How International Student Exchange Programs Work
Most international student boarding programs begin at the school level. Schools can partner with a hosting agency to begin pairing students and host families that match each other’s lifestyle and personality. The partnering process for a school differs between agencies, but once this happens, agencies will then be able to match students. Many hosting agencies will have a bank of families both abroad and in your local area who are willing to host students, and not every single family will be able to host someone. Having such a bank enables hosting agencies to better match each student with their particular family.
Students are required to obtain visas to live and study somewhere, whether that be in the United States or elsewhere. If you have a student that wants to study abroad, be sure to look up the requirements for doing so before diving in. Most schools and hosting agencies can also answer any questions you may have about the process. There are also different kinds of visas depending on the student’s need – some students that travel to the United States are here for a year, while others may be here for a shorter period of time. If you’re sending a student elsewhere, there could be similar restrictions.
All families are given a background check prior to receiving a foreign student to ensure that the student is in a suitable, safe home for their time in the United States. After the background check, students and families check in to hosting agencies to make sure that everything is going well and the fit is right. Students are required to obtain the proper immunizations and health insurance to stay in the United States, which is often advised by the hosting agency. They are also given an emergency contact in the hosting agency. The whole experience is well-documented, so that no one experiences any discomfort and so long-lasting bonds can be formed between the hosting family and student.