Host Family FAQ's

Who can host?

Any family with a child from 12-18 years old is eligible to participate in the Live ‘n Learn Host Family Program. Families may have any religious or ethnic background, but must live in an English-speaking home. Families should have a desire to share their interests and the American way of life with an international student and an open mind to learning about their student’s customs and culture.

Why should we become a host family?

Hosting an exchange student is a great step toward preparing your children for the 21st century. There are few experiences that can spark an interest in new cultures like welcoming an international student into your home. It can be a life-changing experience that leads to new friendships and enriches your family and community.

Host families also play an important role in public diplomacy. The United States Department of State relies on American families like yours to serve as citizen ambassadors and help foster positive impressions of the United States. According to the U.S. State Department, expanding communications between United States citizens and people from other countries is a priority foreign policy goal.

What are the expectations of being a host family?

Host families are expected to treat their international student as a member of the family and not as a guest. They are expected to give their student a true American experience by sharing everyday experiences and events with them, such as birthday parties, holiday traditions, family meals, sporting events, movies and even household chores. They must provide the international student with a bed, which can be in a shared room with a sibling of the same gender and close in age. They will also need to provide three meals a day. Families are also expected to provide transportation activities up to a few times a week (car pools can be arranged!).

How do I complete the criminal background check?

You will complete the criminal background check via ClearStar’s secure online portal. It is required for anyone age 18 and older living in a host family’s home.

How long do we host? When do the students come?

Host families welcome a student into their home for 1-4 weeks in the month of July.

How do we get paired up with a student?

Live ‘n Learn matches families and students based on the age, gender and interests of the American host student and international student. We do our best to assure that your family and the student you host share common interests and lifestyles. We personally interview all families and students and also have both parties fill out a questionnaire in order to make the best matches possible. If your family is unhappy or has problems with the student, Live ‘n Learn will be there to intervene and help resolve the situation or transfer the student to a different house.

Will we get paid for hosting?

Host families are volunteers. According the United States Department of State, host families cannot receive financial gain from their participation in a student exchange program. This rule is designed to ensure that host families are participating in the program for the right reasons. Although there is no direct monetary compensation, Live ‘n Learn will pay for the American students to participate in all organized group activities, many of which have entrance fees. Additionally, families who host a student and then travel to Spain with a Live ‘n Learn program will receive a discount on their program abroad.

Is hosting expensive?

While there is no direct “fee” for hosting, an additional person in your home does, naturally, increase the cost of food, transportation, and activities you do as a whole family. However, international students come with their own spending money and are expected to pay for their own leisure activities. All students also come with approved health, accident and liability insurance valid in the United States, so families will not need to pay any medical expenses if an accident or injury were to occur.

Will the students speak English?

All international students have undergone an interview process and have done oral and written activities to verify that they possess a high enough level of English to participate in a homestay. At first, it may be difficult for students to get used to your accent or to feel confident and comfortable speaking, so just be patient, don’t speak too fast and avoid using difficult idioms.

What should we do with our student?

Students come to the U.S. to live with a host family and learn what daily life is like for American families. Live ‘n Learn expects families to include their student in their normal everyday activities. You are welcome to show them what’s special about your city or plan a few outings, but Live ‘n Learn does not expect families to make extravagant plans or spend a lot of money to entertain their student.

Are there organized group activities?

Yes. International students participate in classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-12 and American students will be invited to class one day a week to play games and have an opportunity to practice their Spanish. Additionally, host students and international students will participate in 2-4 activities/outings per week. These will be fun activities like rafting, sand volleyball, going to a Reds’ game, playing laser tag, etc. If your family has a trip planned or other prior obligations, please consult us. The international student may either be able to accompany your family or we can arrange alternate plans for them.

What kind of support will our family receive?

Before the program begins there will be a meeting with all host families to go over guidelines and answer any questions that you may have. During the program there will be Live ‘n Learn staff living in the community and they will be accessible by phone 24 hours/day. Students will always be accompanied during any group activity by Live ‘n Learn staff.

Are there rules for the international students?

International students are expected to obey all the Live ‘n Learn rules and policies that are applicable while on their program. Should a student break a rule such as driving, hitchhiking, or partaking in illegal drugs, they will have their program terminated. Hosted participants are expected to obey U.S. laws and customs and follow any household rules that your family might have. Within your home, you may set consequences for the student as if he/she were your own child. Please contact Live ‘n Learn if a student breaks a rule or there are any serious discipline issues and we’ll handle the problem as we see fit. You will be provided with information on Live ‘n Learn rules and policies, at or before your pre-arrival orientation for host families.

What if we have a problem with our student?

If problems arise between your family and the international student, Live ‘n Learn will be there to provide support and guidance. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day and there will be Live ‘n Learn staff accessible at a moment’s notice.

Please be patient at first with your student and give them a chance to get comfortable and open up to your family. Travelling across the world to a foreign country with a different language and culture can be frightening and some students may initially be shy and reserved. If it turns out that differences cannot be resolved, Live ‘n Learn will help the student transition to a new home. We are committed to ensuring that both students and host families have a positive exchange experience.

What’s the next step?

Fill out the Host Family Inquiry under the tab “Be a Host Family” or send an email to We will contact you with further details and send you the Host Family Application, in which you will list your family’s interests and one reference that we can contact, preferably someone who is easy to reach and has been to your house. Live ‘n Learn will call you to arrange a short at-home visit. Your application will be reviewed and your participation will be confirmed as soon as possible. While we do our best to work with your preferences, sometimes we need more host families for girls, or for students of a certain age. The sooner you submit your application, the better we are able to match your family with an international student.

Contact Live ‘n Learn with questions and to submit your application: | (513) 519-9786

Once you’ve completed the process you will receive detailed information about the student you will host, including a letter and a picture of them and their family. You will also be provided with their home address, email address and other ways to get in contact with them before the program begin.