People often ask, "What's required of host families? What are the criteria?" The main criteria are to have a genuine interest in young people and other cultures, a willingness to feed and house a student, and a commitment to be that student's parent(s) while he or she is far from home. The latter component means providing support, assistance in adjusting to America, and rules for behavior. Thus, the international teen becomes another family member, not a guest.
Exchange students can participate in their already existing hobbies and in the family's activities, whether playing sports, making music, attending church, having adventures in eating out, gardening, cooking, visiting museums, or possibly even attending weddings and funerals! "What if the student wrecks my car?" doesn't have to be a worry, as exchange students are not to operate any motorized vehicles while on the program.
|With Santa and the host dog are, clockwise from right, host dad Barry, host mom Becki, German exchange student Philipp, and host brother Cameron. Though Philipp is back home in Germany, he and his hosts maintain regular contact with each other.||Philipp's entire host family is very active in music and drama; therefore, Philipp and his hosts shared many arts events during his program.|
The local coordinator is available as a resource for both hosts and students. The United States Department of State requires that coordinators talk to students and hosts at least once monthly, and see the students every other month. Coordinators furthermore monitor students' grades to ensure program compliance; CETUSA requires that students maintain at least a "C" average in the American schools.
|In the jaws of the hungry carved tiger is Ruth on an exhange from Mexico. While on her program, Ruth did volunteer translating at a Hispanic health clinic and enjoyed her favorite hobby, basketball. This animal is now on the carousel in Chattanooga's Coolidge Park.||Exchange students enjoying a spontaneous geography lesson with hosts at orientation are (left to right) Pedro from Brazil, host mom Jenny, host brother Adam, Matthias from Germany and (in back) host dad Chris.|