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Host Family FAQs


What are the hosting periods?
Fall hosting is late August through December; winter/spring hosting is early January until late June (think more of a ‘semester’ type of length, dividing the school year into two chunks). Families should share their needs, and the Host Family Committee will do its best to match up the needs of the interns and the host families.

What is the difference between hosting in the fall or in the spring?
Here are some comments made by host families at other French immersion elementary schools:“We prefer hosting in the fall because we truly enjoy introducing an intern to the U.S.”

  • “Saying good-bye to winter and welcoming spring with our intern has been great fun; we’re doing lots of outside activities.”
  • “We’ve hosted in both the fall and spring and found that we bonded more quickly with our fall intern. Our spring intern did bond with us as well, but needed less support because he knew his way around.”
  • “This is our second time to host and our family schedule has become very busy so hosting in the spring when the interns are typically less “needy” has worked out great!”
  • “Hosting in the spring was quite different than our fall hosting experience because by spring the interns have developed many friendships and have more activities planned. Once we let our intern know that we wanted her around a bit more, we got to know her better.”

Some of our children are not even in school yet, should we wait until they are older before hosting?
You don’t need to wait; here’s what two families with young children have said:

  • “I loved having an intern around when I had preschoolers; he was an extra set of hands and the kids enjoyed climbing all over him.”
  • “We are much busier now that the kids are older and were home a lot more when they were younger. It has worked out okay both ways, but I had more time to spend with the intern when the kids were young.”

Can we host if we plan on taking a vacation while an intern is living with us?
Yes, and there are many options. Interns frequently make travel plans for break periods too; however, if an intern does not have plans, some families may choose to invite their intern along. Some families explain to the intern that they cannot afford to bring the intern along on vacation. Other families offer to include the intern and explain what expenses they are able to pay for the intern. And still others offer to include the intern with all expenses paid.

What if we’re on vacation at the end of August?

  • The host family coordinator will work with you to make alternate living arrangements for the intern until you return.
  • “We returned from vacation a few days after our intern had arrived. She stayed with another family until we got back. We would have liked to meet her at the airport, but it worked out great because she became friends with that family too.”


What is the host family required to provide?

  • “As a host family we were required to provide a private bedroom for our intern and all of her meals. Although we didn’t cook all meals for her, we had to have food available. She usually took leftovers to school for lunch (the school lunches are not popular).”
  • “We don’t have an extra bedroom but still wanted to host. This spring we moved our boys into one bedroom and put the intern in the second bedroom. Sure the boys are looking forward to having their own bedrooms again, but they aren’t excited about our intern moving out!”
  • Committee note: The intern’s bedroom must have a door, legal egress window, traditional bed, a place for storage, and a small desk or table for studying. It is also required that the home have wifi.

Must we provide a private bathroom for the intern?

  • No, however they do need a place to store toiletries.
  • One host told us: “Because our intern shared a bathroom with our youngest children, we gave her a tote to carry some of her things back and forth from her room because we were worried that the little ones might get into her things.”

I’ve heard that interns prefer taking leftovers for lunch rather than making sandwiches. What if we don’t always have leftovers?

  • Host families are not required to make every meal for the intern, only provide the necessary food.
  • “When this happened with our intern, we told him that he was welcome to make other meals and we would supply the ingredients. He has made spaghetti, pasta salads and a few other meals.”

Do we pay for the intern if we go out to dinner?
Some families rarely go out to dinner. Other families only go out to dinner when their intern has other plans. There are families that regularly pay for their intern to join them at a restaurant, and there are families that set an entree limit for family members, including the intern. It is important to explain any expectations BEFORE going to dinner.

How do interns get to school or to other activities?
Many interns ride with families to the school, while others choose to walk or ride bicycles to school. For other activities, interns are asked to arrange rides with their partner family or neighborhood network. That is not to say that an intern will never ask you for a ride, but you must be upfront about your availability. If you are unable to provide a ride to/from school, the intern is responsible for his/her own transportation.

Do we have to let the intern drive our car?
No, most families do not. However, after getting to know an intern better, some families let the intern drive. Oregon law requires that an intern have either a Oregon or international driver’s license (good for one year). Check with your insurance provider and discuss responsibilities with your intern before allowing him/her to drive.

How much does it cost to host an intern?
It’s difficult to quote an exact amount as this varies by family and intern life styles. Here are two experiences:

  • “We have a home-cooked meal almost every night and rarely eat at restaurants. I know we make a bigger meal in order to feed an additional adult and have leftovers, so I’d estimate that it’s the cost of feeding one adult for five months.”
  • “Our family was constantly on the go and we often ate dinner at restaurants or picked up take-out on the way home. We cooked at home maybe 2-3 times a week. We always paid for our intern when she joined us, but sometimes she had other plans. It can add up!”


If we have a preference, may we request a male or a female?
Yes. The Host Family Questionnaire asks for a preference, and the committee will do their best to honor that request. If the committee has a question or concern or cannot honor your request, they will work with you directly.

What is the intern required to provide?
Prior to arrival, interns are required to verify that they have sufficient funds to pay for personal items. They earn a very small stipend to cover other expenses. Additionally, the intern committee makes it a point to explain to the interns that they are not guests in the host home but rather a family member and are expected to be cooperative, gracious, respectful of house rules and help around the house.

Do we have to speak French to host?
No. In fact, most interns hope to improve their English skills by speaking English with their host parents.

Will the intern speak French with our children?
We sure hope so; in fact, we encourage it. It is acceptable to ask the intern to speak French to your children.

What if I feel bad about making someone live in our chaotic home?
Join the club (but all interns have survived the experience)! Host families are able to describe their family lifestyle when completing the Host Questionnaire. This helps us to match each intern with the most suitable family (e.g., not placing a “home body” intern with a “gone every night” family).

What do we do if things are not going well?
First and foremost, we emphasize open communication between the hosts and the intern in order to get issues out on the table. The host family coordinator is always available to provide confidential help. If it becomes necessary, a new home will be found for the intern, however, talking through issues is often enough to set things on the right track.

I’ve heard that interns are not allowed to babysit. What if I need to run to the store for a few groceries, may I leave the intern at home with our children?
Yes. If the intern is willing, it is acceptable to run an errand (less than one hour) and leave the intern in charge.