Frequently Asked Questions
How do I host an exchange student?
How do I host an exchange student?
- Complete our host family interest form or contact us.
- Our staff will contact you to discuss the program and help you start the application process, including background checks.
- Decide if you would like to host for a semester or a school year.
- A Community Advisor will make an appointment for a home visit.
- Choose your student(s).
- BFF will finalize everything and introduce you to each other so you can start building your relationship. We will be with you every step of the way on your new journey!
Do I get paid to host?
No. All our host families are volunteers. The IRS allows for a tax deduction for hosting a student, however. BFF students come with their own spending money for personal expenses, entertainment, and other activities, and BFF provides them with health insurance. If you can volunteer to provide a place to sleep, a place to study, some transportation (students cannot drive while on program), and 3 meals a day you are set!
What makes a good host family?
All you need is a spare bed, an open mind, and a desire to make a difference in a young person’s life! There is no ideal host family! BFF families come in all shapes and sizes:
- live in larger cities and remote areas
- have young kids, kids who are grown, and no kids at all
- are single persons and large families
- both parents work full time, or one parent stays home
- live in large homes and smaller homes
We encourage families of all types to host. There is a great student out there for every host family. Being committed to the student’s success and remembering that they are still teenagers, even though they have made a very mature decision to live away from everything they have known, are key to having a great year!
How does hosting benefit my family?
There are so many benefits, but here are a few:
- Learn about a new culture
- Gain a new family member
- Be able to share the American way of life
Can I host more than one exchange student?
Absolutely! You can host up to two students, but they must be from different countries and not share the same language.
What can we expect from our student?
BFF students come from many different parts of the world. We often have over 30 countries represented in our student body. All BFF students speak English. Our international partners screen all students through testing and interview procedures. The screening procedures assess English level, maturity, and program readiness. Our students are coming to the US to learn about our culture and share their own. They hope to perfect their English and create enduring ties with Americans. You should expect your student to be with you for the entire length of their program, including holidays, weekends, etc. The students do not travel back and forth between countries. They remain in the US during their allotted time, and their natural families are only permitted to visit at the end of their stay. You can also expect your student to be respectful and follow home, school, and community rules. We will help you enforce rules as needed and hold the students to a high level of expectation.
What if there is an emergency?
You will have contact information for your community advisor and regional director, who will be your first and second points of contact. BFF also has a 24-hour emergency hotline to call if your student has an emergency and you cannot reach your CA. This hotline will connect you to BFF staff, who will walk you through any necessary steps.
For any issue that is not an emergency, your assigned community advisor will work with you and the BFF student support team to create solutions and monitor the progress of those solutions.
Why should I host with BFF?
BFF staff has a combined 30+ years in the field of international education. We approach our role in your journey as crucial to the success of your experience. We are involved in our students and host families’ lives because it is easier to effect change when relationships exist. We take the supervision of our students seriously and want the best for all participants.