years or older, an in-home interview, check references, and ask the family to complete a host family application with details about you to send to the international agency and student.
Requirements of the students during the program
We expect that all students abide by the host family’s rules and that they are respectful of the host family’s home, family members, and at school as well. Host families should set the expectations shortly after the student’s arrival and revisit as often as necessary. Students sign an agreement stating that they will abide by the laws and rules in the United States as well as the rules that the host family sets for them. Students risk termination of their program by not doing so. BFF wants repeat host families as well as strong, positive, school & community relationships. We will work hard to ensure that we are fair to the host family and the student during the placement. Our students must integrate into your family, participate in family responsibilities and activities, American cultural activities, school & community activities, speak English unless communicating with their natural family, and maintain good grades while in the U.S.
Hosting more than one student
Absolutely! Many families become interested in more than one country and want more than one student. For academic programs, the host family must host from two different countries. This is to give the students an opportunity to immerse themselves in English and offers them the chance to learn about other cultures as well. Hosting two students is a great option for families with no children in the home as the students give each other companionship and support during their program. We do our best to match the students with the host family as well as with each other in terms of personalities and interests. For certain, short-term programs, students may be hosted with another student from their home country depending on the agreement for the particular program.