Living with my Host Family
Frequently Asked Questions
- How are host families chosen?
Each homestay is different. Some host families include a husband, a wife, and children; some are single professionals; and some are retired couples. Each host brings their own unique approach to welcoming students into their home lives.
All host families are chosen for their warm hospitality, gracious homes, and close proximity to the universities and programs we serve. Each host family must submit an extensive application with criminal record checks and personal references, and be interviewed in their home before they can be accepted as hosts.
- May I choose my own host family?
No. We take care to know each host very well, so we are best suited to make placement decisions. Based on the information you provide on your Application, you will be placed with the best possible host to suit your individual desires and needs.
- What will the food be like?
Homestay students eat their host’s normal food. It is difficult to define typical American food since the United States is made up of so many different cultures. However, you will enjoy a much wider variety of fresh, healthful foods than simply American “fast food.” Also, most Americans enjoy food from around the world and look forward to trying the food from your country.
- Who does the student’s laundry and cleaning?
Homestay students are responsible for their own laundry and cleaning. Most American families do not have domestic help. Therefore, it is normal for everyone in the home to help with some of the light housework as asked (e.g. washing dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning the shared bathroom, or sweeping after dinner). Homestay students are responsible for keeping themselves, their rooms, and their laundry clean.
- May I use my host’s computers or printers?
No. Hosts’ computer and printer equipment is personal property and cannot be used by homestay students.
Your room will have internet access and most students bring a computer of their own. If you do not have your own computer or printer, you should ask your university or academic program about gaining access to a computer lab on campus.
- What about transportation?
The SEPTA is Philadelphia’s public transportation system, offering many options for smooth commuting both inside and out of Philadelphia. Your homestay will be convenient to a bus, train, or trolley for use during the day. After dark, you should travel with a friend, use a taxi, or use one of the many campus transportation services available through your university or program. Students should take advantage of free bus loops, door-to-door shuttles, and walking escort services provided by their universities.
Your host will carefully teach you the best transportation route from your homestay to your classes by taking you there on the first day. Your host is not responsible for providing transportation for you.
- Will there be other international students in my homestay?
Frequently, there is more than one international student living in a homestay. This can be a wonderful way to make a good friend. Remember: all homestays are English-only zones. Out of respect for everyone learning English, if two students speak the same native language, they will not be permitted to use that language in the homestay.
- May I have contact with my host family before move-in day?
For security reasons, it is the policy of Right at Home Homestay not to share personal identifying information about our hosts until after we have had a chance to meet you in person. On move-in day, your host will provide you with personal contact information when you arrive in their home: street address; home, cell, and work phone numbers; email addresses, etc. If you wish to send a message to your host family, you can use the Contact Us tab on this website to send a message to your host. We will be happy to forward it for you.
- May I send my luggage ahead of me?
No. We can not accept luggage ahead of the student’s arrival.
- Who are our Hosts?
All of our hosts are different. Some host families include a husband, a wife, and children. Some are single professionals. Some are retired Americans who enjoy sharing their homes with students and scholars from all over the world. Each host is chosen for their warm hospitality and gracious homes only a short commute from the universities and programs we serve.
- Are there rules in my homestay?
Every family has rules about “how things work” at their house, like cleaning up after yourself, being considerate of others, and letting them know if you aren’t coming to a planned meal or activity. But you’ll find there is a lot of freedom in living in homestay!
- Do you mix genders of students in homestay?
Having all men or all women students in homestay makes everyone feel the most comfortable!
- What about pets?
Lots of American families have a well-behaved, clean, and very beloved pet (or two!). If you cannot live with pets, be sure to let us know, as many homestay families have pets for you to enjoy!