Host an Exchange Student

Bring Cultural Exchange to Your Community by Hosting a High School Student

  • Access available student profiles
  • Filter by interests and country
  • Find the perfect fit for your family

Why Become a Host Family

  • Discover a new culture without leaving home
  • Gain a new appreciation for American culture and customs
  • Develop lifelong international friendships that span across the globe
  • Teach your family about diversity and global unity
  • 24/7 support from YFU staff and your Local Coordinator
  • Enrich your entire community

How Does Hosting An International Exchange Student Work?

You can host exchange students for just a semester, a full academic year, or to act as a 12-week Welcome Family.

We help you find the perfect exchange student for your family dynamics by filtering country of origin, gender, age, and/or interests. Access available student profiles from all over the globe on our Meet The Students page.

The safety of our exchange students and support for everyone involved is our number one priority. Here are the steps you will need to take to qualify for hosting an international student with Youth For Understanding.

Find your student

  1. Create Hosting Account
  2. Apply to Host
  3. Receive Approval
  4. Pick Your Student
  5. Take your Pre-Arrival Orientation
  6. Connect With Your New Family Member!
Hosting A Foreign Exchange Student

How Do I Become a Successful Host Family?


Joining YFU’s international host family program is not just about opening your home; it’s about opening your world to new cultures, ideas, and friendships, creating a lasting impact on both your family and the student you host.


When you host an exchange student, you embark on a journey of cultural enrichment and mutual learning. As a host family, you become ambassadors of cultural understanding, fostering an atmosphere where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated.

This role is integral in hosting international students, where every interaction is a chance to learn and grow together.

In our foreign exchange student programs for high school students, academic and personal growth go hand in hand.
Hosting a foreign exchange student means providing a supportive environment for their academic endeavors and personal development. Your role as a host family is crucial in guiding them towards success and confidence in their new surroundings.

Hosting international students is an opportunity to build lasting relationships that transcend geographical boundaries. It’s about sharing your family’s traditions and embracing new customs, creating shared experiences that enrich both your lives.

As part of the international host family program, these shared moments become the foundation of lifelong connections.

By choosing to host an exchange student, you’re nurturing a future global citizen. Celebrate this journey by embracing the unique perspectives and insights they bring, fostering a deeper understanding of the world we share. As a host family, you play a vital role in shaping the global community, one student at a time.

Host An Exchange Student

Why Choose YFU?

Since 1951, Youth For Understanding has connected more than half a million students with caring host families from over 60 global partners. YFU is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious international exchange organizations.

Since 1951, Youth For Understanding has connected more than half a million students with caring host families from over 60 global partners. YFU is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious international exchange organizations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Host families provide exchange students with accommodations, meals, and welcome them as integral family members. Exchange students are responsible for their own travel expenses, health insurance, school-related costs, cell phone expenses, and personal spending money. Both YFU and the United States Department of State have specific criteria that host families must meet. For instance, host parents should be aged 25 or older, pass a background check, and maintain a stable and appropriate household. If you are interested, please contact us! We will assist you in determining if your family meets our program requirements and help you find the student that’s the “right fit” for your family.

There is no such thing as a “typical” host family. Our host families embody the rich tapestry of American culture and we wholeheartedly welcome families of every shape and size to join our program. This includes single people, same-sex couples, retirees, empty nesters, or families without school aged children. Some families have young or adolescent children, while others may be empty-nesters or newly married couples. We welcome exceptional people to host who are single individuals, same-sex couples, and grandparents. Diversity is always celebrated and embraced within our program. If you know a person or family who would be great hosts to international students, please refer them as a host family. We’d love to meet them!

YFU exchange students are as diverse as our host families. They make the world feel smaller while making your world larger. Exchange students come from more than 60+ countries and range in age from 15 to 18. YFU students speak English, attend your local high school, bring their own spending money and insurance, and are very excited to participate in your family’s daily activities.

Meet our YFU exchange students and find the perfect match for your family today!

Hosting international exchange students with YFU is a volunteer position. As per the regulations set by the U.S. Department of State, host families do not receive monetary compensation. This policy ensures that host families engage in the program with genuine intentions. Nevertheless, as citizen ambassadors, host families may qualify for a charitable tax deduction on their tax returns as a token of appreciation for their valuable contribution.

Yes, and with the help of your Local Coordinator and YFU staff, we will work with you to help you find a great student match. We have over 70 years of experience matching students with their American host families and high schools. If you have an idea of the kind of student that would be the best fit for your family, let’s talk about it!

YFU exchange students come to the United States for either one semester or a full academic year. Host families may also choose to host as a Welcome Family for up to 12 weeks. We also offer short-term hosting in select geographical areas.

To ensure a successful exchange for your family and the international student, you are supported by a team of dedicated volunteers and staff. Right from the start, YFU will be there to answer all your questions and assist in the selection of your student. Throughout the exchange, your Local Coordinator will check in to make sure things are going well and support you should challenges occur. All volunteers are trained to help you and your student successfully navigate cross-cultural adjustments and challenges. If issues arise and your volunteer is unavailable, other resources are accessible. Trained, professional YFU staff are available to support your family and student 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

We are committed to making sure that our exchange students and host families have a wonderful experience. If problems ever arise, you can rely on your Local Coordinator, Support Services Manager, district Community Manager, and other full-time YFU staff to be there for you. In the rare case that we cannot resolve the issue together, we will find a new home for your student.