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FAQs

How do we become a host family?

If you’d like to become a host family, your first step is to contact the ASSIST representative at your school! If asked to apply by the ASSIST rep, you’ll find an overview of the application process here. You’ll fill out an application form, authorize a criminal background check for each household member aged 18 or over, then talk to your ASSIST representative for an in-person interview.

Where will our student come from, and how is he/she selected?

ASSIST students are vetted very carefully based on personal recommendations, references from their teachers, and an in-person interview conducted by ASSIST staff. All scholars have impressive academic credentials, strong English skills, and engaging personalities that make them a great fit for their U.S. schools and families.

How long will we host the student?

Host families invite students into their home for up to ten months, but many choose to host for a shorter period. You can choose to host for half a year, for a single semester, or just during school holidays/breaks. We place each student with families on a case-by-case basis.

The hosting period for all students, whether they are day or boarding, has the possibility of beginning prior to the opening of your individual school date. This should be discussed with your school's ASSIST Representative.

What is the financial commitment for a host family?

Though ASSIST scholars finance any out-of-pocket expenses on their own, host families do incur the extra expenses related to having a teenager join their family. Those expenses typically include meals, fuel costs, and other incidentals, depending on your family’s lifestyle. ASSIST families are considered unpaid volunteers, but many are eligible for a $50 per month tax deduction for the time they host.

What happens if our student gets sick or is injured?

All scholars are covered by health insurance during their exchange year, which is required to cover doctor visits, x-rays, hospitalization, and emergencies. ASSIST provides each host family with information about their student’s health insurance coverage before hosting. 

What kind of support will our family receive while we’re hosting?

Before their student arrives, each host family will receive a welcome packet from ASSIST, including a wealth of information and support materials, as well as  contact information for our 24-hour support staff. Your school’s ASSIST representative will be available to both you and your student, and they’ll check in on you monthly to offer support and make sure things are going smoothly.

What kind of preparation and support do the Scholars have prior to arrival and throughout the year?

ASSIST Scholars are provided with numerous materials to help prepare them for their exchange year, and they also attend a pre-departure orientation in their respective countries. Upon arrival, each student will also participate in the ASSIST Orientation program held at Pomfret School in Pomfret, CT. It is a four-day program designed to allow students to begin their assimilation into American culture, to draw strength from experienced staff members, and to prepare for the year ahead.

The ASSIST Representative at school, as well as administrators and other faculty, will act as resources throughout the hosting period, but you will also be able to call upon ASSIST if you encounter difficulties for which you are unprepared.