How It Works

WHEN WILL THE STUDENTS BE HERE? The different groups arrive between mid-June and early July and leave about 3-4 weeks after their arrival. Check the specific groups’ pages to see when they arrive and depart.                                                                

Whenever possible, we encourage families to meet the student at Dulles airport (or other airport of arrival), especially if you live within a 120 mile radius.

WHY ARE THEY COMING?  They want to improve their English, make friends, and experience our American lifestyle.

WE’VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE.  WHAT’S EXPECTED?  Simply welcome the student as a member of your family and include him/her in your daily routine and activities.  Plan a few opportunities to show the student local areas of interest. (Often they can tag along with another family and their exchange student too).

Although the students are advised not to expect a sight-seeing trip, they would love to see some local areas of interest, as you would if you would travel abroad.

DOES THE STUDENT NEED A SEPARATE BEDROOM?  No, only a separate bed.  A good mattress on the floor is fine too.

OUR HOUSE IS TOO SMALL/ MESSY:   After years of hosting we’ve found that most students could care less what the house looks like … our strength as Americans seems to be our kindness, hospitality, ”laid backness”, and welcoming attitude.  If we are genuinely glad they’re with us, they’re comfortable!  As far as small, we’ve placed a student in a 1000 sq ft home of 8 children where the only bedroom floor space was taken up by a mattress for the student.  Every year the students rate that cozy, loving home (with seemingly no privacy) with the highest marks!

WHAT IF WE HAVE VACATION PLANS?  Take the student along!  Just make sure you leave a travel itinerary with contact numbers for your local representative so that you can be reached in case of an emergency.  OR, if absolutely necessary, we’ll find another place for your student while you’re gone. we know what it’s like to only have room enough in the car for your family….

WHAT IS OUR FINANCIAL OBLIGATION?  To provide room and meals for the duration of the program.  The student brings approximately $300 – $400 per month for spending money to cover incidentals, gifts, personal items, and entry fees; and usually a re-loadable credit card. Some students are able to bring more spending money than others.

HOW ARE FAMILIES AND STUDENTS SELECTED?  We ask for references to assure the natural parents that their child will be living in a happy and stable environment, and we also visit each host family candidate in their home to meet them personally, interview them, and give them an orientation to hosting an international student.  Students are recommended by their language teachers and complete application materials to determine their eligibility, motivation, and adaptability for this type of program.  Academic program (school-year) students also go through a personal interview, screening and orientation process.  We seek to work with host families to find a student that fits well with the host family, in activity level, interests, geographical location, age, etc.  Many international students even pick that they’re willing to stay in a family with only younger children if there aren’t teens in the home.

WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE TEENAGERS?  We ask you to arrange, and provide opportunities for the student to meet and spend time with American teens during the stay. Also, if there’s room, hosting 2 students from different countries gives them some teen companionship while still exposing them to American life (but there still needs to be American teen interaction). If this isn’t possible, perhaps you will consider hosting an adult group leader for the summer programs.

WHAT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM?  Call us!  We will be ready to help, along with the group leaders (for summer programs).  If a problem is not resolved, we can gently move the student to a new host family.  You are not stuck!!

WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL PROBLEMS?  You will receive a medical release signed by the natural parents and an AVI International insurance form.  In case of medical needs, treat the student as if he/she were your own child and follow the same procedure you would for your own child.  The students are expected to file any insurance claims directly with the insurance companies.  If there are any problems with insurance claims, Terra Lingua VA will make sure that the bills are paid.

WHAT IF EVERYONE IN OUR FAMILY WORKS?  First of all, there needs to be someone available almost every day. If both parents are working and there’s an adult or caregiver able to be with them most of the time during the day, it’s okay.  Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t work.  You may have friends, neighbors, or relatives that would be glad to help out part of the time by including the student in some of their own activities and outings.  Again, we usually have enough families in the area hosting to “share the load” if you have very young children.

WHAT IF WE DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE?  No problem!  Most of the students have studied English for three to ten years, are already coming with a great command of English, and have an eagerness to improve their English language skills.  The group chaperones are also available for any translation help needed, at any time!