Your American Host Family
AYA host families are volunteers. They are not paid for hosting AYA foreign exchange students.
AYA carefully selects host families based on their desire to host a visiting student and ability to provide a safe, comfortable home and positive cultural experience for you in the United States. People of all ages and from all walks of life volunteer to serve as host families. Grandparents, families with younger children, single-parent families and traditional two-parent families have all hosted successfully.
Host families are located all across the U.S., primarily in smaller towns and rural areas. You may live in a home in a suburban community or a farmhouse out in the country. There is no "typical" host family. You could be within walking distance of your high school or you may need to take a bus to school daily. Students may not request where in the U.S. they would like to be placed and may not change host families because they do not like the area in which they are living. As you will learn, America's communities are as diverse as its people.
Your host family will expect you to join in family activities. They will expect you to share the privileges and responsibilities of being a family member – as if you were a natural son or daughter. This includes doing your share of chores around the house.
Your host family will want to learn about your country and will want to help you understand life in America. They will be eager to answer your questions and explain things to you when you don't understand. Above all, they want to open their hearts and share their homes with you, their new "son" or "daughter."
Host families are responsible for
- Providing you with a home for the academic year or semester.
- Welcoming you as a member of the family and encouraging you to participate in all aspects of family life.
- Providing you with your own bed and place to study, either in a room you share with a family member of the same sex and age range, or your own room
- Providing you with meals (except lunch on school days).
- Encouraging the exchange of ideas and providing you with exposure to the cultural and social environment of the home and neighborhood.
- Providing the love and understanding a young person needs to enjoy a successful stay in America.
We get out in the community with the students a lot and we are more involved and active - most people are very interested in the students, their countries, what we are doing and why!
Tyler, host brother age 14