How to choose host program
There are many companies out there hoping to catch your attention when chosing to host an Exchange Student. There are several things to consider when chosing the one to go through.
Do your research
Is there a local representitive in your area? This is usually only something to wonder about in small rural towns. Larger cities usually have several reps. But smaller areas sometimes are not as lucky and are dealing with someone a couple hours away. This may work for some, but I find it best to have someone local in case of urgent matters where you need them there right then.
Do your research, look up the name of the company in a general web search. Read all you can about them. You will often find other hosting sites, and blogs with information on that company. There you can read from actual people who have gone through them and what their experiences were. We have listen many of the exchange programs in the program guide.
No charge for being a host family
Do they charge you money to host a student? If so, back out! There are many companies out there hoping to catch your attention when chosing to host an Exchange Student! You should never be charged to host an Exchange Student. The Student't family pays all the costs to get them there and other costs.(We will discuss costs of hosting later in another section - read more about costs here)
Do they provide you with a detailed profile on the students who are wishing to be placed? Many will only have their name and a two sentence introduction to each student. You can then ask your local representive for additional information on students who catch your intrest. The information you are then sent should include a full profile. This includes their likes/dislikes, their family life in their home country, allergies, etc. They also often include not only a picture of the student but other pictures the student might have included as well as a letter from them and their parents.
The company is the one in charge of clearing the okay through the school and making sure they are set to go. You should not be asked to go to the school to ask for permission to host. Make sure you feel comfortable with your rep as well. Afterall you will be building a relationship with them over the next several months.
The real key to picking a company is to do your research and make sure that they are accreditable and that they will provide you and the students the best possible experience and support.
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