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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Foreign Exchange Student hosting

    Not true adoption, but....

    My wife and I are looking into hosting a foreign exchange student through AFS. We are considering a 17-year-old female from Thailand (weve received profiles of five and she seems the best fit). We have two daughters, aged 8 and 6.

    Has anyone hosted an exchange student before? What are some of the potential cons to be aware of?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    ♥ms.pacman♥ is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    the Island of Sodor


    i've never done it but i am totally interested in doing it at some point in the future (DH not so much, but he's so picky about things, that's whole 'nother thread).

    Growing up, when i was about 10 and my brother was 5, my family hosted a 17yo girl from Japan for 5 weeks. it was AWESOME and i think it really left a deep impression on me. I was always so interested in how things were back in Japan and i loved the stories she would read to us, and the Japanese games she taught us. I got really interested in Japan and 15 years later when i was in grad school took Japanese language classes and eventually lived there for one summer. I really think families hosting exchange student is beneficial for everyone in the family, not just the student.

    as for potential cons, i think some might be language issues (some students' English is much better than others; we always lucked out and got ones that were proficient enough to communicate basic stuff in English). Occasionally people get exchange students that get really homesick, and are a little depressed, don't want to do anything but that never happened to us (a few years after my family hosted another student from Taiwan, and that was a positive experience too).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    We will probably end up doing it someday. Dh came to this country as an exchange student in high school (senior year), and his host family kept him though the summer after graduation and enrolled him in additional English classes. Dh ended up staying in the US for college and medical school (and forever). He would go to his host family's house for the holidays, and he still keeps in touch with them. His brother also came over (another family that was best friends with his host family), and he's been here forever too. It is such a wonderful gift to give a teenager. Both dh and his brother called their host mom "mom" and developed lifelong bonds with them. (BIL's host family even loaned him 10,000+ for college.). If not for the incredible generosity of their host families, both boys would still be in eastern Europe.
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

  4. #4
    hillview's Avatar
    hillview is online now Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    New England


    well not to be debbie downer as I too believe it is a great idea. However in terms of cons, you are bringing in a teenager into your home and you don't yet have established teenage parenting skills (as least from what your post says) so there are issues you (and I) have not yet dealt with like
    enforcement of that curfew
    friends over
    keeping teenage hours

    When I was a teenager my parents had several foreign students come and 5/6 of them were great! one of them was a girl from France who either clearly had MAJOR different rules or was taking advantage of my parents. The above all came up with her and my parents were not prepared for this.

    Also and I know this sounds paranoid to some but I dated a guy whose family was a foster family and a foster son sexually abused him when he was a child. Obviously the foster son had come from a horrible place however the guy was subjected to things his parents didn't anticipate.

    Anyway -- just things to consider. Sorry to be a downer!
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

  5. #5
    AnnieW625's Avatar
    AnnieW625 is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    No, but I have made life long friends with the exchange students who came to my high school through AFS. Most if not all of the students came from middle to upper middle class backgrounds. None of them were huge partiers and they were really here just to learn. A friend of mine also went to Sweden for a summer as part of one of AFS's program. She made a life long friends with her host family as well. IIRC AFS provides training and such.

    I think having an exchange student with younger kids (your kids are a great age for this IMHO) would be a good thing as long as your family is up to doing things that would interest a teenager. Most if not all of the teens I knew all went to Disneyland during their trip with their families so that might be something financial to plan for as well. I don't know if trips to Disney World or other theme parks in the mid west are common too while the kids are there. That is something I would ask the AFS people as well.

    I think my list of cons would be similar to the ones that Ms. Pacman posted.

    I think for my first time and since I don't have a teenager I think I would go with a shorter summer program.
    WOHM to two wonderful little girls born in April
    DD E, 15
    DD L, 11
    baby 2, 4-2009 (our Tri-18 baby)

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