Is opening your home to an international student the answer to financial stress? This is a question that many of us ask when our monthly budget is squeezed to the limit. The option to rent out a room to a paying student is a valid, and convenient one, as a student will pay approximately $900 per month to live in your home. There are a few things to consider before you make the final commitment:
It is always best to register with the school district in your area when deciding to be a host family. Sticking with the district ensures that your student has the support services in place if challenges arise. Host families are usually needed approaching September and January. If there is a waitlist through the district, then you may be interested in contacting a private company. There are countless advertisements for organizations that connect families with an international student. Be sure to look into them closely; research them online and pay attention to posted reviews. You may have a successful experience with a private company, but the support in place may be lacking when compared with the district’s program.
It is always an adjustment to have a guest staying in your home. On the whole, international students do keep to themselves and value their own privacy. It is not always a perfect fit when you welcome a student into your home; there are expectations on both sides that need to be considered. For example, you may be eager to involve your student in all of your family activities and events, and your student may only wish to stay in their room and connect with friends online. The important aspect is that your student feels welcome to join in to family activities, but also, that they have the option of privacy as well.
To be considered as a host family, you will be required to have a spare room and bathroom available for your student. The room must be private, but the bathroom can be shared with other family members. In the student’s room they will need a bed, a desk with chair, a closet/dresser, and internet access. Your student will need access to the laundry facilities and to the kitchen. Having a student requires you to provide breakfast, dinner, and a packed lunch for school days. Your student may wish to buy specific groceries and cook in the style they are accustomed to. In this case, you are not required to pay for any extra items that your student needs. As well, your student will need transportation to and from school. This could be walking a short distance, driving them, or taking a school bus. If your student needs to use transit to get to school, you are required to pay for these costs.
These are just a few things to consider before committing to a year, or longer, with an international student. Of course, welcoming an international student into your home can be a rich and fulfilling experience for your whole family.