How to host a foreign exchange student: Foreign Exchange programs are exciting opportunities for international students to experience life in another culture. Hosting one is a great humanitarian service with privileges attached. Not only will you learn about the culture of your host students, but hosting foreign exchange students connects your family to a whole new experience.
However, like with any other affair, to be successful as a host family, there are certain things you need to keep in place. Additionally, you must meet certain requirements to succeed or excel as a foreign exchange student host.
This article addresses these concerns, like what is hosting a foreign exchange student in Germany like, what to consider, and the benefits involved. Also, we will go forward to discussing the challenges involved as well.
But first, let’s start from the top, who is a foreign exchange student, or what is a foreign exchange program about?
What is a foreign Exchange Student Program in Germany?
A foreign exchange program is an arrangement where students from one country can live and study abroad with a host family. In this setting, these international students either come in as exchange students for a better educational degree, or they come in as a prerequisite to complete their degree. This is a popular practice in Germany.
According to the statistics by Erudera, the total number of international students in Germany is 440,564. “Of the total 440,564 foreign students, 349,438 are international students, and 91,126 are resident international students’ ‘ The percentage of International student enrollment has increased by 29.4% from 2015 to 2022, with a good number from the foreign exchange student program.
International foreign exchange Students in Germany have different accommodation options. Either they stay with a host family or explore other accommodation options. However, many, especially those whose exchange programs are for a short period stay with a host family.
What is Hosting Like?
When a family decides to host a foreign exchange student, they become a host family. This is an exciting experience because it offers great opportunities for cultural growth and personal improvement.
Moreso, hosting a foreign exchange student in Germany is particularly interesting because it allows the host family to connect beyond formal grounds with exchange students’ families. The program is designed to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness between both families.
In hosting an exchange student, the host family takes responsibility for keeping the exchange safe and comfortable. This covers finding and providing comfortable accommodation. Making sure transportation and other basic amenities are easily accessible. Plus, it helps students navigate the norms and rules in German institutions.
The process of hosting an exchange student comes with so many Responsibilities. While these aren’t necessarily tasking, they love a level of commitment and dedication. However, you would enjoy enormous benefits with an open mind and willingness to teach and nurture young people.
Let’s check out some of these benefits.
Benefits of hosting a Foreign Exchange Student?
Hosting international students offers different advantages to host families. Not only does it strengthen the relationship between two families, it is an excellent way to learn about different cultures and opportunities.
The benefits of hosting internal students on an exchange program include:
- To Broaden your family’s horizons
- Introduce your family to different cultures
- Offer a new perspective on life and how others relate in their culture
- Make friends with families from around the world
- Promote international diplomacy
- Improve your family’s communication skills.
- Gain a deeper understanding of your own culture
- Develop your patience and flexibility
- Become more involved in the community
- Learn new recipes and cooking techniques
- Learn new language
- Travel to new aces
- Create lasting memories
In addition to these benefits, you will make connections that will last for life and have the opportunity to explore different cultures. However, the benefits of hosting are both rewarding and challenging. It can be challenging if you do not measure up to meet the requirements or Responsibilities involved.
Speaking of responsibilities, What is involved in hosting a Foreign Exchange Student? Let’s find out together.
Responsibilities of Hosting Foreign Exchange Students
As earlier discussed, a host family is responsible for providing comfort for the exchange students, this includes, providing comfortable homestay and basic amenities. Let’s take a look at each of our responsibilities.
- Provide a Safe Supportive Homestay:
Usually, the host family works in collaboration with the foreign exchange program coordinators. The aim is to provide comfort for exchange students. This includes providing students with their own room or shared room with a sibling of the same sex, as well as access to a bathroom, and laundry facilities.
Additional things you need to provide are:
- Students should be provided a clean, comfortable Ans well-lit room with enough heating, ventilation, natural light, storage for clothes, and a table or desk.
- Host families are responsible for providing other essentials like bed linen and towels.
- Students should have regular access to the bathroom, just like a member of the family.
2. Help students adjust to their new culture and surroundings.
3. Provide transportation plans and an easy map to make things easy.
4. Encourage students to participate in family activities and outings.
5. Be an open resource for Students. That is, you should be able to provide answers to questions to solve any problem that they may encounter.
How to Host Foreign Exchange Students in Australia: Step-by-Step
Step 1: Research Host Family Programs
Before you settle in your mind to host exchange students, you should know the different host family programs in Australia.
In Australia, there are different host family programs for individuals interested in hosting Exchange students. These programs have different requirements, benefits, and eligibility criteria. So, before you proceed to make your choice, ensure you do your due diligence.
In the end, choose a program that both you and your family members will be comfortable with.
Below are some of Australia’s most popular family Programs for hosting Exchange Students:
- Australian Homestay Network (AHN)
AHN offers a wide network of registered homestay hosts who offer accommodation and shelter to international exchange students.
Some common homestay networks in Australia;
- Homestay Adelaide
- Homestay Brisbane
- Homestay Canberra
- Homestay Coffs Harbour
- Homestay Darwin
- Homestay Gold Coast
- Homestay Hobart
- Homestay Lismore
- Homestay Melbourne
- Homestay Newcastle
- Homestay North Queensland (Bundaberg, Cairns, Rockhampton and Townsville)
- Homestay Perth
- Homestay Sydney
- Homestay Sunshine
- EF Homestay Australia
EF’s mission is to provide comfortable homes for international students through its networks of host families. They offer a broad range of hosting opportunities in different locations across Australia. With EF, you will receive full support from the arrival of your students to departure. They also offer stipends to host families under their umbrella.
Other website you can consider to work with:
- ISE: International Student Exchange Programs
Step 2: Meet the Requirements
Each host family program as listed above has its own requirements. But here are some of the most general requirements common to all host programs:
- As a host, you must have a spare bedroom for the student you intend to host.
- Be able to provide healthy meals and laundry service
- Be able to provide a safe and supportive environment
- Be able to communicate with proper English.
Please note that some programs may require more such as age limits and educational qualifications. Before you proceed to make your application, ensure you check all requirements and changes.
Step 3: Complete an Application
All the homestay networks for hosting foreign exchange students require you to fill out an online application. In this application, you will be asked to provide some general information about yourself, your family members, and details about your home.
Also, you will provide details about your local community, and the preferred age and level of the student you intend to host. These will help your local coordinate verify your eligibility to host the right students.
Step 2: Submit a Criminal Background Check
Safety is of high importance. Hence, before your application is considered valid, you are required to submit a police report or have a criminal background check. This test will be required both for you and for everyone 18 years and above who lives in your home.
Step 4: Have an In-home Visit
After your application is submitted and approved, a representative from your local homestay network will be sent to meet with your family.
The essence of the meeting is to discuss the process of the program and everything required. During the visit, they will explain the program in detail and answer questions you or your family members may have.
Also, these representatives will further inspect your home, taking note of common areas such as student’s bedrooms and bathrooms. This visit takes a maximum of 2 hours. If you scale this process, the next step is to match you with the right students
Step 5: Be Matched with a Student
After the whole visit, the next step is to choose the exchange student you would love to host. This step is one of the most exciting parts for some families. As a host family, choosing a student is entirely in your hands. You can choose a student whose faith, hobby, and interest align with that of your family. Otherwise, you may choose students whose culture or ethical practices interest you.
Additionally, you can also choose to host two students from different cultures if you ever feel confused about making your choice.
Moreso, to avoid mistakes and mismatches of students, your local coordinates will assist you by providing basic information about the student. They also make provision for letters written by students specifying their preferences.
The next steps that follow can be summarised below;
- Get to know the exchange student
- Participate in a host family orientation.
- Welcome your student home!
If you need further assistance or more clarifications before the process begins, ensure you reach out to your local coordinators or contact the helpline. You will be provided with all you need for successful hosting.
How much do Host Families get Paid for Foreign Exchange Students in Australia?
Although hosting is more of an act of benevolence, the Australian Government and local coordinators give some benefits to hosting families.
For families hosting two students, the government takes off tax payments as a form of compensation. allows families
The government allows families to host two students tax-free. “Three hundred dollars will be the bottom end of the scale, but it can actually go from $300 to $500 per student,” Brown said.
However, homestay networks pay compensation to host families depending on accommodation, feeding arrangements, and transportation.
For example, according to the official homestay website in Australia, “AHN processes host payments directly into the host’s bank account every week according to a schedule. Once your student has arrived safely and settled in you can mark them as arrived in the system. You will then be paid for the first 2 weeks of homestay on the next scheduled payment day for your region, usually a Tues or Wed.”
Conclusion on How to Host a Foreign Exchange Student
Hosting is an exciting experience that not only widens your connection but helps you as a host family experience culture and diversity. If you have a comfortable home space with extra rooms and bathrooms, you can be a host.
Before you proceed with your choice, ensure you check the requirements: Do you have the patience to nurture young people? Can you provide a comfortable space for your host? If yes, you can proceed with the basics. No doubt, you will be glad you did. Happy hosting.