What is homestay?
Homestay is where a visiting guest (international student) stays in a properly managed hosted accommodation environment for a period of their study in a new country. A homestay allows an international student the opportunity to begin their stay in the USA, in a warm and welcoming American household, rather than in an impersonal apartment, dorm or hotel.
Why is AHN homestay my best choice for hosting?
AHN is the most recognized global homestay provider for international students. We are leaders in the industry as we provide a full-service approach to hosting. That means that we know exactly who is staying with you and what their background is. We provide support 24 hours a day in case there is a problem or emergency. We also handle billing and pay you directly, on time, via direct deposit. We give you training on cultural understanding and how to help guests and your family enjoy the hosting experience.
Who can host and what is required?
Traditional families, non-traditional families, single people, roommates and friends living together – any person or group who is willing to share daily life with an international guest can be a host. As an AHN homestay host you must:
- Make yourself and your home available to your guest. Our hosts must be able to provide a clean, comfortable and private bedroom for guests.
- Hosts must speak clear and correct English in the home.
- Help your guest settle into a comfortable and safe home and help them to learn. You will be willing to make them feel at home with conversation, support, inclusion in family activities and personal warmth. Ideally, you’ll have a sincere interest in other cultures and a desire to connect with new friends from around the world
- Provide healthy food for your guest if this is included in their service
- Show your guest around the community to assist the guest to become familiar with the local area and customs, while in a relaxed and friendly household setting.
- Help your guest to access or organise important services e.g. setting up a bank account and mobile, and assist your guest to seek medical or dental attention as necessary
- Pass and maintain criminal background checks
Do I receive payment to host?
All hosts receive direct deposit hosting stipends every 2 weeks. The amounts vary based on:
- What meals and amenities you provide
- Your location relative to the school
- The cost of housing in your area
- The age of the guest.
We provide payments in a 2-week cycle because it means you get paid more frequently and always for the exact number of days you host. For a more in depth overview of payments please contact your local AHN office and they will be more than happy to assist you.
For more information regarding payments, please see our refund policy.
Is the hosting stipend taxed?
Please read our tax questions page to find out more.
How do I apply and what is involved?
The initial online application is just a capture of basic personal and household information and it should take only about 5 minutes to submit it and get the process started. The full process is outlined below:
- Complete the online application (5 minutes)
- Receive your welcome email
- Complete your online profile / submit banking info for payment (you can wait until later in the process)
- Take the online training and self-assessment (under 1 hour)
- Submit and wait for background checks to come back
- Schedule your home interview with your Host Manager
- You are ready!
We do advise you to take your time crafting the profile to ensure we get the best guest matches possible, but there’s no urgency to get it done. You just need to finish it before we start matching you with guests.
What areas do you serve?
We are building operations and growing rapidly in the USA. Please contact us to see if we are currently placing students in your area or visit our location page. Alternatively, you may wish to help us set up a program in your region.
How long does it take to get a student placed in my home?
Once you complete the application, self-assessment, interview, and background checks we begin the process of matching you to the right guest. This can happen right away or could take months, depending on demand in your area and what guests match with your lifestyle and preferences.
How many guests can I host?
You can host up to 2 guests at a time and as many guests consecutively as you like. You are paid per guest per night.
Do I just buy the food or do I need to cook for my guest?
You can choose the level of homestay you provide from our list of packages. Breakfast and Lunch are self-serve, so you will only need to have food available for your guest but you do need to prepare it. We ask that dinner (if you’ve chosen to offer it) is served at least 5 days each week and includes interaction and conversation with your guest. AHN payments are reflective of each package offered; reimbursing our hosts for their costs and effort.
Meals may sound like a hassle at first but our hosts confirm what we know to be true – that mealtimes are the best and most rewarding times to connect and build friendships with your guests, especially if you are cooking for yourself or your family anyway. Including your guest in mealtimes will make a much richer experience for you and for your guest.
Be clear with your guest which food is theirs and which you would prefer they do not use. If you have chosen to host a guest who is on a no meals plan, you only need to make the kitchen available to your guest.
Do I need to provide transportation for my guest?
This is an option. In many cities we offer a higher stipend for a concierge offering where the host drives the guest to and from school. Otherwise students in our program use public transport at their own cost.
Who will I be hosting and where do they come from?
Most AHN guests are college-age students who are here to study in a degree program or an ESL or vocational course. We also place high school students, interns, older professionals, and study tours. These students come from all over the world – some active countries currently include China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, India and Brazil.
Do the students speak English?
English proficiency will vary but most will have some English skills when they arrive. Many students are trying to improve their English by choosing a homestay.
How long do students stay?
Generally, Homestays can be as short as a few weeks (e.g: study tour) or after an initial 4 week period, students may be extended for as long as you and the student are happy to stay together.
What if it doesn’t work out?
The American Homestay Network stay involved from the start of the placement until its conclusion. If things aren’t working out and we can’t resolve them with you we will arrange for the student to move to a different homestay.
Do I need to be near a major school, college or university?
Yes, our hosts need to be within a maximum 60 minutes by public transport (including walking time) of their chosen university, college, vocational-tech, ESL school, professional or high school. We are always looking for hosts appropriately located where there is current international student demand.
Can we host if we have a pet?
Of course, it just needs to be stated on your profile. Some guests will fall in love with your pets. Some will be afraid, allergic, or have a religious prohibition for being around pets. In those cases, we’ll ensure you aren’t matched with that guest.
Do I take my guest out to dinner, on excursions, and on family trips?
We ask that you include your guest as much as you like, but you are not obligated to include them in everything. The host stipend will help cover costs, but just talk with your guest ahead of time about any extra entertainment or travel expenses. Usually the student would pay for anything that is outside of the homestay hosting agreement.
Will guests have their own spending money?
Yes. Guests of all ages will have their own money. You are expected to pay for their food up to the point you’ve selected for your hosting level but you are not expected to pay the guest’s expenses beyond your host agreement.
What is the vacation policy?
You are welcome to invite your guest to join you on vacation if you wish. Alternatively, if the guest is over 18, and you are comfortable with it, they can remain in your home whilst you are away. You must let the guest know in advance and ensure they are getting all the services and meals you’ve agreed to provide whilst you are away. If your guest is under 18 they will require overnight supervision at all times.
Does the guest have insurance?
International students are encouraged (and for some it is a Visa condition) to have insurance and their insurance requirements usually come from the school. AHN does not mandate insurance for the student. If you have any concerns about your own insurance please check with your household insurer. Each party should check their current insurance policies and/or arrange sufficient insurance to protect themselves and any third party.
“We all love Chisato, she is like my own daughter as she is very nice helpful and not afraid to asked questions or help with her school work. I would love to have her back if she decides to come back but she told me she is going back to school in Japan. I would love another Japanese female student fort next one. Chisato told me that she enjoyed the holidays very much specially Christmas.”
“We had a fantastic time with our boys and loved each day with them! Summer stay was more fun as we could have more outdoor activities with them. But they enjoyed sledding and building a snowman on their 2 snow days. We would love to do this again.”