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International Student Homestay Program: Five things you need to know

Homestay Program

International Student Homestay Program

Elgin Community College offers international students attending the college the opportunity to live with a local host family through the International Student Homestay Program. The program offers a unique opportunity for full-time international students on an F-1 visa to reside in an American home as a member of the family while providing local residents with the opportunity to host an international student and learn about a new culture.

Here are five things to know about the International Student Homestay Program:

  1. Host families represent a variety of family structures. There is no “typical” host family! Our host families represent the diversity of American culture, and we encourage families of all backgrounds to host. Hosts include a variety of families including those with children, empty-nesters, single individuals, same-sex couples, and multi-generational.

  2. Living with a host family helps students experience life in another country and culture. Living with a host family allows an international student to improve his or her English through daily interactions and experience American culture by participating in day-to-day activities. Hosting an international student is a unique opportunity to share the American culture and contribute significantly to global understanding. Students in homestay report greater satisfaction with their college experience at ECC and easier transition into the local community.

  3. Life-long friendships are forged! This experience provides hosts with the chance to bond with an international student in a way never expected! Hosts create a life-long relationship with their new “son” or “daughter.” Hosts and students often remain in contact long after the student returns home. One of our hosts has traveled around the world to visit his former students.

  4. Almost half of the current host families have children in the home. Nearly 50 percent of current host families have children in the home. Hosting an international student is a rewarding experience for the whole family, and children get the opportunity to experience a foreign culture in their home.
  5. Host families receive a monthly stipend. Hosts are provided a stipend to cover the expense of hosting a student. The rate varies based on the length of the homestay and whether or not transportation is provided.

By Lauren Nehlsen, director, international education and programs

To learn more about the homestay program or to apply as a host family, visit  


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