Host an Exchange Student

  • Bring the world to your community by hosting an international student with Greenheart Exchange!

  • Overview

    Families who host foreign exchange students often experience a lifelong change as a result, developing a relationship that lasts far longer than the program. Open your heart and home to a student and perhaps you will find yourself halfway across the globe celebrating with them and their family in the years to follow your hosting experience.

    Why Host with Greenheart Exchange?
    • Experience: Since 1985, Greenheart Exchange has placed over 20,000 international exchange students with families seeking to host a foreign exchange student. Greenheart provides a strong support system to our participants and families.
    • Diversity: Students come from a range of cultures and backgrounds, with over 60 countries represented. Greenheart provides a wealth of cultural exchange opportunities for our families, communities, and students.
    • Civic-minded: Greenheart Exchange encourages all foreign exchange participants and interested host families to volunteer and give back to their host community.

    We are truly blessed with the experiences that the Greenheart Exchange program has brought to our lives.”  — The Lowry’s, a Greenheart Exchange host family in Texas

    The Department of State implemented a toll free number (1-866-283-9090) for secondary school students, which was effective August 1, 2009. The toll free number can be used by host families, exchange students and the public to report circumstances impacting the students’ health, safety and well being during their exchange visitor programs. You may also email the Department at jvisas[at]state[dot]gov.

  • Meet Our Students

    Meet some of the students we have available to host! Let us help match you with a foreign exchange student who shares your family's lifestyle and common interests:

    105 students available


    China Age 16 Fall 2019

    Haoqing is a 16 year old boy from China who is excited to spend the school year in the U.S. In his free time, he loves to sing and is part of a singing club at his school. Additionally, he loves watching movies or playing with his pet cat. He hopes his host family will have a cat that he can help take care of and give attention to this year. He can't wait to become a member of your family and learn about American culture from you!

    Unique ID: 122796



    Brazil Age 17 Fall 2019

    Introducing Edrey from Brazil! He is a talkative, intelligent and friendly young man who is 17 and is coming on program to expand his horizons. He is described as very mature for his age and very responsible. He loves to read, listen to music, and dreams of one day getting involved in the tech industry. Edrey is looking forward to meeting his American family and immersing himself in American culture during the upcoming school year!

    Unique ID: 125736



    Italy Age 17 Fall 2019

    Andrea is an outgoing and friendly 17 year old boy from Italy who likes to play sports, especially soccer. He is described as flexible and intelligent, and he looks forward to trying new activities and having new experiences while on program because he knows it will be a great way to make friends. He is also a musical guy! He has played the cello since he was six years old and has a passion for classical music. Andrea is fascinated by American culture and is very curious to learn about it and experience it himself.

    Unique ID: 125882


    Xin Yu

    Taiwan Age 17 Fall 2019

    Outgoing 17 year old Xin is a Taiwanese girl who loves to sing and is interested in outdoor activities, like riding her bike, swimming, and volleyball. She is dedicated to her studies and hopes to one day be a doctor working with the less fortunate around the world. She looks forward to experiencing the U.S. education system and would like to participate in the school's science fair! Xin is excited to meet her host family and to learn about American culture.

    Unique ID: 125468



    Taiwan Age 15 Fall 2019

    Meet 15 year old Peng from Taiwan! She is a friendly and warm-hearted girl who loves children, is passionate about dancing, likes to swim, and enjoys watching movies, other than horror films. She looks forward to sharing this new cultural experience with her host family and is excited to join after school clubs and make friends. She would love to bake for her host family, and says "I'd like to have afternoon tea with a piece of delicious cake. That is perfect life to me!"

    Unique ID: 125467



    Taiwan Age 15 Fall 2019

    Yu or "Julia" is a warm, friendly Taiwanese girl who is excited to experience a new culture in the US. Never having visited the US, she is eager to make new friends and learn about the culture and experience school life there. Though she is a little shy at first, she says that she quickly opens up to her friends. She loves swimming and dancing and also likes to play the flute and piano when she has time. She taught herself to dance through YouTube and is excited to have the opportunity to try out for cheerleading in the US. Julia would make a great host sister and looks forward to sharing her culture with her host family.

    Unique ID: 122790


  • School Year Hosting

    • Choose to host for a full 10-month academic year, or a 5-month semester
    • Provide a separate bed, 3 meals daily, and local transportation
    • Treat your exchange student as a member of the family
    • Host families can choose between students who are on program in the U.S. on the J-1 Visa, the F-1 Visa or a FLEX or YES Programs grant recipient
    • Host families are not responsible for students personal spending money or providing their medical insurance
  • Summer Hosting

    Each year hundreds of international students come to the U.S. on our Short-term Cultural Exchange programs. While some travel in a group, others travel independently, yet they are all visiting the U.S. to experience American culture and to improve their English language skills.

    Hosting one of these students is a great way to get a taste of what it’s like to be a host family. Greenheart Exchange seeks families in various communities in the U.S. to host a few short weeks during the summer or over a holiday break.

    Short-term Hosting Basics
    • Choose a student who is traveling as part of the Group Homestay program, or an individual with the Individual Homestay program
    • Most students come for 1-4 weeks during the summer months (June, July, August)
    • Students come from several countries throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America
    • All participants travel on the B-1/2 Tourist Visa and come with their own spending money and medical insurance

    To learn more about hosting a group homestay participant, click here. If you are ready to begin hosting a group student and want to fill out an application, click here.

    Group Locations 2019
    LocationDates NationalityCoordinator
    Greater Houston, TX Area6/15 - 7/8FrenchCurtis Tausworthe
    Elk Grove, CA6/16 - 7/8FrenchTina Bruno
    Wayne, NJ6/25 - 7/23SpanishMike/Stacy Gottesman
    Ocean County, NJ6/25 - 7/23SpanishJohn Tournquist
    Ontario, CA 6/26- 7/24SpanishRosanna Islas
    Riverside, CA6/26 - 7/24SpanishDawn Gill
    Greater Boston Area6/30- 7/28Multinational (Spanish + French)Michelle Cahoon
    Vacaville, CA6/26 - 7/24SpanishArah Wolfe
    Lake Villa, IL7/2 - 7/30SpanishKaren Osborne
    Orlando area7/8 - 7/28FrenchLonita Giovannini
    Philadelphia Area7/7 - 7/27FrenchMaureen Challenger
    East Dundee/Elgin, IL area7/8 - 7/28FrenchTammy Zilinski
    Chiittenango, NY7/8-7/29Multinational (Spanish + French)Sarah Schiralli
    Greater Boston Area7/8 - 7/28FrenchQasim Beg
    Portland, ME Area7/8 - 7/28FrenchAnna Keeney
    Apple Valley, CA7/8 - 7/27FrenchCindy Vance
    Suburbs of Dallas, TX7/12 - 7/30FrenchJennifer McCollough
    Gloucester County, NJ7/13 - 8/3ItalianWill Edelmayer
    Centennial, CO7/20 - 8/10Japanese, Thai, and TaiwaneseVicki Smith
    Carlsbad/Oceanside, CA7/23 - 8/6JapaneseDayle Bokor
    Phoenix, Arizona7/20 - 8/10JapaneseCathy Kuzell
    Brunswick, ME7/23 - 8/10Various CountriesJacki Medeiros
    Lake Stevens, WA7/25 - 8/15JapaneseMalysa Johnson
    Seattle, WA7/25 - 8/15JapaneseElaine Ko
    Orlando, FL Area7/27 - 8/12JapaneseMary Ellen Schweiger & Barbara Gilbert
    Park Ridge/Chicago, IL8/1 - 8/17ChineseMay Meerbrey
    Frankfort, IL area8/5 - 8/26FrenchEmily Meszaros
    Chicago, IL8/5 - 8/26FrenchMay Meerbrey
    Mooresville, NC9/4 - 9/25SpanishMike Smith
    Montgomery, AL9/4 - 9/25SpanishMarie Ottinger
    Portland, OR9/4 - 9/25SpanishLindsay Muller
    Apple Valley, CA9/4 - 9/25SpanishCindy Vance
    Chester, PA10/5 - 10/19GermanAlissa Christoforou
  • FLEX and YES Hosting

    Greenheart Exchange administers FLEX and YES Grant programs for international high school exchange students. Both programs are done in partnership with the U.S. Department of State by a consortium of nonprofit organizations led by American Councils for International Education.

    Hosting a FLEX or YES Exchange Student

    Bring more understanding to the world by starting with your family and community! FLEX and YES students are recruited and selected as the top students in their home countries. They go through a rigorous selection process before they are awarded a scholarship to participate in the program.

    Here are just a few reasons why you should host a FLEX or YES student:

    • FLEX and YES students arrive eager to learn more about American values and ideals.
    • They are required to participate in activities that teach civic responsibility.
    • FLEX and YES students hope to serve as effective ambassadors and to bring stereotypical barriers down in communities across the United States.

    Fill our “Host Now” inquiry form to get started!

    About the FLEX Program

    The Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) was established in 1992 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. The program provides an opportunity for students to gain leadership experience, learn about American society, and foster mutual understanding across cultures.

    FLEX students are from the following countries (may vary annually): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.

    The Department of State recognizes that youth exchange is a key component to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world.

    About the YES Program

    The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) was established in October 2002, in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program awards scholarships to high school students from countries with a significant Muslim population.

    YES students come from more than 40 countries.

    Application Information for Participants

    Interested participants should apply through American Councils, as Greenheart Exchange only acts as an approved placement organization but is not responsible for recruitment of participants.

  • FAQs

    Who can host?

    Located in every state, volunteer host families provide our young ambassadors a wide range of landscapes, climates, activities, and lifestyles. Greenheart Exchange Host Families are also flexible and open-minded, are age 26 or older, and represent the diversity of American culture. Our families are of varied economic, religious and racial backgrounds and include working parents, empty nesters, singles and single parents.

    What would be expected of me and my family?

    The health and safety of each student is our highest priority and so we ask our host families to abide by regulations of the U.S. Department of State and policies outlined by Greenheart Exchange and the Council of Standards for International and Educational Travel (CSIET), as well as, provide:

    • Open communication, encouragement, patience and sound advice
    • A separate bed, which can be in a shared room with a host sibling of similar age and same gender, and a quiet place to study
    • Three daily meals
    • Local transportation (students are not permitted to drive while on the program)
    • Treatment as a member of the family, which may include household rules, responsibilities and privileges
    How long does a student stay?

    Most students are attending high school for a full school year, which is 10 months, generally September through June. A handful of students come for only one semester (5 months) and start in either the fall or winter semester. We also have participants who come on short term (2 – 8 week) programs, primarily in the summer.

    What do I have to pay for?

    Greenheart exchange students come with their own spending money and are responsible for paying for their own activities and costs incurred for school functions. You will need to pay the extra, minimal costs, associated with housing another person, such as utility bills, increase in groceries, etc.

    Will my exchange student be covered under my health insurance?

    Students have their own accident and health insurance coverage during their stay. They will not have to join your health plan.

    Do I get paid to be a host family?

    Generally, hosting on Greenheart programs is a volunteer opportunity. For J1 high school programs, the Internal Revenue Service has authorized families to claim a $50 per month charitable contribution deduction on their itemized tax returns.

    What if my family or my student have trouble with adjustment issues or any other issues during their program? How does Greenheart Exchange support me?

    Host families and students have access to 24-hour support and advice from your Local Coordinator, who will help pair you with a student, promote the program to your community, and monitor your experience during your student’s stay.

    I’m ready to host! How do I get started?

    First complete our inquiry form. You’ll receive an email with login information to our online database where you will access the application. You will also be contacted by a Local Coordinator in your area.

    Have more questions?

    Call us toll-free at 800-634-4771. We’re more than happy to answer any question you may have.

  • Place and Support Students

    Extroverted. Passionate. Self-starter. These are just some of the qualities that our best Local Coordinators possess. These curious and motivated individuals have the rewarding job of finding families in their community who are interested in hosting a foreign exchange student. Local Coordinators also monitor and supervise exchange students and help them adjust to their new life in America.

    As a Local Coordinator you will be expected to:
    • Actively seek volunteer host families in their community
    • Provide guidance and support to your foreign exchange students and host families
    • Build relationships with local high schools
    • Represent Greenheart Exchange and other Greenheart programs in a professional manner
    • Provide information to American students,families, and communities interested  study and travel abroad through Greenheart Travel or other Greenheart related opportunities.
    As a Local Coordinator:
    • You are an Independent contractor role (eligible to earn a payment)
    • Have the ability to Part-time, work from home
    • Must be at least 26 years old
    • Grow skills sets with the ability to attend professional development and training workshops
    • Have opportunity for domestic and international travel to annual conferences
    • Experience the rich world of cultural exchange and bring your community closer together through the support of the Greenheart Exchange family.
    Get Started
    1. Tell us you’re interested! Complete the inquiry form and a representative in your area will get in touch with you.
    2. Complete an online application.
    3. Have a phone interview and discuss next steps.
    4. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
  • Application Process

    1. Fill out the inquiry form and tell us about you and your family!
    2. Look for an email or expect a call from a Greenheart Exchange Local Coordinator (someone who lives in your area). They will answer any questions and provide you with more information about the hosting experience.
    3. Complete an online host family application.
    4. Meet your local coordinator in-person.
    5. Select your exchange student.
    6. Welcome to the Greenheart Family! Get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
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