How to Become a Host Family for Exchange Students in Germany

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Becoming a host family in Germany offers the unique opportunity to welcome international high school exchange students into your home and embrace them as part of your family. 

By opening your doors to these students, you allow them to realise their dream of living like a local in a foreign country. 

Numerous students are constantly in search of host families or temporary lodging in Germany for their study programs. Also, students from various corners of the globe come to Germany to pursue their courses and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Who are Exchange Students?

Exchange students are individuals who come from one country and are enrolled in an educational institution in another nation, often as part of a reciprocal arrangement where a student from the host country is sent to study in the home country of the first student. These exchange programs typically include high school, undergraduate, or graduate students.

Relevant: 5 Smart Budgeting Tips for International Students

Who is a Host Family?

A host family comprises exceptional individuals who extend a warm welcome to a young individual, affording them the invaluable opportunity to enhance their life experiences while simultaneously enriching their own. 

The members of these host families vary and they live in various parts of Germany. However, the primary role of a host family is to mentor and foster high school exchange students, treating them with the same love and care that they would their children. 

The journey establishes lifelong ties between families and students while creating wonderful memories.

What Do Host Families Provide?

Host families are expected to offer the following to their students:

  • Furnished accommodations with a comfortable bed and adequate closet space within their home.
  • A dedicated space for the student to study and complete homework assignments.
  • All-inclusive meal provisions, including packed lunches for school days (which students can prepare themselves).
  • Emotional care and support throughout the student’s stay.
  • An opportunity for the student to integrate into their family and experience the life of a typical German teenager or adult.

It’s important to note that host families are not responsible for covering any additional expenses for the student.

  • Students arrive with their finances for activities, school-related costs, personal expenses, and travel, among other things.
  • Students are equipped with their insurance policy to handle potential medical and other related expenses.
College students holding hands together...
College students holding hands together

Eligibility to Become a Host Family

The opportunity to host an exchange student in Germany is open to a wide range of individuals and households. Whether you’re young or old, part of a couple or single, married or unmarried, a grandparent, a parent with older or younger children, or even an adult without children, you can consider becoming a host family.

Speaking a foreign language is not a requirement for host families. The key is the ability to warmly welcome the student into your home. While exchange students may have their bed, they might share a room with one of your children or another exchange student, with the stipulation that roommates must be of the same gender.

Relevant: Hosting Foreign Exchange Students: Pros and Cons

What are the Advantages of Welcoming an Overseas Exchange Student?

Inviting an international student into your home can bring forth a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Broadening your family’s global perspective
  • Introducing your family to diverse cultures
  • Offering a fresh outlook on German culture.
  • Potentially offering tax advantages.
  • Establishing connections with families across the globe.
  • Contributing to enhanced international relations.
  • Enhancing communication abilities.
  • Nurturing enduring friendships.

Relevant: Recommended: 10 Best City in Germany to Live and Work in 2023 : City Comparison

How Much Can You Earn Hosting an Exchange Student?

The question of potential earnings is a common inquiry when considering hosting a foreign exchange student. However, the answer depends on various factors, such as the duration of the stay, the host family, and the geographical location. 

Hosting an exchange student can yield supplemental income ranging from approximately $30 per day to as much as $1,400 per month.

Your compensation hinges on whether you intend to host a short-term or long-term student. Hence, short-term students typically participate in camps or classes lasting from one week to a few weeks. 

The daily stipend for these short stays can vary significantly, with amounts fluctuating based on you the host family and the region. In general, host families can anticipate earnings in the range of $30 to $60 per day, sometimes more or less.

On the other hand, long-term students stay with host families for an entire academic semester or year, typically spanning around 10 months.  In this scenario, the stipend amount is subject to variation, influenced not only by you the host family but also by the geographical location. The cost of living in a specific city or area also often plays a role in determining the stipend amount.

How to Become a Host Family: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Complete the Host Family Application 

Initiate the process by completing a host family application. Your local coordinator can facilitate this step, offering both online and hardcopy application options. This brief application will request general information about your family, your residence, and your community to ensure your eligibility for hosting.

Step 2: Undergo a Criminal Background Check

Secondly, to prioritise student safety, all household members aged 18 and older are required to undergo a criminal background check. 

Step 3: Host Family In-Home Visit 

Your local coordinator will arrange a convenient time to visit your home and meet with all family members together. During this in-home visit, they will provide a comprehensive program overview, address any queries you may have, and familiarise themselves with your family. 

Additionally, they will tour your home, capturing images of common areas, the student’s bedroom, and the bathroom. Typically, this visit takes around 1–2 hours.

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Step 4: Select Your Exchange Student 

One of the most exciting stages is selecting the exchange student who will become a part of your family. You have the freedom to choose a student who shares your interests, hobbies, or faith or select a student from a specific region with a culture that piques your interest. 

If you find it challenging to pick between two students, consider hosting both in a double placement, expanding your family even further. 

Your local coordinator will provide you with student profiles containing general information and an introductory letter from the student. Once your background checks clear, usually within a day or two, and you are confirmed eligible to host, you’ll gain access to additional details, including student photos and a letter from the student’s natural parents. 

Throughout this selection process, feel free to seek advice from your local coordinator, who can offer suggestions or opinions on the best-fit student for your family. Keep in mind any admission restrictions imposed by the institutions, with guidance from your local coordinator on selecting a suitable student.

Step 5: Coordinates High School Acceptance 

Your local coordinator will liaise with the institution to secure acceptance letters for the student’s enrolment, ascertain school start and end dates, and gather information about any special requirements for exchange students. 

Need our Assistance for your LOE/SOP? Contact Fasthire today.
Need our Assistance for your LOE/SOP? Contact Fasthire today.

Step 6: Connect with Your Student 

Upon finalising the placement, you can immediately start building a connection with your student. Begin bonding through email, Skype, social media, or phone calls. It’s an exciting time to learn about each other’s personalities and cultures. 

More so, encourage your students to share additional pictures of their family, friends, and hometowns while you provide insights into what they can expect upon arrival.

Step 7: Attend a Host Family Orientation 

Finally, before the student arrives, your local coordinator might conduct a mandatory host family orientation. This session will cover cultural differences, program rules, solutions to common challenges, and an opportunity for you to seek clarification on your host family’s role. You may also have the chance to meet other hosting families in your area.

Conclusion

Hosting exchange students in Germany is an enriching experience that opens doors to cultural exchange. Whether you’re a family of any composition or an individual, becoming a host family is accessible to all. By welcoming these international students into your home, you not only broaden your global perspective but also create lifelong friendships. Plus, there’s potential supplemental income, ranging from $30 per day to $1,400 per month, depending on various factors. Also, follow our step-by-step guide to embark on this exciting journey and make a difference in a student’s life.

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