Host a Student

“We have hosted students from other organizations on at least four occasions. I can confidently say that the students in the YFU program are the best.  They are much better vetted, much better prepared, more respectful and disciplined and prove to be a better overall experience. The student profiles are a much more accurate representation of the student and you can trust it, not so much so with other organizations. We still have a great relationship with all our YFU students and consider them as daughters. I also believe, from our experiences, that YFU is the best organization to interface with as hosts. The program and structure are well-developed, the volunteers we have interacted with are all great people and the support is unparalleled!” – Jeff Shelton, YFU Host Father

Rose from Tanzania is the Menarick’s first exchange student, and as Rose embarked on the journey of a lifetime, she expanded and enriched her new family’s life by introducing her own language and culture. Despite initial obstacles, Rose has persisted in brightening all lives she touched.

Why families host

Hosting a YFU exchange student is a chance to share your story, traditions and customs with others while discovering a new culture right in your own home. YFU exchange students make the world feel smaller, while making your own world bigger. If your family is open to new and enriching experiences – willing to provide guidance, love and support to a young person embarking on a journey of self-discovery – hosting a YFU student is for you!

Hosting is a catalyst in making us all citizens of one world. It brings culture and a sense of adventure to you and your children while teaching valuable lessons about acceptance and global unity to your community.

Hosting brings the world home to you.

Host families have many different faces and backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if you have children or not, whether you’re single, an empty nester or a same sex couple; anyone can be a host family. And you can live anywhere—the suburbs, the city or even a farm. If your family is willing to open yourselves to new experiences and provide guidance, love and support to a student looking to further themselves, you will be a great host family.

Host family support

To ensure a successful exchange for your family and the student, you are supported by a team of dedicated volunteers and staff. Right from the start, YFU  will be there to answer all your questions and assist in the selection of your student. Throughout the exchange, your volunteer will check in to make sure things are going well and support you should challenges occur. 

All volunteers are trained to help you and your student successfully navigate cross-cultural adjustments and challenges. If issues arise and your volunteer is unavailable, other resources are accessible. Trained, professional YFU staff are available to support your family and student 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.


All you really need to host a YFU student is the ability and desire to share your home and open your heart to a new family member. Hosting is all about sharing your version of the American lifestyle with an exchange student.

As a host family, you will receive the YFU Host Family Handbook and other orientation materials. They outline policies and procedures and provide valuable information on what to expect and how to make your exchange experience successful. You will be invited to an orientation before your exchange student arrives and during your exchange you will be expected to attend 2-3 orientations. These typically occur on a weekend for a few hours each. At orientation, you will have the opportunity to talk with local volunteers, meet other host families and their students and develop strategies to ensure that every member of the family gets the most out of your exchange.

All host families must agree to:

  • Attend YFU orientation events, read our preparation materials and maintain regular contact with your local volunteer

  • Understand YFU policies and encourage your student to adhere to those policies

  • Provide for an additional member of the family including a separate bed, suitable study area and three meals per day

  • Help your student adapt to your family and to U.S. life and culture

  • Familiarize your student with your hometown and promote participation in school and community events

  • Offer an emotionally supportive environment

  • Accept the student as a member of your family

Have more questions about becoming a host family? Check out the Host Family Q&A.

We are very proud of the extraordinary support provided to every student and host family. You and your family can count on caring, quality support from YFU volunteers every step of the way.

Intercultural Exchange Programs

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