Host Family FAQs
Q. Who can host?
A. Madison Christian Homestay Families provide our international students a wide range of activities, travel, food and lifestyles. Our Homestay Families should be flexible and open-minded with the head of the household being age 26 or older. Our families come from a variety of countries. The best hosts are those who enjoy meeting new people and who can spend time with their student on a daily basis.
Q. Will a background check be required?
A. Yes. By law, it is required that we perform an FBI background check of each person over the age of 18 who resides in your home.
Q. Will I have to provide a state issued ID and proof of auto insurance?
A. Yes. By law, it is required that all licensed drivers in a household provide this documentation. Additionally, proof of insurance must be provided for all vehicles.
Q. How long does a student stay?
A. The quick answer is 10-months. All students coming to Madison Christian will attend MCS for a full academic year which is normally August thru June. Some students may choose to return home during their Christmas or Spring Break. All students are required to return home within a two-week period after Summer Break begins. The host family has the opportunity to keep a student multiple years if both parties agree the placement is a good fit.
Q. What kind of visa do the students receive?
A. All Madison Christian international students will receive an F-1 student visa. Madison Christian will issue an I-20 Form (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status-For Academic and Language Students). This is a standard U.S. government form that states the school they will be attending and how long their stay will be.
Q. What are my primary responsibilities as a host family?
- Encouraging a relationship with Jesus Christ through attending church services and youth activities
- Providing your host student with a safe, supportive, and loving home for the academic year.
- Welcoming your host student as a member of the family and encouraging students to participate in all aspects of family life.
- Providing your host student with his/her own bedroom, a desk, dresser, closet, desk, chair and adequate lighting and a quiet place to study.
- Providing your host student with all meals.
- Providing transportation to and from school and all school related activities.
- Providing a wireless internet connection for research and other homework-related projects.
- English must be the primary language spoken in the home.
- 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.
Q. Will my student be required to obtain insurance?
A. No, students will receive full coverage from ISM through Madison Christian School once they arrive in the United States.
Q. Will my student come with his/her own spending money?
A. Yes, students are expected to have their own spending money for personal expenses (toiletries, extracurricular school activities, clothing, entertainment, and souvenirs).
Q. Can I specify a preferred gender?
A. Absolutely, your home is your personal space and comfort zone. We want both you and our student to be comfortable with their living environment. Hosts who are comfortable accommodating both male and female students may enjoy much better occupancy. You can also specify this on the application so our Homestay Coordinator will take it into consideration when searching for placement of students.
Q. How many students am I allowed to host at the same time?
A. We do not recommend more than two students of the same gender in a home, and both students must have their own private bedroom, access to a bathroom, and a quiet place to study. Additionally, two students who speak the same native language are not able to board together.
Q. Do I get paid to be a host family?
A. Yes, you do. A monthly stipend for expenses incurred is paid to each family for 10 months; August thru May. We will let you know the amount allotted for reimbursement. You must be responsible for providing 2 meals daily (breakfast & dinner), seven days a week. Students will be responsible to purchase their own lunches. Additionally, the fee will include transportation upon their arrival and departure to and from the airport as well as when if they leave at Christmas or Spring Break. Additionally, transportation to and from school daily and to all school-related activities, plus the normal shopping needs just like any member of your family, are included in this monthly reimbursement.
Q. How do I get paid?
A. You will receive your monthly reimbursement check on or before the first day of each month in either a direct deposit or a paper check. The first and last month the student is in your home your reimbursement will be pro-rated.
Q. Will I need to pay taxes?
A. Yes. This monthly stipend is a reimbursement for expenses incurred (i.e. food, gas, etc.). You will be receiving a 1099 income statement for services rendered. All tax related questions should be answered by a professional tax consultant.
Q. Will a person come and visit my home?
A. Yes. A Madison Christian International team member will do the first visit during the initial interview and will make then make a second visit to your home once the student has become acclimated to their environment (approximately 30-60 days after the students arrival). This ensures that the home environment remains the same as described in the host family interview before your student arrived. These visits are mandated and are intended to serve as a secondary layer of support for both the student and your family. Both visits will be at a time that is convenient for all people involved.
Q. How will my student get to and from school?
A. You are responsible for providing transportation to and from Madison Christian School. Your student may take the school bus (if they live within a district providing busing) or be driven to school.
Q. When can I expect my student to arrive?
A. Students arrive the first week August for Fall placements. Host families and Homestay Coordinators will receive detailed flight information as soon as it is available, usually in the month of July.
Q. When does my student return home?
A. Students may have open-ended return tickets. They book their own flights home with guidance from their parents, host families, and/or the Homestay Director. The program ends on the last day of school, and with permission from their host family, students may stay up to two weeks past the last day of school. Madison Christian encourages host families and students to discuss return flights well in advance of the end of school to ensure that the biological parents and host family feel comfortable with the selected departure date.
Q. What do I do when the student arrives?
A. To a student, first impressions are very important; therefore, we highly recommend that you take the time out of your busy schedule to show your new student around your neighborhood. Some students would also like to open bank accounts at a bank branch nearby or get to know how to do their basic shopping. As host, you also need to show your student around your home and let them know how to use your kitchen equipment, laundry equipment, give them tips on how to stay safe, etc.. Students normally get very busy later when they start school, so the first week is a great time to bond and to get to know each other. Because the student will be very tired upon arrival (some traveling over 24 hours and having a massive time difference) we recommend letting them rest for at least 1 day before introducing them to family, friends and a new culture.
Q. Will I be in contact with the Director of International throughout the year?
A. Yes, your Director of International is required by Madison Christian School to visit with your student(s) in person the first month and continue to contact the student on a monthly basis, visiting him/her every other month in person at a minimum. Your Director of International will help support you with any questions or adjustment issues that you may have throughout the year. Madison Christian encourages you to reach out to your Director of International if you have any issues, big or small.
Q. What happens if the placement doesn’t work out?
A. The Madison Christian International team will work with you and your student to resolve any adjustment issues that your family or student may be experiencing. Our experience shows that most “problems” are a result of miscommunications, unrealistic expectations, or cultural misunderstandings. The majority of the time, misunderstandings can be resolved through mediation and open communication.The Madison Christian International team will conduct mediation and counseling with your family and your student as soon as an issue arises. If, after mediation and counseling, it is determined that the issues cannot be resolved, the Madison Christian International team will place the student with another MCS host family. A student may not change families without approval from the Director of International, as any new host family must be fully screened and vetted in compliance with Madison Christian School's international program regulations.
Q. What happens if my student has behavioral or academic problems during his/her stay in my house?
A. Students are required to sign an agreement to abide by all Madison Christian School International Program rules before they arrive. If any problems arise, the Director of International will step in and work with the student and family to determine what action is necessary. If a student is not following rules or struggling academically, your Director of International will address the issue with the student and may schedule a mediation/communication session to discuss the behavior and identify concrete ways to remedy the issue. When appropriate, the Director of International will meet with the Upper School Principal and/or the CORE team to issue further disciplinary action, including a warning, probation, or more serious consequences. Students are well informed of Madison Christian's disciplinary procedures and are expected to abide by the program rules at all times.
Please feel free to connect with us if you have any additional questions at [email protected]