AYA host families are volunteers. They are not paid for hosting AYA foreign exchange students.
AYA carefully selects host families based on their desire to host a visiting student and ability to provide a safe, comfortable home and positive cultural experience for you in the United States. People of all ages and from all walks of life volunteer to serve as host families. Grandparents, families with younger children, single-parent families and traditional two-parent families have all hosted successfully.
Host families are located all across the U.S., primarily in smaller towns and rural areas. You may live in a home in a suburban community or a farmhouse out in the country. There is no "typical" host family. You could be within walking distance of your high school or you may need to take a bus to school daily. Students may not request where in the U.S. they would like to be placed and may not change host families because they do not like the area in which they are living. As you will learn, America's communities are as diverse as its people.
Your host family will expect you to join in family activities. They will expect you to share the privileges and responsibilities of being a family member – as if you were a natural son or daughter. This includes doing your share of chores around the house.
Your host family will want to learn about your country and will want to help you understand life in America. They will be eager to answer your questions and explain things to you when you don't understand. Above all, they want to open their hearts and share their homes with you, their new "son" or "daughter."
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