Publish at June 16 2022 Updated June 20 2022

This summer, I become a host family for a foreign student

Sharing culture and opening up to the world

Ah, the benefits of language immersion, no one can deny! Any young person who has had the opportunity and the chance to participate in a summer camp, a language stay or a school trip knows how this kind of exciting experience remains forever engraved in our memories!

Participating is good. But have you ever thought about becoming a host family yourself? When young people go to a family for immersion, there are many people who receive them, so why don't you too, in turn, give back and give a young person from another country the chance to come and live with you for a little while to learn the language of Molière?

Because language immersion doesn't just happen on the side of the young traveler, but also on the side of the host family, which has a crucial role to play in the success of this undertaking. Why not discover a new culture while sharing your own? What if this summer I became a host family?

The host family, the key to the student's well-being

When a young person (or not!) decides to go abroad to learn a language or study abroad, he or she has a choice: either go to a student residence, most often directly on campus, or go to a host family. This second choice is highly recommended, as it will allow the learner to be in a total immersive context.

The host family is therefore considered a key element in the well-being of students, as it provides much more than room and board. Indeed, their role is to allow the student to make the connection with the school and the community, but also to make friends, learn a new language and enjoy their experience abroad. The host family offers a true cultural and traditional immersion that will be forever etched in the participant's memory. 

The host family plays a bit of a role as parents abroad: in addition to providing safe housing, they must also feed their host. However, it is not about running a hostel or staying in a hotel! In fact, the young participant must be welcomed as a member of the family. In this sense, like a child of the house, he can -and should!- participate in small household tasks and have the same responsibilities, such as setting the table, serving, washing dishes, tidying his room, making his bed...

In addition to sharing a way of life, board and lodging, the host family, like real parents, must advise and support the young person. Being their point of reference in this unknown country, their guidance, availability, presence, support, but also their participation and collaboration with the referral organization (in reference the school) remains paramount in the success of the participant's immersive experience.

Why become a host family? 

Whether you are alone, a couple, with children, without children, with pets or without... it doesn't matter, everyone is welcome, as everyone is likely to represent the social and cultural diversity of the host country.

Hosting a student is welcoming adventure by giving yourself or your family the opportunity to discover another culture through the eyes of that young person. It is also welcoming change by bringing the dimension of cultural openness and offering a great opportunity for tolerance, communication and adaptability.

It is still discovery, as you also share your culture and traditions to others. Finally, it is a meeting, the possibility to create strong and lasting relationships and to create true international friendships for the long term.

How to become a host family?

Numerous organizations are actively looking for host families for the summer, for a few weeks or for an entire school year. A simple investigation will yield a plethora of items to which you can apply.

See the Thot Directory of Student Exchange Programs and the Thot Directory of Language Trips.

Once you've made your choice, ask around, ask questions, and get in touch with the people in charge! Then comes the (painstaking) selection process, both on your end and the students', as the matching stage is paramount in this process.

Of course, you may have small "requirements", such as choosing a girl or a boy, their country of origin, their religion, their age, their diet... the objective is that on both sides there is something for everyone, both from the young person's point of view and yours. Once the ideal match is made, prepare to host the student by providing a quiet, comfortable room and keeping close contact with the host organization, which will always be there to provide support and advice throughout your young host's stay.

Reassure yourself, if you are a little nervous about this new experience, tell yourself that he/she is too! Moreover, these are hand-picked young people, considered good students in their home countries, curious and ready to invest in this new adventure. They are truly motivated by this experience and are eager to discover your world! So give a young person a chance, and also give yourself a chance to allow two cultures to meet and create beautiful, long-term friendships!


Some organizations in Canada

In France:

In Belgium:

In Switzerland:


Welcome, Pixabay, 

Student, Pixabay,

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