15 COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED BY HOST FAMILIES
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE
AN ERDT/SHARE! HOST FAMILY?
The most important quality we look for in a
Host Family is the genuine desire to open your home to an international high
school exchange student and to treat your student as you would a member of
your own family.
All ERDT/SHARE! Host families believe in the importance of cross-cultural
exchange and are eager to learn about other countries and cultures as well
as to share their American way of life with their student. Host
Families need not be two-parent households nor have teenagers in the home to
Qualities that are sought in a Host Family are friendliness, warmth,
flexibility and financial and home stability. The Host Family
must also have the means to provide room and board for the student for the
period of the student’s stay. The socio-economic or educational level of
the family is not as important as the family’s willingness to share and
learn with their exchange student.
DO HOST FAMILIES RECEIVE
COMPENSATION FOR HOSTING?
ERDT/SHARE! Host Families are volunteer and do not receive payment for
hosting. By eliminating any monetary incentives for hosting, ERDT/SHARE!
ensures that all motivation for hosting comes
from the heart. The IRS allows each family to deduct $50.00 for each month
that the exchange student lives with them. Exchange students bring their
own spending money and are expected to pay for souvenirs and personal items.
HOW LONG IS THE SHARE!
HIGH SCHOOL EXCHANGE PROGRAM?
exchange students live with a Host Family and
attend high school for a full, 10-month academic year or for a 5-month
semester program. All students arrive approximately one week before school
begins and depart 7-10 days after the program ends. The full academic year
students arrive in late August and depart in June. The students
participating in the 5-month fall semester program arrive in late August and
depart in January. The 5-month spring semester students arrive in
mid-January and depart in June. If the high school in your area starts
early or your family will be on vacation, special arrangements can be made
for the arrival date of your student.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT
WILL WE RECEIVE?
ERDT/SHARE! Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) has been trained to be
sensitive to both the needs of the Host Family and the needs of your
exchange student. Your Exchange Program Coordinator is available to provide
orientations, to answer questions, and to offer support. On the occasion
when your Exchange Program Coordinator might not be available, the
ERDT/SHARE! office staff may be reached by
calling our toll-free number
1-800-321-3738. In the event of an emergency, an ERDT/SHARE!
staff member is always available on a 24-hour
basis. We greatly appreciate the generosity of our Host Families and strive
to provide each Host Family with all of the support and understanding that
they might need to ensure an enriching cross-cultural experience.
WILL WE RECEIVE
INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOSTING EXPERIENCE?
Exchange Program Coordinator will visit you in your home to explain the
hosting experience and to answer any questions that you may have. Before
your student arrives, you will have a meeting, either as a group with other
Host Families or individually with your Exchange Program Coordinator. You
will be provided with orientation materials that will provide more details
about the intercultural experience of hosting. When you select a student
and the placement is confirmed, you will receive a Host Family Packet from
the ERDT/SHARE! office, which contains information about insurance coverage,
policies, rules and regulations as well as cultural information. Also
included in the Host Family Packet is the SHARE! Host Family Orientation
WHAT WILL OUR EXCHANGE
exchange students who participate in the SHARE! High School Exchange Program
Expect to be treated as a member of your family. They have made the
decision to leave behind their own family and friends for 5 or 10 months to
have the experience of living with an American family and attending an
American high school. The international students are as diverse as the
American families who host them. Some are outgoing and gregarious; others
are quiet and shy. Like most teenagers around the world, they are curious
and inquisitive. They have come to the U.S. to discover what
the American way of life is all about. They have also come as ambassadors
from their countries to share their way of life with you. Your exchange
student will expect you to communicate with him/her about your values, and
will also expect you to listen when he/she tells you about the way of life
of his/her country.
WILL OUR STUDENT ABIDE
BY THE RULES OF OUR HOME?
student is expected to behave as a member of your family and follow all of
the rules and expectations of your household. Since every family has its
own set of house rules and policies, it is important for the family to take
time in the beginning to explain to their quest everything that is needed to
know about your household, including rules, chores, daily schedules,
curfews, etc. Your Exchange Program Coordinator will provide you with
information which will be helpful to you in the initial stages of you
hosting experience. In addition, the SHARE! Host Family Orientation
Handbook contains information about communicating rules and regulations to
your exchange student. You should be honest and open about your household
rules. Remember, your student is not merely a quest, but a new member of
WHO PAYS FOR OUR
EXCHANGE STUDENT’S EXPENSES DURING THE PROGRAM?
exchange students have their own spending money and are requested to bring
or receive from the home approximately $200 - $300 per month to cover
personal expenses, such as school supplies, clothing, snacks outside of the
home and entertainment, etc. Host Families are expected to provide only
room and board for the student. The expenses of the Host Families will
differ, depending on the lifestyles of each individual family.
MAY OUR EXCHANGE STUDENT
SHARE A BEDROOM WITH ONE OF OUR CHILDREN?
Many ERDT/SHARE! families
do not have enough bedrooms in their home to accommodate an exchange student
with a private bedroom. We require only that your student be given his or
her own bed and space in the closet and the chest of drawers. Consideration
should be given to the fact that your student will be attending high school
and will be required to study and do homework.
THE HOST FAMILY THE LEGAL SPONSOR FOR THE STUDENT?
ERDT/SHARE! is the legal sponsor for the
student. As the legal sponsor, ERDT/SHARE! issues
the documents necessary for the student to obtain an exchange-visitor visa
to enter the United States and to participate in the SHARE!
High School Exchange Program. ERDT/SHARE!
remains legally responsible for the student for
the duration of the program. The Host Family does, however, have permission
to obtain medical treatment from a licensed physician for the student when
necessary. A medical release signed by the biological parents is included
in the student’s application.
OUR STUDENT HAVE INSURANCE COVERAGE?
Your exchange student is covered with
medical/accident insurance and will receive an insurance card. Emergency
dental treatment is covered for relief of pain or when damage to the teeth
is caused by an accident. You will receive insurance information and claim
forms prior to the arrival of your student.
WOULD IT BE ACCEPTABLE
TO INVITE OUR STUDENT TO OUR PLACE OF WORSHIP?
Your exchange student should be invited to
attend your place of worship. If your exchange student is of a different
religion, but is interested in attending your church, temple, or synagogue
to learn more about this aspect of our culture, they should be welcomed and
encouraged. However, attendance of religious services should not be forced
upon the student. Arrangements should be made to allow the exchange student
to attend the church of his/her choice if so desired.
MAY WE ALLOW OUR STUDENT
TO TRAVEL ON HIS/HER OWN?
Your exchange student is not permitted to
travel outside the local area by himself/herself
or with peers. Overnight travel with the Host Family, another family, or a
responsible adult is permitted if prior consent is given by the Host Family
and Exchange Program Coordinator. Overnight travel is also permitted with
an approved group (e.g. church, school, etc.). The Host Family and the
Exchange Program Coordinator must be informed of all such trips and have a
telephone contact, i.e. the name and telephone number of a responsible
adult, in order to reach the student in an emergency.
HOW IS THE PARTICIPANT’S
FEE PUT TO USE?
The exchange students pay a fee in their home
country that is established by our Overseas Representative in each
particular country. The fee covers the many costs and expenses that are
necessary for a successful exchange program. A large portion of the fee
covers round-trip airfare to the final destination in the U.S., pre-departure orientation meeting in the student’s home
country, and educational and program materials
for the students. The overseas office also uses a portion of the fee for
promoting the program and for office overhead and administration.
In the United States,
ERDT/SHARE! uses approximately 30% of our fee for
placement, orientations, and supervision. Another 10%
covers health and accident insurance for the entire period of the students’
stay in the United States. Advertising, promotion, and materials are
approximately 20% of the fee, with the remaining 40% used to cover office
overhead and administration of the program in the United States.
ERDT/SHARE! is a nonprofit educational
foundation, and as a designated sponsor of high school exchange students is
subject to regulations established by the United States Department of State.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT
Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT)
has over twenty years experience promoting cross-cultural exchange. We are
a well-established and a well-respected student exchange organization that
takes pride in our very personal approach to student exchange. We are a
medium-sized organization—large enough to provide stability and variety but
small enough to maintain a personal touch. Being as selective as we are, we
can maintain a family-like atmosphere that extends to our field staff, host
families, and exchange students.
established in 1974 and has been successfully involved in working with
international students--both individually and in groups—for short-term and
long-term educational and homestay programs. In 1980, ERDT/SHARE!
was designated by the United States Department of State
to sponsor high school exchange students—our SHARE!
Student Exchange Program. In addition, ERDT/SHARE!
organizes various Special Programs, including
short-term homestays and outbound programs for Americans. ERDT/SHARE!
is included in the Advisory List published by the
Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), an
independent not-for-profit organization committed to qualify international
educational travel. CSIET establishes standards for organizations and
monitors compliance with those standards. ERDT/SHARE!
is proud to have met the criteria for listing in the
CSIET Advisory List since 1984.