Become a Host Family
Open Your Doors and Hearts
Hosting a student is an exciting and rewarding experience. When you choose to be an ICES Volunteer Host Family and welcome a foreign exchange student into your home, you will have the chance to establish a wonderful life-long friendship, while making a difference in a student's life.
Our host families learn first-hand about a foreign country from the perspective of an exchange student who has grown up there. They share in the evolving process of bringing the world closer through cross-cultural sharing and friendship. Most of all, they gain a new family member for a lifetime.
Becoming an ICES Volunteer Family
ICES Host Families are the backbone of student exchange. So much of our success is dependent on the environment created for our students by these very special host families.
The first step to finding out more about becoming an ICES Host Family is to contact us at our national office at 800-344-3566 or by submitting an Online Application Form. You will be asked some simple questions about your family, hobbies, community, and work. The application carries no obligation. We will then get you in touch with your local area representative who can set up an appointment to visit your family at your home.
After completing the ICES Host Family application process, our ICES Area Representative will thoughtfully help you choose a prospective new son or daughter, using his or her knowledge of other cultures, student profiles, your preferences, general family information along with the criteria of your local school. We will recommend a select choice of students for you to consider hosting.
The Hosting Experience
ICES students have their own spending money, cover their own personal expenses, and have full health insurance. Volunteer host families are asked to provide the student with meals and room and board during his or her stay in America. Although not a large sum of money, the Department of State does appreciate your dedication to international exchange. Host families can claim $50 per month tax deduction for each month they host in the following tax year.
Your ICES Area Representative will provide support for you and your student and prepare you and your family before the student's arrival.
Throughout the year, your Area Representative will be available to you for supervising your student through monthly communication by phone, in-person casual meetings, or student/host family group activities. Your ICES Area Representative will also maintain contact with the local high school your student attends, insuring academic progress.
Additionally, ICES provides a full-time support team trained in the field of international exchange. Bonnie Gunter and her team in our Virginia office have over 20 years of experience in international exchange and are responsible for helping the student, host family, and Area Representatives resolve any adjustment challenges and answers questions.