FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FOR HOST FAMILIES
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF HOST FAMILIES?
We ask that host families treat exchange students as if they were their own child. You are expected to provide breakfast, lunch(or snacks for school), and dinner. Host families are required to provide a dedicated bed for the student – they may share a room with another child in the home so long as it’s the same gender and the student has their own bed.
HOW LONG IS THE STUDENT HERE?
The students are generally here for 9 – 11 months.
HOW MANY HOST FAMILIES?
The student will generally have 2-3 host families; spending 3 – 4 months per family. A minimum of 2 families is required by new the RI Certification but length of time per family is totally flexible.
WHEN DO THE STUDENTS ARRIVE?
Students generally arrive the 2nd or 3rd week of August to give them about a week before school starts. Students MUST arrive before the Inbound Orientation the weekend after Labor Day.
WHEN DOES THE STUDENT GO HOME?
The J-1 visa is good for one full year. However Rotary requires exchange students to go home within 1-2 weeks once school is completed (usually mid to late June). However if the student participates in the month long US train tour then they are to return within one week tour has completed, which is usually mid-July.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD STUDENT CALL HOME?
No more than once or twice a month. The more the student calls home, the slower he or she will adapt and the longer the home sickness will last. Weekly e-mails or letters are fine.
WHAT IS THE HOST FAMILY RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR?
Only room and board, anything else is optional. Each student receives a stipend from their host club but should also have a budget provided by their family back home.
CAN A STUDENT GET A JOB WHILE THEY ARE HERE?
Their visa will not permit this. Students can however, perform babysitting, mowing the lawn, extra chores, etc. for pay.
CAN STUDENTS TRAVEL ON THEIR OWN?
No. Students must be accompanied by a host parent, Rotarian or other responsible adult. No road trips with just other teens. We’re responsible for students’ safety. Going with friends to a local event, beach, movies, shopping mall, etc. is totally fine as long as you as the host parent are ok with it.
SHOULD THE STUDENT ATTEND ROTARY MEETINGS?
This is really the key to a successful exchange. The student should attend Rotary meetings at least 1-2 times a month and be involved in the Club’s activities – The whole club hosts the student, not just the host family. The Rotary Counselor will help arrange transportation to/from meetings.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INBOUND vs. OUTBOUND STUDENT?
Inbound students come here to attend high school and learn about our language and culture. Outbound students are from our area who travel abroad to do the same in other countries.
IS THERE AN INBOUND STUDENT ORIENTATION?
Yes, the 2nd weekend of September after Labor Day (4pm Fri – 11am Sunday). This is mandatory for the student and is combined with a weekend of fun for their first get-together. The student’s YEO will help organize rides for Inbounds. Orientation is only for the Inbounds and RYE Committee including selected Rotex (former exchange students).
ARE THERE OTHER MANDATORY EVENTS BESIDES ORIENTATION?
The District Conference & RYLA are mandatory events for the students to attend. Many Rotarians attend so finding a ride for the student is easy. Other events (Big Bear International Weekend, Beach Weekend) are voluntary, but the student should make an effort to attend unless there is a significant conflict with a Host Club or school activity. The Inbounds really enjoy these get-togethers.
DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A TEENAGER AT HOME TO HOST?
No, 40% of host families don’t. Many students enjoy the attention of being ‘the only child.’ Having several host families allows the student to experience a variety of family dynamics. Empty Nesters and Grandparents also make great host families. Single parents/individuals may host a student of the same sex. Sharing a room with a same-sex sibling is ok.
DOES THE HOST FAMILY HAVE TO BE IN ROTARY?
No, so long as they are suitable and willing and are interviewed by the Club’s Youth Exchange Chair then they will be great. Adults in the household must be willing to undergo a background check.
DOES THE STUDENT’S ROTARY COUNSELOR HAVE TO BE IN ROTARY?
Yes – this is the person who usually arranges the student to the meetings & is the liaison between the student and the club. Rotarian’s spouse may like to help as Co-Counselor especially if the student the opposite sex as Counselor. Counselors and YEO also need to have a background check.