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Host Family Frequently Asked Questions

AYA is a non-profit organization. This means that we are a 501(c)(3) organization, recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.
The students receive a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. AYA issues a DS-2019 that secures a J-1 Exchange Student Visa.
After you agree to host, you will complete a Host Family Application, which includes a high school profile, a community profile and a criminal background check release form. Along with the application we ask that you provide two references. You will also have an in-home interview.

All host families are volunteers in the AYA program. In keeping with the diplomacy goals of people-to-people exchanges, the U.S. Department of State’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 62.25) prohibits the compensation of host families for J-1 exchange students. The goal of the program is to have a pure cultural exchange, for the student to become a member of the family and participate fully in family activities and celebrations. The true cultural exchange and immersion are some of the best benefits of hosting an AYA student versus a student who pays the host family for room and board.

  • Providing a student with a safe, supportive and loving home for the academic year or semester
  • Welcoming a student as a member of the family and encouraging students to participate in all aspects of family life
  • Providing a student with his/her own bed and a place to study, either in a room shared with a family member of the same sex and within four years of the student’s age or in his/her own room
  • Providing a student with 3 quality meals a day
  • Providing transportation to and from school (usually by school bus)
  • Encouraging the exchange of ideas and providing students with exposure to the cultural and social environment of the home and neighborhood
  • Providing the love and understanding a young person needs to enjoy a successful academic year in America
The students range in age from 15 to 18 years old. These students come from a wide range of countries – Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and many others.
Yes, you can choose your student from many different countries and profiles. You have the choice of hosting a boy or girl. You can choose your student based on different hobbies and interests.
Yes, students have medical and accidental insurance through AYA or their sponsoring agency. Students receive an insurance card and a brochure detailing the policy coverage when they arrive in the U.S.
Your student can either walk, be driven to school by a family member or a friend with a driver’s license, or take the bus.
Absolutely! The students are encouraged to join clubs and organizations to enhance their experience while living in America.
The students are not allowed to drive any vehicles while they are on the exchange program. They are, however, allowed to take a driver’s ed class as long as they do the driving portion with a licensed, certified and insured instructor. They must also obtain approval from the AYA office before enrolling.
Students arrive in August for the 10-month full academic year or for the 5-month fall semester program. Students arrive in January for the 5-month spring semester program.
Yes, the tax deduction for the host family is $50 a month for each full month that your student is with you. AYA will send out letters in January regarding this issue.
Students are expected to have their own spending money for personal expenses (school lunches, supplies, clothes, entertainment).
Students arrive in August for fall placements and in January for spring placements. Most students first attend an AYA-sponsored orientation and then fly from the orientation site to their host communities. Host families and Local Coordinators receive detailed flight information as soon as it is available.
The student’s program officially ends on the last day of school and they should make arrangements to return home immediately after school ends. If it is absolutely necessary, and only with explicit approval from your host family, they may stay a few days longer, but no more than one week, after school ends.
Yes, you are encouraged to call your Local Coordinator anytime with any questions or concerns you may have. The Local Coordinator is required by AYA to be in monthly contact with the host family and student. The Local Coordinator is also required to submit monthly reports on each student he/she is supervising. Many Local Coordinators set up student and host family events throughout the year in order to stay in touch.
The Local Coordinator will work with a host family and student to try to resolve miscommunications, unrealistic expectations or cultural misunderstandings. Most of the time, misunderstandings can be resolved with the help of an objective mediator. If the Local Coordinator determines that things cannot be resolved, he/she will place the student with another host family (within the same school district when possible).
If any problem should arise, the Local Coordinator will step in and work with the student and family to determine what action is necessary. The students have strict rules about behavior and academics. They have signed a contract promising to abide by the rules.
Call Academic Year in America at 1-800-322-HOST or email

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AYA Vision Statement

To encourage and inspire young people to become considerate and forward thinking citizens of the world, by creating dynamic educational opportunities to share beliefs, ideologies and values across cultures – and to provide these experiences with an unrivaled commitment to the safety of our students and service to our participants.