Here are answers to some of the most common questions asked by potential host families about hosting an exchange student for AFICE:
- How well will my exchange student speak English?
- What are the steps to becoming a host family?
- Am I qualified to host an exchange student?
- Will my student want to live in a small town?
- Does the student have to go to school?
- What must a host family provide for their student?
- Do I have to send my son or daughter overseas in order to host an exchange student?
- How are Host Families screened?
- Are host families paid?
- What is the goal of the AFICE Program?
All AFICE exchange students are carefully screened and selected by AFICE overseas representatives. These exchange students have a minimum of three years of English instruction. Exchange students are typically given an English language Proficiency Test to qualify them as having a working knowledge of the English language.
Each potential host family must fill out an application form which provides a detailed summary and profile of the family. Each family is screened by an Community Representative in a home interview with all members of the family present. The host family must provide personal references from members of their community or school attesting to their good character. Prior to the host families acceptance, the references will be verified and the local high school is asked to fill out a form for the student which states that they have accepted the student for the school year.
If you'd like to get a jump start, here is a link to a PDF version* of the form you will need to fill out in order to host an AFICE student. Please click on the link below, either open or save the file, fill out the form, and fax or mail it to either the AFICE National Office or your local AFICE Community Representative.
AFICE Host Family Application: Download here!
Once you're ready to host, it is required that written permission be obtained for your student to attend the local high school in your area. Your AFICE Community Representative is required to contact the local high school, and will usually be the person to obtain this permission, but some host families like to get this process rolling right away -- especially as some schools have limits on the amount of exchange students they will accept, and students are approved on a first come/first served basis. Therefore, here is a link to AFICE's School Acceptance Form:
AFICE School Acceptance Form: Download here!
* You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print these forms. Acrobat Reader is free from the Adobe website: Get Acrobat Reader.
Host families come in many shapes and sizes. There is no typical host family: families with teens, no children, young children, children who have grown, single parents and grandparents. Host families live in large cities, suburban areas, on farms and ranches, or in small communities. Our students are also from diverse family situations. Using your interests and preferences, your Community Representative will help you in matching an exchange student to your family situation.
For most students this is not a problem at all. It's the family experience that really matters. Exchange students usually come to feel that their host family is just a new part of their natural family.
Our research shows that the majority of exchange students are hosted in small towns and rural areas throughout the United States. Because of the closeness of the populace in these areas, the students are quickly able to become a very special part of the school and community.
Yes. School is an integral part of the exchange experience. It is essential that the exchange student becomes an active part of that system. The student is also encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities that are offered in each school. School attendance is also required by the U.S. Government for the student's visa to remain valid.
Exchange students must pay for all travel costs and medical insurance, and they are provided with spending money for the duration of their stay in the United States. Volunteer American host families provide students with a place to sleep, meals, and a loving supportive home life. Students are allowed to share a bedroom with the host family's teen of the same gender, but he or she must have their own bed.
No. The word "exchange" sometimes misleads people. Within the AFICE program, the word "exchange" refers to an exchange of cultures and ideas, as opposed to a literal exchange of family members, although American host brothers and sisters are welcome to apply as an AFICE American student and travel overseas.
- Each prospective American host family is personally interviewed by the local Community Representative who also completes a Home Visit Screening Form. The prospective host family must complete a three page detailed Host Family Application covering the family's background, interests and hobbies.
- Three personal references must be provided to the Community Representative, preferably one from an employer, and one from a community organization (church, service club, or other such organization), or from a friend who knows the family well, attesting to the stability and good repuation of the family.
- The US Department of State requires that a criminal background check be performed on on each household member over the age of 18. Please note that a criminal history does not necessarily preclude a family from being qualified to host, but may serve as one of several criteria in determining whether or not a family is suitable for hosting.
- The AFICE Community Representative contacts the principals of each high school to obtain permission for an Exchange Student to attend the school.
- Once qualified, the entire family becomes involved in the selection of the exchange student. Records of the student's placement are filed in the appropriate local, regional, national and international offices.
AFICE host families choose to participate because of the cultural benefits they gain from hosting. The US Department of State requires host families to be volunteers and does not permit payment for hosting. Host families may deduct a $50.00 per month charitable contribution deductible from their itemized tax returns for hosting. (The proper supporting documentation will be made available to you)
AFICE is dedicated to bridging cultural gaps by allowing foreign students the opportunity to live as part of an American community - thereby providing our families, students, schools, and representatives with a global perspective and promoting a brighter future at home, at work, and throughout the world. Together with your help, we can bring the peoples of the world closer together and promote the goal of international understanding.