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Hosting an international student is a life-changing experience for the entire family that lasts well after the time of the exchange. When you open up your heart and home to an exchange student, you are doing much more than making their dream come true!

You are:

  • learning about your student’s culture and traditions
  • modeling cultural acceptance for your own children
  • making a positive and meaningful impact on your exchange student, family, school and community
  • eligible for a grant for iE’s German and Spanish Summer Immersion Programs (for U.S. host siblings 14-18)


Host families come in all different shapes and sizes, including families with and without children, single parents, empty nesters or same-sex couples. And, you can live anywhere – the suburbs, the city or in the country! What matters most is that you provide a safe and caring environment for an exchange student to live. Your love, guidance and support will mean the world them!

Got questions about how it all works?

Want to hear from an actual exchange student?


Join one of our no-strings-attached free webinars to learn more about:

  • the mission of hosting and student exchange why does it exist?
  • the requirements for host families and how it all works
  • a real exchange student’s perspective

Our webinars are hosted every other Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.

Indicate interest in attending FREE Hosting info webinar

Once you hit submit, one of our team members will reach out to you with information on how to join one of the upcoming information sessions.

What’s Involved?


  • A permanent bed for the exchange student. Students may share a room with a host sibling of the same gender and similar age.
  • Three meals a day. Students are responsible for paying for their own hot lunch at school, if desired.
  • Reasonable transportation to events and school activities, etc.
  • A willingness to include the student in your day-to-day activities such as family dinners.


  • Their own spending money for all personal expenses, including school and sports fees, personal entertainment, clothes, souvenirs, etc.
  • The cost to have a U.S. cell phone plan while on exchange in the U.S.
  • Their own medical insurance to cover injuries and illnesses while they are on exchange in the U.S.
  • A willingness to be an active part of your family, their host school, and their host community.


  • A local coordinator who provides ongoing support and guidance for the student and host family throughout their exchange experience.
  • Orientations for all students and host families.
  • An emergency line answered by an iE staff member 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Monthly email communication including timely and helpful suggestions, reminders and important information.

“Other than a few more groceries and a little more hot water (teenage girls and their showers), I have never felt any sense of sacrifice by hosting – and the rewards are endless. I have fallen in love with every single one of our “kids” and plan to stay in touch with them forever.”

The Jones Family

“Jules brought us so much happiness and joy over the past year. She may not know it but she has shown our family so much love and really opened our eyes to different ways of life and to be open to new ideas and to approach every challenge with a smile. She will forever be our German daughter.”

The Cronk Family

“We loved hosting with IE. Hosting gave our family such a rich cultural experience. My children became great hosts learning to empathize and teach someone about our lives. Hosting gives you new eyes into your world. We spent more time as a family exploring our world. The staff at iE were so fun and accommodating they feel like old friends as well. “

The Smith Family

“We had an awesome exchange student and an amazing experience. Javier fit in perfectly with our family, he was sweet, crazy, silly, funny, loving (and protective) to his host brothers. We really enjoyed hosting him and we all miss him so much!”

The Lenzmeier Family

“We welcomed Cayetana into our home on a whim, not knowing she’d be moving into our hearts as well. She became a big part of our family and we remain close, years later. We are so happy we chose to host an exchange student and were lucky to have met a great young woman.”

The Wruck Family

“The hardest part of the year wasn’t in the adjusting to life with our student, rather adjusting back to life without them. The experiences we’ve had have been unmatched and have forever connected our hearts to incredible young people that will always remain a part of our lives.”

The Jacobs Family

“Being a host family has brought 16 kids, and their families, into our lives that we call family. When the kids have arrived in Colorado, we feel that they are already a part of our family and can’t wait for our adventure to begin. We have seen so many places with our exchange kids and visited many places when visiting them in their countries.”

The Ladbury Family

“We had an amazing year and built relationships that will last forever. This experience has been life changing for our family and our students will always have a branch of their family that extends to the United States.”

The Morris Family

“Wendy and I have been a host family with iE for many years now. Last fall we welcomed our 5th exchange student, Lotte. We have shared our culture, our American way of life and our values with the students that have lived with us and we’ve learned so much about their world at the same time.  Our lives have been truly blessed in hosting these kids.”

The Mathieu Family

“After our children finished school and started their own families we found ourselves with a void in our home and in our lives.  Having enough room in our home, we decided to host.  Even after 6 years and 11 students we always look forward to the next set of students we pick. They really keep us young at heart.  These students will always be a part of our family!”

The Lowe Family

“I have hosted 4 students from 3 countries.  My experiences have been wonderful and have added much to my life.  In return, I have visited 3 families in 3 countries.  All of my students and their families have kept in contact with me.  I am the student’s father and mentor, and I become their American Father.”

The Kingman Family

“Our children really enjoyed having an extra sibling or two! We got to know and share our world and cultures with each other. We really enjoy hosting and showing others that you don’t have to be the same to want to show love and to give them an experience of a lifetime.”

The Villar Family

How do I become a Host Family?


Complete an iE Host Family Application

Provide iE information about you, your family and your community.  Select portions of your application will be visible by the exchange student you ultimately decide to host.

Background Check

Anyone 18 years of age and older living in a host family’s home must complete a Criminal Background Check through ClearStar’s secure online portal. This background check confirms one’s criminal history versus a financial credit check. There are no costs associated with obtaining this criminal background check.

Host Family Interview

An iE representative who lives near you will come to your home to meet with your family to discuss the details of hosting an iE student, plus answer any questions you may have.  This visit also provides iE an excellent opportunity to see firsthand where an exchange student would be living to ensure it meets the hosting requirements.

Select Your Student

Once your application has been submitted and approved, your local coordinator will help you select a student that is the best fit for you and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions:


When can I start communicating with my student?

Once a student’s placement is finalized, the host family and student can begin communicating with each other via email, phone, etc.

Can I host more than one student at a time?

Yes! A host family may host two students in their home at the same time, which is called a double placement. The students must be from different countries and speak different native languages.

Will hosting disrupt our family life?

Students are eager to be an active part of your family. The goal of their exchange is to experience what the day-to-day life is like for a student in America. Therefore, we recommend that you do not to change your routine.

Do I get paid to host an exchange student?

No, most of our host families are volunteers.

If you are looking for a paid opportunity with iE, consider becoming a local coordinator.

Realistically, what is our financial commitment?

The only expenses for your family will be the costs of including another person in your regular activities, including meals, housing and reasonable transportation.  

How are iE exchange students chosen?

A thorough application and vetting process occurs to ensure iE’s students are qualified and prepared to live and study abroad. In addition to academic requirements, teacher references, and English proficiency exams, iE staff conduct a lengthy home interview with each potential student and their natural parents prior to accepting them into our program.

When is my student notified of their placement?

Click here to find out more information.