ThaakatFoundation
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FAQ

What is the benefit to host an exchange student?

When you volunteer to host an international exchange student, you experience a different culture without stepping out of the country. By opening your home, you open a new world and make a dream come true for a foreign a student’s eyes to the real America: real people, real experiences, and real life. At the same time, your generosity creates a positive view of the United States that crosses the border and lasts a lifetime.

What are exactly the responsibilities of a Host Family?

You are expected to provide the exchange student with:
1.  A bed
2.  Three meals a day
3.  A comfortable and nurturing home environment

Do I get paid/compensated for hosting an exchange student?

Unfortunately, no. The Department of State regulations stipulate that no one (e.g., schools, natural parents, or sponsors) may either directly or indirectly pay Host Families by cash or other incentives.

I would love to host an exchange student, but I am on a food subsidy program. Can I host?

Unfortunately no, the Department of State requires that host families must have sufficient financial resources to host an exchange student and they should not be receiving “needs-based government subsidies on food or housing”.

What is an exchange student like?

Our exchange students:

Are 15-18 years old;

Can speak decent English;

Academically proficient;

Have health and accident insurance;

Have their own pocket money.

How should I work with Forte to host an exchange student?

If you are interested in hosting an exchange student of ours, here are the procedures: Contact our Local Representative in your area if you know one; or call our office at 888-866-6869.

Submit a host family application;

Submit two references;

Our Local Representative will conduct an orientation for your family on the requirements and obligations to host an exchange student;

Forte will conduct a Criminal Background Check for all your family members 18 years of age or older, as required by the Department of State;

Our Local Representative will conduct an in-person interview in your house and take pictures of your house as required;

 

Can I pick out my student?

Yes, you can pick a student who has similar interests, hobbies, etc as your family members, as long as the student is NOT your relative.

I have a big house and sufficient financial resources. Can I host two exchange students?

Yes, you can. But they must be from different cultures and we must obtain a written agreement from your family and both student's families.

What if a student gets sick or has an accident?

Our students are covered by our health and accident insurance. You will receive an insurance card when the placement is finalized. If your exchange student needs to see a doctor or has an emergency, just show the insurance card and, if necessary, call the insurance company at the number provided on the card.

If you have questions about insurance, you can always call our office at 703.237.1688.

Can I have my exchange student work/babysit for me?

Host Families are not allowed to use an exchange student as a baby-sitter or child laborer. However, the exchange student is expected to do some house chores, such as dish-washing, picking up after him/herself, cleaning his/her own room, doing his/her own laundry, etc.

I understand that I will provide three meals to the exchange student. But if I take him/ her to a restaurant, can I ask him/her to pay her share?

Yes, he/she is expected to pay for the meal.

What should I do if I find out the exchange student is not what I expected?

It is not unusual for Host Families to find that the exchange student is not what they expected. In many cases, it is just because the student is unaware of the cultural differences or Host Family’s expectations. For example, students from some countries have different table manners or hygienic practices; they are just never educated about the American ways. Some students are just too shy to ask. The best suggestion is to treat the student as your own child, and to communicate with them. Sit down and talk with your student. Tell him/her what you think. Be frank about your expectations.

In other cases, it may not be a good match of characters, interests, hobbies, etc. If so, we may have to move the student to another family.

At any time, you should feel free to contact your Local Representative or our office to discuss student issues.

Should each of my family members undergo a Criminal Background Check?

According to the Department of State regulations, every family member who is 18 years of age or older when the program starts, should undergo a Criminal Background Check. This includes adult children who live outside the home, but who may come to visit on weekends or holidays. If a family member turns 18 sometime during the program, then that member should undergo a background check upon their 18th birthday.

 

I understand I have to submit two references. Can my mother-in-law or the Forte Local Representative be a reference?

Unfortunately, relatives or Forte field representatives cannot serve as host family references.

For some reason, I have to take my exchange student to a neighbor for a few days. Is that all right?

That may be fine. However, before the student moves in, your neighbor has to undergo the same host family screening process as you have.

My family plans to travel while our student is with us. Can I take him/her?

Yes, that’s fine. However, we require the student to fill out a Travel Release Form.