Host an Exchange Student

Bring the world to your community by hosting an international student with Greenheart Exchange!
  • What's it like to Host?

    Families who host international high school students often tell us about the joy of experiencing another culture while sharing the American way of life. Cultural exchange experiences can be life-changing for the high schooler AND for the host family. Host Families often develop long-lasting relationships with their foreign exchange students and their families. Open your heart and home to an international exchange student and perhaps you will find yourself halfway around the globe celebrating with them and their family in the years that follow your hosting experience. 

    Who can host?

    You can host for a full school year, or a partial year. You can host someone from a country you’d like to learn more about. You can host a high schooler from a country you’d like to travel to one day, or who speaks a language you want to learn or practice. You can host if you are an empty nester, or have a young family, or if you have a high schooler too. And you can choose a foreign student to host who has the same interests as your family!  Curious?  Meet our Students who need Host Families!

    Why Host with Greenheart Exchange?
    • Experience: Since 1985, Greenheart Exchange has placed over 25,000 international exchange students with host families in the USA. Greenheart provides a strong support system to our students and to our host families.
    • Diversity: Students come from a range of cultures and backgrounds, with more than 60 countries represented. Greenheart provides a wealth of cultural exchange opportunities and ideas for our families, communities, and students.
    • Civic-minded: Greenheart Exchange encourages all foreign exchange students and interested host families to volunteer and give back to their host communities to fully experience life in the USA.

    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


    Greenheart Cares About the Safety of Our Students and Hosts

    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:

    19 students available


    Italy Age 17 Academic Year 2022-23

    "My name is Alessandra, but everyone calls me Ale. I am 17 years old and live with my family in the north of Italy." Ale says although she doesn't know you, she likes you already - for agreeing to host her for this semester. She loves to talk, so much so, that she has learned to do it in four languages - German, Spanish, Italian, and English! Ale loves to read, paint, draw and cook! She describes herself as sociable and says that no matter how difficult it might be being away from her family, it will be worth it, because she will find a new one (in her new host family)! #151647



    Italy Age 16 Academic Year 2022-23

    Beatrice loves reading, it is one of her biggest passions. She also loves playing the piano. She would like to go to university and study medicine. She wants to become a doctor. Beatrice has shown strong English language skills. She is able to maintain a good conversation in a fluent way. She is talkative, communicative, and friendly. She considers herself an empathetic person who likes to understand others and help them whenever they need. She believes she can do her best in this exchange experience in order to adapt well and to become also an active member of the host family. #151352



    Italy Age 17 Academic Year 2022-23

    Carola, a friendly, curious, smart 17-year-old girl from Italy says that coming to the U.S. as an exchange student "has been one of my dreams since I was a child." Carola does Cross Fit four times each week and also enjoys running, cycling, snowboarding, and volleyball. She would love to play sports and possibly be a cheerleader in the U.S. Carola also enjoys acting, cooking, traveling, and studying history. She would love to have host siblings. #151652



    Italy Age 17 Academic Year 2022-23

    Edoardo is a motorhead. He likes to assemble and disassemble engines, especially motorbikes and mopeds, but it sounds like he is just plain mechanically gifted. He also loves the sea, swimming and playing tennis, which he has played for 11 years. He has twin siblings, a brother and a sister who are 11. He loves most sports and looks forward to having a family in the US. He even mentions helping his new family with the household chores as a part of what he plans to do while on his exchange year. Edwardo is 17 and in 11th grade. He is mature and pleasant, and his English is good. He also speaks French and Italian. #151842



    Italy Age 16 Academic Year 2022-23

    Emma is a fun loving, flexible "Pescetarian" she says "If being a pescetarian is a problem I'm willing to make a deal with my host family about food, even giving up that eating style while in the US if need be". Emma loves music (of all kinds at all times), books, and the cinema. She likes to cook and bake and says that working out is "fundamental" to her day. She has a great English score and also speaks some German. Emma has an older brother who is 18 and a younger brother who is 11 and she likes kids very much. In addition to cooking and baking she enjoys watching sports or going to the beach. #151857



    Germany Age 15 Academic Year 2022-23

    Franziska from Germany is a 15-year-old girl. She has one brother, one sister and another half-brother. Her favorite activities are dancing and biking. She has been to the USA twice (east and west coasts). She comes from a town of around 50,000 people so she is used to smaller town living. She also loves music and many animals but is afraid of dogs. #148782


  • 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
  • Short Term Hosting

    In a normal year, hundreds of international students come to the U.S. on our Short-term Cultural Exchange programs. These are students traveling in groups or independently, who are 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 U.S. communities to host for a few short weeks during the summer, or over a holiday break. 


    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.

  • FLEX and YES Hosting

    Greenheart Exchange also needs host families for international high school exchange students in these scholarship programs: 

    • U.S. Department of State’s Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program
    • U.S. Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program

    Both programs are administered by a consortium of nonprofit organizations led by American Councils for International Education.

    Hosting a FLEX or YES Exchange Student

    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. 

    The FLEX and YES scholarship programs are designed to bring understanding to individuals, families, communities, and the world.  

    FLEX and YES students are recruited and carefully 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 often top-of-their-class academically and will be required to participate in activities that teach civic responsibility.
    • FLEX and YES students hope to serve as effective ambassadors and to bring down stereotypical barriers 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.

    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–we are not responsible for recruitment of participants.

  • Refer a Host Family

    Do you know a family who you think would be a great host family?

    Complete this form and you can earn $300 if they decide to host!

    The details:

    • The referred family must be NEW to Greenheart and have NOT previously hosted OR worked with Greenheart.
    • Referral payment will be issued via Visa Reward Virtual Account (formerly known as Visa gift card ) which can be used online anywhere Visa/Mastercard is accepted.
    • The referral payment is issued ONLY if the family moves forward to host a full year or semester student with Greenheart. Payments are sent out AFTER the student arrives.
    • Immediate family members of Greenheart Local Coordinators are NOT eligible to submit referrals.
  • FAQs

    Who can host?

    Anyone with an open mind, open heart, and willingness to share their home and culture may be a host family. 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?

    Hosting with Greenheart 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 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 from your Local Coordinator, who will help pair you with a student, and advise, guide, and assist the host family and student during the school year.

    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 to begin the application. You will also be contacted by a Local Coordinator in your area to outline the program and answer your questions.

    Have more questions?

    Write to us at We’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • COVID-19 FAQs

    Greenheart’s Response to COVID-19

    Greenheart was fortunate to be able to bring a small group of High School participants to the United States this year. Through careful consideration and cooperation, Greenheart has worked with host families, students, and schools throughout the U.S. to maintain this vital exchange program while keeping everyone’s health and safety at the forefront. We look forward to building upon our experience in 2021 and are grateful to all our stakeholders for their unwavering commitment to making the world a better place through cultural exchange.

    We have begun placing participants for the 2021-22 school year. See how our organization is responding to COVID-19 by exploring the Frequently Asked Questions below.

    How will Greenheart prepare participants for the 2021-22 school year?

    Greenheart participants receive a pre-departure orientation from our Greenheart partners in their home country. This includes information regarding COVID-19 as it relates to their experience with their host family, time at school and within their American community. We also encourage participants and host families to connect and discuss any recent COVID-19 information or requirements within their community.

    What safety precautions are in place for participant arrivals?

    Participants agree to comply with all travel regulations from the time they depart home until they arrive in their host community. Everyone is expected to follow all local and state health guidelines.

    Will participants be tested prior to leaving their home country?

    Testing requirements for international travel are set by the US federal authorities and travel providers including airlines. As of January 26, 2021, all international travelers to the United States must provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19. Greenheart continues to monitor travel requirements on an ongoing basis. We expect that all participants will comply with travel requirements.

    Are participants required to quarantine upon arrival?

    All participants are expected to follow all local and state health guidelines. This may include self-isolating in the home and/or testing.

    What happens if a student has COVID-19 while on program?

    All Greenheart participants are required to have health insurance to participate on the program which will cover for their care when ill. COVID-19 testing (if not medically necessary) and vaccines are not generally covered. If anyone within the host family home is exposed or has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they should notify Greenheart immediately and follow the guidance and requirements of local health authorities.

    Will participants be required to receive the vaccine before arriving for their program?

    Vaccine availability varies widely throughout the world, and many countries are far behind the United States in their vaccine rollouts. Additionally, many vaccines have so far only been confirmed to be safe and viable for those age 18 and older. Until we see material changes in the situations in other countries, Greenheart will not be requiring the vaccine for our high school participants before their arrival.

    Will participants be required to receive the vaccine once they arrive in the United States?

    Vaccine updates seem to occur daily. Greenheart will continue to monitor developments and communicate with host families, participants, and our partners abroad about the feasibility of students receiving the vaccine while on program in the United States. Currently, vaccines are not readily available for our participant population. Greenheart will continue to update our policy as the situation evolves.

    What happens if receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is required for a participant to attend school.

    Due to the nature of vaccine availability around the world, Greenheart deals with hundreds of students every year who are not able to get all the school required vaccines (non-COVID) in their home countries before they depart for the U.S. Upon these students’ arrivals, their host family and Local Coordinator will work together to ensure the student receives all the necessary vaccines to be able to attend school. If an American high school is requiring their students receive the COVID vaccine to attend classes, and the vaccine is safe, effective, and available for high school students in that area, Greenheart would treat the situation the same way as any other vaccine and help the student receive the COVID vaccine upon their arrival before the beginning of school.

    Are Greenheart host families or Local Coordinators required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    No, Greenheart will not be requiring host families or coordinators to receive the vaccine.

  • Place and Support Students

    Want to help find host families for high school exchange students? 

    If you are extroverted and a self starter with a passion for cultural exchange, maybe placing and supporting high school students during their exchange year is for you.

    Local Coordinators help find host families who are perfectly matched to incoming international exchange students. Our best Local Coordinators are curious and motivated individuals. In addition to the rewarding experience 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!
  • Hosting Application Process

    1. Fill out the inquiry form!
    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 a host family application (online).
    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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