Host Family Guidelines
Student has to be part of the family
Students should be welcomed as a family member and treated with the same amount of respect and compassion that you would give your own child. Students should also be expected to follow the family rules and assist with household chores the same way an American son or daughter might. Students should not be expected to act as babysitters or housecleaners.
We recommended to write down all the house rules with the student during the first week of arrival and to make sure that the student is familiar with the house and all the house rules. Families that expect students to learn by watching the actions of their own children will often be disappointed. Do not expect students to learn through observation only and it is important that all expectations are written down and posted somewhere to serve as a reminder
The family must provide a separate bed, in a bedroom/enclosed room, for their student. The student may share a room with one host sibling of the same gender and similar age. The student’s bed can not be placed in an open area such as a family room or furnished basement.
The family will ensure that the student has transportation to and from the school. If there is no school bus or public transportation available, then the family will have to arrange for a carpool or drive the student to and from school.
No attempt should ever be made to change your student’s religious beliefs; however, it is acceptable to give your student an opportunity to explore your religion as part of their cultural exposure. You may ask your student to attend church, synagogue or temple services on a few occasions, but they should not be required to attend regularly.
The family must provide up to three meals per day, including a sack lunch on school days. If the student wishes to buy lunch at school the student is responsible for paying for lunch.
Family members can be helpful to the student’s progress by showing interest in English conversation, asking questions about their progress at school and their adjustment to life in their new community.
Your student will bring their own spending money. ETC recommends that students arrive with a credit/debit card to access their money or set up their own bank account if they arrive with cash/traveler’s checks. They should not share the bank account with anyone else. Students and their host families should not borrow money from each other. Money misunderstandings can create distrust in student/host family relationships.
Each month your student is here, your LC is required to complete a monthly report. Host families should assist in the timely completion of the monthly report. Please set aside a few minutes at the end of each month to discuss with your LC how things are going with your student. Each month your LC is required to visit with your student in person. This may take place outside of the home, with other exchange students, or occasionally at your home. Please be cooperative with your coordinator in setting up these visits.
The student is responsible for all personal expenses including:
Meals: The Host Family must provide three meals a day. However, the student is responsible for additional meals. If the student wants to buy lunch at school, they must pay that cost. If the student requires special foods that are not part of family’s normal diet, the student is responsible for buying that food. Entertainment: Movies, snacks, sports events, restaurant meals, ETC events Travel and Excursions: Any cost associated with travel activities. Personal Items: Toothpaste, shampoo, makeup, deodorant, etc. Clothing: All clothing including winter jackets. School expenses: Including books, class fees, yearbooks, sports and special events. Transportation: Travel to and from school if there is not a school bus. Phone calls: Long distance telephone calls. Miscellaneous: Stamps, film and processing, convalidation fees.
Students are insured for medical and dental emergencies. Families should not pay any medical or dental bills. The student’s insurance card or information sheet will have the appropriate information for reimbursement. Please see the “Insurance” section for more information.
Guns are not a part of most other cultures. Families who have guns must not display them to the students and should keep them SECURELY LOCKED AWAY at all times. ETC students are not allowed to participate, in any hunting or gun related events or excursions due to liability purposes. Paintball is not covered by the insurance and is also forbidden.
Students are NOT allowed to drive motorized vehicles of any kind, including ATVs and wave runners, or take Driver Education Classes while on the program.
ETC students may not buy, possess or use tobacco products while on the program.
Education Travel & Culture is an educational homestay program, promising students the experience of living with an American family and attending an American high school. ETC is not a travel program, and host families are not expected to take students touring the country. All travel requests must be pre-approved by the host family, ETC, and the student’s natural parents. Please see the Travel section of the handbook for more details.
The family should be gracious in receiving gifts from the student’s families, but it is not necessary for you to feel obligated to give gifts, since you are already providing the student with room and board. It is not uncommon for a family to give their student a gift for their Birthday or Holiday, but should not feel the pressure to give elaborate or expensive presents.
Host families are encouraged to participate in ETC activities, especially the ‘Welcome Party’ in the fall and the ‘Farewell Party’ in the spring. Your Local Coordinator (LC) should also include host families in various events. Please call your Local Coordinator, if you would like contact information for other host families in your area.
The family should accept these guidelines and the authority of the LC. If problems arise which the LC cannot resolve, please contact the ETC office. The office can be reached 24 hours a day at (503)222-9803 or toll free (877)222-9803. Our program will also have access to an interpreter for emergencies.