How to host exchange students for income

Updated March 23, 2017

Every year, high school and college students travel outside of their home countries to experience different cultures and continue their education. And each year, host families step up to offer these students homes for the duration of their stay. According to the EF Foundation for Foreign Study, an organisation that works with exchange students, hosting can be beneficial to families for many reasons, including fostering a sense of volunteerism, providing a place to learn more about another culture and breaking ground for a new relationship. Host families who work with certain organisations can have these benefits while also earning a little extra income. To learn how to host exchange students for money, follow these simple steps.

Locate local hosting organisations. There are a variety of hosting organisations in the United States and other countries; however, not each operates in all localities. Call local high schools and colleges to get a list of organisations that are active in your area. You can also go to an organisation's website to determine whether or not it needs host families where you live. Some hosting organisations include the Center for Cultural Interchange, International Student Exchange and the EF Foundation for Foreign Study.

Research organisations' backgrounds. Exchange student organisations differ greatly among themselves. Some are non-profit, others are connected with a particular school or program and all have a reputation. Use the organisation's website to learn basic information, and contact your local representative, whose contact information should be on the organisation's website. But don't just stop there; also check with local schools and previous host families that have worked with the organisation to get an idea of whether or not it is legitimate and reliable. You should be able to get a list of host families and schools that have used the organisation from the local representative. If you can't, you might want to reconsider hosting with that particular organisation.

Choose a hosting organisation or decide to host without an organisation. To choose an organisation, pick the one that appeared easiest to work with during your research phase. Also, consider the income implications when choosing an organisation. Most exchange student non-profits look for volunteer families, meaning that no income is involved. However, some organisations offer the host family a stipend. A homestay program at a college will often require the student to pay you rent through the college's exchange program. For instance, the Canadian Language Learning College offers pay to host families. You can also offer to host without an organisation at the college level. This means advertising your home as a place where international students can stay for a rent payment.

Canadian Language Learning College 203 - 1871 Market Street Halifax, NS, Canada B3J 3A9 +1-902-461-0919

Apply for a host position. Education First, like many other exchange student organisations, allows host families to apply online. The process for this organisation entails filling out an online application, choosing a student from a database and attending an orientation session. Some organisations have different requirements -- such as meeting you in your home -- before you can be a host family.

EF Foundation for Foreign Study EF Center Boston 1 Education St. Cambridge, MA 02141 1-800-44-SHARE

Go over final details with your coordinator. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand the policies involved with hosting an exchange student, as well as payment procedures. At the Canadian Language Learning College, the school promises to pay the host family even if the student defaults. Check to see if a similar policy is in place with the organisation that you are using.


Even if you can't find an organisation that will compensate you financially for hosting an exchange student, you may be able to find one that will compensate you in other ways. For instance, the EF Foundation for Foreign Study cites tax breaks, scholarships, awards and discounted travel as some benefits of hosting. Other organisations offer the au pair program, in which you pay for a student to live in your home as a low-cost nanny and housekeeper.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access
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About the Author

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.