They say one of the best ways to learn any language is by immersion in the culture. Of course, unless you are planning to move to a specific country it can be difficult to fully immerse yourself. Fortunately, a popular alternative has been created; the host family. In fact, it has become such a popular option that there are now many different firms offering an international host family program.
What is the International Host Family Program?
In order for someone to have the opportunity for full immersion, they need to stay in the home of a native speaking family. In general, families make better hosts simply because there are more activities going on and more opportunities to practice speaking a language.
An international host family program is simply a system which connects people looking for somewhere to stay with those that can offer a suitable space.
Qualifications needed to be a Host Family
Fortunately, there are virtually none. You will need to be a native speaker of your country and have a spare bedroom which can be used by the student. In fact many of the international host family program firms will allow two students of the same sex in one room; providing there is enough space for two single beds.
Once you decide to join an international host family program you will need to select the language school that you wish to be associated with. There is no charge for joining the program; you simply need to be able to offer a welcoming atmosphere and be prepared to talk to them as much as possible. This will help their language skills improve dramatically.
In general your students will attend a local language course whilst they are staying with you. They will be reliant on you for good food and you should organize activities for when they are not at their school. It is common for students to enroll on class trips; you may find there is little demand on your time.
Advantages of Being Part of an International Host Family Program
There are several advantages to joining an international host family program. These include being paid for the service.
In fact, many of the operators now offer a much more flexible approach than the traditional schools. Instead of being assigned a student, it is now possible to create your own profile and allow potential students to contact you direct. You can then verify they are who they say they are and choose whether to accept them or not.
Alongside having control of the hosting process you will find that you can define the cost of staying with you and how long someone can stay in your home. An international host family program will provide the connection between you and the student, give you a means of contacting each other and collect the funds on your behalf; keeping you in control at all times.
In addition, being part of an international host family program will allow you to meet people from all over the world. You can learn about them and their culture and make new friends. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience; emotionally as well as financially.