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:

    39 students available

    Alice

    Italy Age 16 Academic Year 2023-2024

    I'm Alice, an Italian teenager and I attend a technical school based on scientific subjects. In my free time I like staying with my friends and my family too: I have a special bond with all of them. I have a passion for travelling, in fact when my family can, we try to visit some new places. I really like sports, I do dance and ski. I also like watching series TV and shopping. I like to entertain children and make them happy.. as you can understand, I am really patient! In general, I love to be active: I practice dance three times a week and a ski in wintertime. I'm outgoing and a very positive girl, I'm obedient and respectful. I am a very determined, and I can't wait to adapt to this new reality. #155180

    INTERESTS

    Angela

    Italy Age 16 Academic Year 2023-2024

    I'm Angela Aurora, a 16-year-girl from Italy. In my free time I like to play with my brothers, spending time with my family, trying new recipes to cook and I like to go to the gym to stay healthy/fit. I chose a humanities high school because I want to become a psychologist in the future and my favorite subjects are psychology and English. I would like to become an exchange student in the USA because I'm fascinated by American culture, I would like to try the school system and I want to become more independent, also this experience can help me understand better what I want to do in the future.#152667

    INTERESTS

    Bianca

    Italy Age 16 Academic Year 2023-2024

    I’m Bianca, a 16­-year-­old girl from Italy. I have been practicing classical dance for nine years, I don't do it anymore, but I still love it. I watch many videos about ballet. I usually listen to English pop/indie music, but I also like Italian and French music. On the weekends, I enjoy going shopping with my friends or my mum, and every Friday my family and I we watch a movie together. My favorite subjects at school are foreign languages: I study English, French and Spanish. I love travelling and I hope to work with the possibility to travel in the future. I love all animals, but I can't have one in my house, so I wish my host family has one! #155818

    INTERESTS

    Camille

    France Age 15 Academic Year 2023-2024

    Camille, a 15-year-old girl from France who loves fashion and shopping. She also enjoys food, both eating and cooking, and appreciates the cuisines of many countries. Her favorite sport is tennis; she also has four years of gymnastics experience and five years of horseback riding experience. She loves dogs and cats. She hopes for a career in orthodontics because she likes to be useful and take care of people. She hopes "to introduce you to the richness of French culture . . . and the desire to take a trip to France." #152835

    INTERESTS

    Carlota

    Spain Age 16 Academic Year 2023-2024

    Carlota, 16-year-old, from Spain, loves playing Padel Ball (similar to Tennis or Pickleball). She also likes to go to the gym and work out, she used to run competitively but an injury stopped her. She still runs at the gym; she likes to work out as it takes her mind off schoolwork for a little while. Carlota also practiced Flamenco dancing. She really enjoys it but had to stop within the last year due to conflicts with her studies. Carlota loves time with her family. She loves eating dinner with them and discussing her day and then going and watching her younger siblings play soccer. She loves cooking with her Dad and playing Padel Ball with her Mom. She and her family are big Real Madrid fans, and she enjoys it when she can watch a match with her family. Carlota’s favorite subjects are Math and Economics, she hopes to study Business when she goes to university. Carlota also enjoys going to the beach and paddle boarding, jet skiing and swimming. Carlota is excited to live in the United States for a year. She was a little afraid of the thought at first, but her parents supported her in the idea that it would be a unique experience. #152953

    INTERESTS

    Carlotta

    Italy Age 15 Academic Year 2023-2024

    Hi, I'm Carlotta and I’m a fifteen-years-old teenager and I'm from Italy. I'm attending high school where I study languages. I'm friendly and outgoing, I'm good at being part of a team and I quickly adapt to new situations. My qualities are my determination, my honesty and my ability in integrating with others. I'm into drawing, play badminton, photography, travelling and visit museums and art galleries. I started playing badminton a short time ago, but I enjoy it a lot as a sport as it helped me to bond with other people. Drawing is an activity that I have been doing since I was little. I have always liked creating original characters and their stories with my skills. Cooking is an art that distinguishes Italians, in fact even today our grandmothers and mothers teach us how to make the typical dishes of our tradition and I love that! #152769

    INTERESTS

  • 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 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. 

     2023 INFORMATION COMING SOON.

    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 ops@greenheart.org. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • 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!
  • Our Response to COVID-19

    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 are grateful to all our stakeholders for their unwavering commitment to making the world a better place through cultural exchange even as we navigate a global pandemic and it’s aftermath.

    Greenheart will not be requiring host families, participants, or local coordinators to receive a COVID vaccine. However, everyone on the BridgeUSA program through Greenheart Exchange is expected to follow all local and state health guidelines, as well as international travel requirements.

    Please refer to current Centers for Disease Control guidelines for international travel to/from the USA, as well as Greenheart’s “Update on the Reopening of Travel to USA” post.

  • Blog