Short-Term Exchange Student Hosting
Ann Arbor, MI: October 19, 2024 – November 2nd, 2024
St. Louis, MO: September 27, 2024 – October 11th, 2024
USA 4 U Students Volunteering
USA 4 U Program
Discover the many benefits of hosting with short-term exchanges. Students from Germany participating in our USA for U program want to learn more about your family traditions and American culture. Youth engaging in this community service-focused program for underprivileged youth are eager to learn about America through their families. Students participating in this program are awarded a full scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, the Bosch Foundation, the German Bundestag, and local government offices.

Get ready to experience our American traditions as you never have before; through the eyes of a curious international student. Meet the Students!

Families in communities surrounding the Ann Arbor, MI, and St. Louis, MO areas are encouraged to get involved! YFU welcomes diverse families to host, including those with two working parents, individuals with or without children, seniors and retired individuals, same-sex couples, etc. Let us know if you are interested at hosting@yfu.org, 989.777.4420, 1.800.TEENAGE (800.833.6243) or contact us here for more information. 

How Long Do You Host A USA 4 U Student?
Youth For Understanding offers 2-week study abroad programs for foreign students. Participants will be able to connect with their host families and immerse themselves in the American experience. This program is perfect for those who want to engage in a short-term cultural immersion.
What Do Short-Term Exchange Students Do During The Program?

During the weekdays, students receive English language instruction, participate in visits to cultural and community sites, and volunteer with local community service organizations chaperoned by YFU staff. Evenings and weekends are dedicated to spending time with you, their YFU host family.

Short-term program students have a basic understanding of the English language and a keen interest in learning about U.S. culture. They are eager to increase their English proficiency, make friends, and contribute to American family life. View a Sample Itinerary!

USA 4 U Students Volunteering

What Is The Role of the Short-Term Host Family?

Families who open their homes to these students provide accommodations, meals, transportation to a designated meeting place, and supportive parenting for a most meaningful short-term intercultural experience!

How Are Students Selected?

At YFU, we are committed to a meticulous selection process for our short-term hosting programs. This ensures a safe, enriching, and harmonious experience for both the student and the host family which includes:

  • Application and screening: Students engage in a detailed application process, including forms, essays, and interviews, to understand their motivations, expectations, and compatibility with international exchange.

  • Background checks: Rigorous background checks, including academic records, character references, and health screenings, are conducted to ensure the safety and well-being of our host families and communities.

  • Cultural and language proficiency: We assess students for their cultural sensitivity and basic English proficiency, vital for a meaningful and engaging exchange experience.

  • Orientation and training: Comprehensive orientation and training are provided to students in their home countries, preparing them for the cultural challenges ahead, and equipping them with skills for a successful exchange.

Benefits Of Short-Term Hosting

Embracing the role of a host family in YFU’s short-term exchange programs is a journey of opening your home and heart to new cultures, experiences, and perspectives. This journey’s benefits extend to host families and students, creating a mutually enriching experience for all.

Cultural exchange is at the heart of YFU’s mission. Host families gain a deeper understanding of different cultures, customs, and traditions while students experience American culture firsthand, enhancing their global awareness and adaptability. This exchange of cultures enriches both parties, broadening their worldviews and fostering mutual respect and understanding.

The relationships formed during the hosting period often last a lifetime. Host families expand their global network through lasting international friendships while students build connections that foster a sense of global citizenship. 

These connections are beneficial not only in the short term but can also lead to lifelong bonds and opportunities for the children of the host families and foreign students.

Language exposure is a two-way street in the hosting experience. Families can learn or practice a new language with the student, while students significantly improve their English language skills through daily interactions and immersion.

Hosting an exchange student introduces a new dynamic to family life. It encourages empathy, broadens perspectives, and strengthens communication within the family. For students, experiencing the warmth and support of a family environment aids their personal growth and adaptation to a new culture.

The short-term nature of these hosting programs offers a unique advantage. Host families can experience the joys and rewards of hosting without a long-term commitment, making it a more accessible option for many.

USA 4 U - Short Term Hosting Images
What Are The Requirements To Host A Foreign Exchange Student?

Hosting a foreign exchange student with Youth For Understanding (YFU) is a unique opportunity to bring cultural exchange into your home and community. As a host family, you play a crucial role in providing a nurturing and supportive environment for the student. 

The primary responsibilities include offering accommodations and meals and integrating the student as an integral member of the family. This means creating a space where they feel welcomed, valued, and part of your daily life.

YFU and the United States Department of State have established specific criteria to ensure the student and host family’s safety and well-being. Prospective host parents must be 25 or older, pass a background check, and maintain a stable and appropriate household. This process is designed to ensure that the host environment is conducive to a positive and enriching experience for the student.

Students are expected to cover their travel expenses, health insurance, school-related costs, cell phone expenses, and personal spending money. This arrangement allows host families to focus on providing a supportive and enriching cultural experience without the burden of additional financial responsibilities. 

If you’re considering becoming a host family, YFU is here to assist you in determining if your family meets our program requirements and to help you find the student who’s the right fit for your family.

How To Become A Host Family For Short-Term Programs

Hosting a foreign exchange student with Youth For Understanding is an enriching experience for hosting families and foreign students. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started with your application as a host:

  1. Start your application: Start the application process directly on our application page.
  2. Register and complete forms: Fill out the necessary forms, including the Application, Photo Album, and Background Check.
  3. Submit and verify: Once you’ve completed the forms, submit your application. Make sure all family members over 18 complete the Background Check.
  4. Engage in the process: The application may include interviews and meetings with YFU representatives to discuss the program and student assignments.

Refer other families: If you know other interested families, you can refer host families to YFU.

USA 4 U Students and staff in front of the United States Capitol.
Do You Get Paid For Hosting A Foreign Exchange Student?

Hosting a foreign exchange student with Youth For Understanding is a volunteer position guided by a spirit of cultural exchange and mutual understanding. According to the regulations set by the U.S. Department of State, host families do not receive monetary compensation. This policy ensures that the primary motivation for hosting is the enriching experience of cultural exchange rather than financial gain.

While there is no direct financial compensation, host families may be eligible for a charitable tax deduction on their tax returns to appreciate their invaluable contribution to fostering global connections.

Tips For Hosting International Students For 2 Weeks

When hosting international students, even for a short period like two weeks, it’s essential to create a welcoming and enriching environment. Here are some key tips to help you prepare and ensure a memorable experience for your family and the students.

Begin with a warm, friendly greeting. A welcoming atmosphere from the start helps students feel comfortable and valued. Show them around your home, introduce them to family members, and let them know you’re excited about the cultural exchange ahead.

Take the time to orient your guests to your home and local area. Explain household rules, emergency procedures, and any cultural practices. This will help them acclimate to a new environment and demonstrate your commitment to their safety and well-being.

Embrace the opportunity for cultural exchange. Share stories about your traditions and daily life, and encourage them to do the same. This mutual sharing enriches the experience, fostering understanding and respect for each other’s cultures.

Food is a fantastic cultural bridge. Involve your guests in cooking and trying out traditional dishes from your culture, and encourage them to share recipes from their homeland. This creates a delightful culinary experience and sparks conversations about cultural practices and preferences.

Organize activities that are both entertaining and culturally enlightening. This could include local sightseeing, participating in community events, or simple family activities. These shared experiences create lasting memories and deepen the student’s understanding of your culture.

“We believe we met an outstanding young man who was courteous, respectful of our values, and a true ambassador.”

— Jim and Judy Gilliland, Upper Sandusky, Ohio