Each Year, VIA brings students from different countries into the U.S. on VIA programs to study in high schools & universities while living with host families. Your choosing to become a host parent means you are willing to accept an international student into your home and provide a loving, family environment. By hosting an exchange student, you will be opening yourself and loved ones to a new world, culture and an unforgettable experience!
If you are interested in becoming a host family/parent. VIA invites you to complete our contact form. Once we receive your contact information, you will be emailed a preliminary application. You will be asked questions about yourself and members of your family, where you live and the schools within your community as well as your lifestyle. After the receipt of the preliminary application someone from the VIA office will contact you to discuss which program through VIA you’re interested in hosting for. Once a complete application is received in our office, each host family is required to complete a background check (Please note that all household members aged 18 and older are required to complete a criminal background check). Once everything is complete, the host family will be contacted by the local community counselor who will assist with the entire process which includes home visit, where the counselor can answer the host family’s questions. Your community counselor will also assist you with the arrival, departure and support of your student, and assist you and your family throughout the entire exchange experience.
What are the steps to becoming a host family?
Host families must complete an application form which will provide detailed summary and profile of the family. A local community counselor will then schedule an in-home interview with all family members present. Personal references must be provided from members of the community or school attesting to their good-character and suitability for hosting an exchange student.
How are host families selected?
All host families are personally interviewed in their home and screened. And will be selected by VIA’S policies and procedures. We consider a host families housing conditions and financial ability to host, however host families are not expected to be "wealthy". We are more concerned that host families have the open mind and heart as well as the willingness to accept a student as a member of their family and can provide a nurturing and loving family home.
Can a single person host an exchange student?
A single person is welcome to apply to VIA as a host family. On occasion, some students will prefer living with a single person and enjoy the extra attention afforded them with a single person without the duties and responsibilities of caring for other family members. Prior permission from the student's natural parents will be required for these types of placements and applicants must be at least 25 years old and financially capable of providing room and board for another person.
Can young children benefit from hosting?
Many of our exchange students request being placed in homes with small children. As long as the student is not asked to share a room with any child under 12 years of age, these types of placements work well when the student has some privacy and a quiet place to study. Children of all ages will gain broader perspective on the world. Young children usually love having a big brother or sister from another country!
How will a host family be prepared for this exchange experience?
Once your family is approved as a host family, a family handbook will be sent. This host family handbook will be valuable information on the hosting experience. In addition to the host family handbook the family will attend a Host Family Orientation, conducted by your community counselor, prior to your new son/daughter's arrival. The orientation is where last minute questions can be asked, meet other hosting families, and learn how to support your new family member through the normal adjustment such as culture shock and speaking a new language. There will be a second orientation after the arrival of your student. Find a friend in your local community counselor, he/she will prove to be your most important resource.
What will happen if we have problems with our student?
Hosting is an experience that involves human beings that have different goals and expectations of the hosting experience. It would be unrealistic to expect the experience to be "problem free." Host families have local support from their community counselor, who are prepared to assist in resolving any difficult situation that may arise. Misunderstandings can be worked out through communication with a neutral third party. In the event of a more serious problem or serious personality conflict, the Venture International Academy office may become involved. If a problem is deemed too great to overcome, students may be removed from the host family and/or returned home to their country.