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:

    9 students available


    Czech Republic Age 16 Academic Year 2020-21

    Albert, a 16-year-old from the Czech Republic, is passionate about engineering and technical issues. He is interested in everything about computers. In his free time, he enjoys taekwondo, floorball (similar to ground hockey), computer games, chess, movies, and playing games with friends. He wants to have perfect English and looks forward to sharing the Czech culture with you.



    Poland Age 17 Academic Year 2020-21

    Aleksandra, who goes by Ola, is an active person, she likes walking, going to the gym, and roller skating. She is also interested in fashion and psychology. She is spontaneous­ and likes trying new things. Ola is a friendly young person who loves adventures, people and wants to experience as much as possible in life. She has her own opinion and listens to the opinions of others to gain a broader view. She is a good student, has good grades and her English is very good. Ola is looking forward to meeting her new family.



    Hong Kong Age 15 Academic Year 2020-21

    While 15-year-old Angela now lives in Hong Kong, as a youngster she lived in the States and is a US citizen. Her days are filled with the Arts and she loves many of them. Modern dance is her favorite, followed by Latin dance; but she also plays the piano and very much enjoys drawing. Angela has strong English skills, likes children, is willing to attend church with her host family on occasion and wants us to know that she is fine with cats and dogs, but she is fearful of reptiles as pets.



    Poland Age 16 Academic Year 2020-21

    Meet Ela, a sixteen-year-old girl from Poland. Ela loves Math and is fascinated with Physics like her dad. When the weather is good, the sky is clear they watch stars and planets through a telescope. She is a hard-working student, that always tries to reach her goals and make her dreams come true. Ela loves skiing in the water and doing gymnastics. She says that she and her dad are big fans of Star Wars and have watched all the movies many times. She is really looking forward to getting to know your family, her school, and your home.



    Germany Age 16 Academic Year 2020-21

    Luca's big passion is music. He has been playing the guitar for much of his life, and recently took up the violin. He plays in multiple bands at his school, and enjoys listening to the classics like Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin, and Ray Charles, preferably on vinyl. Luca also enjoys reading and skiing with his family and friends in the German Alps. While he will miss his dog at home, he cannot wait to meet his new family, pets included!



    Denmark Age 16 Academic Year 2020-21

    Magnus is a smiling, polite, open-minded, sociable 16-year-old from Denmark. He is very active and especially loves ice skating, which he has practiced for eight years, skiing, hiking, fishing, and playing video games. He also enjoys looking at and talking about cars. He is responsible and accustomed to children because he sometimes cares for his 9-year-old nephew and 8-year-old niece. He likes to work with his hands and is thinking about a career in carpentry or nature photography. He would love to experience the American lifestyle, make American friends, and improve his English.


  • 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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