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:

    26 students available


    France Age 17 Fall Semester 2020

    Alessia, 17 years old, from France, has been playing volleyball since she was 9 years old. She plays center because she is tall. Alessia also enjoys skiing and cooking. Her specialty is cheesecake. Her desserts make people happy! Alessia's dream is to find a job that can help people, so she is focused on human sciences and philosophy. Alessia is sociable, sunny, generous, and outgoing. She has always been interested in getting to know the American culture.



    Brazil Age 16 Fall Semester 2020

    Meet Ana Luiza, 16 years old from Brazil. Her favorites subjects are Biology, History, Geography and English. Her family loves to travel to learn about new places and enjoy new cultures. Ana loves to listen to music (and also sing them), to watch romantic or criminal movies, reading books, traveling, surfing the internet, and playing with her dogs. She charismatic, loving, hopeful, and determined, Ana likes to help other people, make new friends and learn new things. In her exchange, she would like to share her culture and hope you share your culture with her too.



    Italy Age 17 Fall Semester 2020

    Seventeen-year-old Aurora from Italy says, "My biggest dream is finally coming true!" Family is very important to Aurora. She has many cousins, both older and younger, and thinks of them like siblings. Her uncles ask her to babysit because she is good with children. Aurora enjoys music, attending concerts, and watching movies. She also loves to read and write. She goes to a linguistic high school where she is learning English, French, and German. She hopes to be a cheerleader in her American school. Aurora enjoys cooking pasta, pizza, and cakes. She says, "I can't wait to cook Italian dishes for you, so that I'll be able to take a piece of my home, of my Italy, in your house. My grandmother taught me all the recipes!"



    Italy Age 16 Fall Semester 2020

    Say Hello to Camilla, she is 16 years old and lives in Italy. Camilla love singing, because when she sings she feels free and powerful. Camilla also loves languages and at school she studies English. Her favorite pastime is baking, she does that mainly when she has some free time. Camilla wants to live in America to learn about a new culture, she says “I ‘ve always had the big American dream that everybody has, and I honestly can't wait to leave my country to be there with you”.



    Italy Age 16 Fall Semester 2020

    If you have ever watched a circus or Cirque du Soleil show, you may have seen aerial silk acrobatics. Cecilia, a 16-year-old girl from Italy, loves the freedom she feels climbing up some fabrics, hanging from the ceiling, and performing acrobatics high above the floor. She also loves helping a little girl with her homework in math, history, and English. Cecilia is a vegetarian for ethical reasons. She does not eat meat or fist, but she can prepare her own food and would be "super happy about cooking Italian dishes for you." Her big passion is makeup, and she has been dancing since she was a little girl. She promises to be collaborative and positive, and she thanks you from her heart for hosting her.



    Brazil Age 16 Fall Semester 2020

    16 year old Clara is leaving her twin behind in Brazil when she comes to America as an exchange student. She says that she is used to taking a lot of photograhs when she travels, so fair warning to her host family. One thing that Clara likes to do is stay healthy by exercising at the gym. Clara loves young children and has no concerns with pets that her host family may have. She promises to help out around the house in her new American family.


  • 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

    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 2020
    LocationDates NationalityCoordinator
    Los Angeles, CA3/2 - 3/10JapaneseMilly Gulamani
    Carlsbad/Oceanside, CA3/24 -4/4JapaneseJoAnne Day
    Hesperia, CA3/16 - 3/30SpanishDetra Sims
    Portland, OR4/4-4/18GermanLindsay Muller
    Portland, ME4/4 - 4/10TurkeyKathy Hansen
  • FLEX and YES Hosting

    Greenheart Exchange administers the following programs for international high school exchange students:

    • 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

    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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