Welcome to American Discovery Where We Have Been Bringing Families and Cultures Together for More Than 20 Years!

 

Hosting

Host families are the most important component of our homestay programs. Their warmth and generosity are what makes the homestay experience so meaningful and memorable to the foreign students. Becoming a host family is easy. All it requires is a desire to share your home and 2-3 weeks of your life with a foreign student. The commitment you make to host a foreign student can bring your family joy for years to come. "Hosting students has certainly been among the most important experience we have had as a family," says one of our host families who continues to host each year. And when all is said, who knows, you may even end up traveling to visit your foreign student in their country! If you are interested in hosting, send us an e-mail at info@americandiscovery.net or give us a call at 541-302-3393.

Our Students Are...

  • Eager for an adventure
  • Anxious to speak English
  • Fully insured
  • Excited to meet host families
  • Ready to experience America


Interested or know someone who might be?
Call 541-302-3393 or e-mail info@americandiscovery.net.

Basic Guidelines & Expectations for Hosting

The students that come visit us from France and Spain are here to participate in a homestay program. They want to practice English and to experience the "real life" of an American family. They are eager to meet you and hopefully

create a lasting friendship. To help you be better prepared and know what to expect as a host family, below we have gathered the very common and valid questions that we have been presented with over the years. However, please feel free to contact us directly with any other questions you may have.

How old are the students?

The students are high-school aged and the age range is 14 - 18 years old. Most of the students are 15 or 16 years old however. Each group has an adult group leader.

What if we don't have an extra bedroom?

Students are fine with sharing your child’s bedroom as long as they are the same gender and have their own bed to sleep in. They will also need a place to unpack their clothes and travel belongings. Sharing a room can actually make the bond of friendship even stronger!

What can I do before my student arrives?

You can start an exchange of email or letter with your student as soon as you receive his/her information. This will help establish a relationship before your student arrives in person. If you can’t read the email or home address, please let us know. We will contact the family and get back to you as soon as we can.

What should I expect the first day?

Try to plan for a quiet first day of arrival. Your student will need time to rest after the long flight and to adjust to communicating in English. You may find your student is very quiet. This is normal for the first day or two until they become used to hearing English spoken on a regular basis. Speak slowly and look directly at your student for a day or two. This really helps with the language adjustment. After a few days, they will be talking right along with the rest of the family. Although it is not common, in the event your student is still not speaking much after a few days, please contact your Area Coordinator or the Foreign Group Leader for assistance.

How do I help my student feel comfortable and at home?

Consider your student to be like a new son or daughter so there is no need to change your way of life or habits. Include them in all daily activities. You will find that your student may offer to help cook or clean up after a meal. Including your student in daily routines helps everyone adjust more quickly. They are guests, but they also want to be treated like any other family member.

Also make your expectations clear with your student regarding household chores, rules, family habits and how to address you and your family. Discussing expectations up front leaves little room for guessing later on. In most cases, your student will not be unaccustomed to the “American Way of Life": So be sure to give everyone involved some time to make the cultural adjustments including new foods, time changes and language.

How should I handle keeping track of my student during the stay?

First, it is very important just as with your own children, to always know where your student is and with whom. It is important to know at what time he/she leaves and will be returning home. Be sure your student has your home, work and cell phone numbers with them at all times. Be sure to discuss your student how to communicate and plan changes in advance. This is very important because a lost student is a scary issue for everyone!

Since our family attends church, shouldn't our student join?

Allow your student to make a choice regarding attending church services with you and your family. In fact, many European families do not attend church on a regular basis. Be sure to invite your student to attend church services with your family but please do not take offense if they chose to stay at home.

How do we handle international phonecalls?

In most cases, students will have a phone card or cell phone to call home. If not, we highly recommend having the student purchase an international phone card. They are available at Costco, the post office and other retail stores. We have found that Costco has the best deal on international phone calling cards.

What if my student needs to exchange their money into U.S. dollars?

If your student needs to exchange money, please contact your Area Coordinator. Not all banks are able to exchange currency and those that do may charge a fee of up to 10% of the total amount.

What is the policy about driving, alcohol, drugs, etc.?

While in the United States, students are not allowed to drive any type of motorized vehicle including ATVs. They are not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, use illicit drugs or firearms (please do not take them to the shooting range). It is a myth that European students are allowed to drink alcohol at an early age! However, it is not a myth that students may smoke at an earlier age. As a result, in the event your student does smoke, it is important to be clear — yet friendly — about your expectations regarding smoking during their stay. Please know that students are expected to adhere to the same rules as your own children. We want this experience to be as positive as possible for both you and your student so if you have any questions regarding these issues, consult your Area Coordinator right away.

What if my student needs medical treatment?

If your student needs medical treatment, please do not hesitate to take them to the nearest urgent care unit. Remember to take their signed medical release with you (it is on their original profile/application). Contact your area coordinator as soon as possible regarding medical treatment.

Who do I contact in case of emergency?

First contact your Area Coordinator and your student's Foreign Chaperone. If you cannot reach either of them, please call our office in Eugene, Oregon at 541-302-3393. You can also contact Director Bruno Francia at 541-520-5222.

How to handle special cases

In the many years we been working with families and students, we have had very few "special cases." We call them "special cases" just because the situations were few and each one has had a unique set of circumstances. However, as a result we still have protocols we follow in the event a family is experiencing a unique set of difficulties with a student and only in extreme situations, are students dismissed from the program. Please do not threaten your student with expulsion. However, if you are having concerns regarding your student, please call your Area Coordinator right away. Most issues can be resolved quickly with a phone call so please do not wait until things are really uncomfortable.

Can host families come on trips and activities?

Host family members are welcome and encouraged to join any trip or activity in that are a port of their student's program. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a parent or adult 18 or over. Any fmaily member who joins these activities designd for high-school age students, must be mature enough to handle scheduled “free time”. The Area Coordinator cannot be responsible for supervising young children. Since the student's entry fees and expenses have been paid for in advance, there is no need to pay for them again. Any family members who join the trips or activities will be responsible for their own entry fees, expenses and lunches. We do always try to leverage group rates where possible for our activies, so be sure to check with your Area Coordinator about the exact costs for your family members to join. Also, please check the notes on the program itinerary to see what the lunch arrangements are for the day trips. If noted, please provide a sack lunch for your student that day. Again, we welcome family member to join trips or activities. However, seating is limited on the bus/van, so it is important to check in advance with your area Program Coordinator for seating availability. In some cases, we have had such an overwhelming response, many of our families have chosen to carpool to the destination!

Invaluable Experience

Hosting a student from another country can be the most valuable experience for your own family, and we want to do everything we can to make that experience as rich as possible. That's why if there is ever any question regarding your student no matter how big or small, do not hesitate to call your local Area Coordinator or even our Main office. We are here to assist you!

And when it's time, saying goodbye can be hard. In fact the girl at right in "One More Time" ran back to her host family's car for just one more moment with them. It's connections like these that make the experience so great.

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