Homestay Hosting Information
Upcoming homestay needs:
The homestay experience is probably the most meaningful and rewarding aspect of our international programs. Visitors remember it forever, and they often stay in touch with their American family for years to come. Your personal Citizen Diplomacy impact is multiplied many times over when your visitor returns home and tells family, friends, and colleagues the true story about our American people and culture.
Your family members are enriched by interacting with an adult professional from another country for one to three weeks. Though it requires attention and energy, the time goes by quickly and you end up with a personal friend who will welcome you if you ever visit their country.
Please take a look at our Homestay Experience Photo album.
Read about homestay experience from our host families.
There are very few requirements for being a homestay host. They are:
ICW is responsible for providing all transportation for visitors. We really appreciate it, however, when host families are able to help with transportation. This usually means bringing your visitor to the ICW office in the morning and picking them up at the end of the workday. If you can provide any transportation, we will work it out with you on a day-to-day basis.
ICW provides all homestay hosts with an information package that includes biographic information about your guest, the program schedule, and lots of other information and suggestions about hosting. We provide full support before, during, and after the program including language interpretation help, troubleshooting all problems, and ensuring that your homestay experience is optimal.
All new homestay families will receive a visit from an ICW representative before they are accepted as a homestay host. During the visit we will meet you and your family, give you a homestay information package, discuss any questions about the homestay experience, and look at your guest accommodations.
All visitors have been carefully screened and selected by the US government, including security screening. They are selected by their personal and professional characteristics, so they tend to be interesting and pleasant people. They have full medical insurance to cover any health emergencies. We do not, however, allow visitors to drive any vehicle since their insurance does not cover liability and any damage would be charged to the car owner’s insurance coverage.
Other Aspects of Hosting:
ICW plans a very busy professional program that keep visitors occupied during all working days and some evenings. We also plan a cultural program that will keep them busy some weekend days and evenings. You will find that the amount of time your visitor spends at home is not a great burden.
Please treat your visitor as a member of the family, including him/her in your usual family activities. For them to fully experience American lifestyles, they should participate in your everyday life including recreation, sport, religious activities, and even household chores.
Of course, you might want to provide your guest with some “special” experiences such as showing them around the Worcester region, taking them to cultural events, or even going out to a restaurant. Any such extras are welcome, but the main goal is for our visitors to be immersed into American family life. (See this homestay photo album for examples .)
Visitors have various levels of ability to speak English. Although language barriers can be challenging, they do not have to dampen the homestay experience. Visitors tend to be inquisitive and will try to communicate with you and improve their English. There are some excellent interpretation websites on the Internet, and it can become a kind of game to see how well you can understand each other using these two-way interpretation services. Also, ICW staff will help with any interpretation needs you may have at any time by phone. Remember, 80% of communication is non-verbal; so the most important social and cultural information is transmitted without words.
We are encouraged to reflect as much diversity as possible in our choice of homestay families. Diversity includes economic, ethnic, and lifestyle factors. We are, therefore, looking for all kinds of households among our homestay hosts, not only traditional families.
As much as possible, we try to give you a choice of visitors. You may have a preference about the gender of your visitor. Or, after reviewing the bios of upcoming visitors, you may have a preference based on professional or personal interests. Although we cannot guarantee your preferred visitor, we do our best to make the best match. We may even make last-minute adjustments based on our first meeting with the visitors when they arrive in Worcester.