FAQ’s for Hosts
What is homestay?
Homestay is where a visiting student (international student) stays in a properly managed hosted accommodation environment for a period of their study in a new country. A homestay allows an international student the opportunity to begin their stay in the USA, in a warm and welcoming American household, rather than in an impersonal apartment, dorm or hotel.
Why is homestay with StudentRoomStay Concierge (SRS Concierge) my best choice for hosting?
SRS Concierge is the most recognized global homestay provider for international students. We are leaders in the industry as we provide a full-service approach to hosting. That means that we know exactly who is staying with you and what their background is. We provide support 24 hours a day in case there is a problem or emergency. We also handle billing and pay you directly, on time, via direct deposit. We give you training on cultural understanding and how to help students and your family enjoy the hosting experience.
What is the role of a host family?
The host family plays a unique and vital role in the international student experience. While providing a safe environment for students to live in, host families provide more than just a room and board experience. Host families provide support for an international student while they are away from home and often help to bridge the cultural gap that students experience. At the same time, host families need to understand that their role is not to replace the student’s natural family. International students in this day and age stay closely connected with their family and friends in their home country – often on a daily basis. The host family needs to respect the student’s culture and native family while also helping them to adjust to the home and culture they are currently living in.
Who can host and what is required?
Traditional families, non-traditional families, single people, roommates and friends living together – any person or group who is willing to share daily life with an international student can be a host. We want our pool of host families to include a wide spectrum of families – families with different religious beliefs, races, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We don’t want to exclude any families who believe they can be amazing hosts.
As an SRS Concierge homestay host you must:
- Make yourself and your home available to your student. Our hosts must be able to provide a clean, comfortable and private bedroom for students.
- Hosts must speak clear and correct English in the home.
- Help your student settle into a comfortable and safe home and help them to learn. You will be willing to make them feel at home with conversation, support, inclusion in family activities and personal warmth. Ideally, you’ll have a sincere interest in other cultures and a desire to connect with new friends from around the world
- Provide healthy food for your student if this is included in their service
- Show your student around the community to assist the student to become familiar with the local area and customs, while in a relaxed and friendly household setting.
- Help your student to access or organize important services e.g. setting up a bank account and mobile, and assist your student to seek medical or dental attention as necessary
- Pass and maintain criminal background checks every two years
For full details and requirements, see our SRS Concierge Host Agreement, SRS Concierge Host Family Code of Conduct and SRS Concierge Host Family Standards of Student Care.
Will I receive a stipend for hosting?
We know that overhead costs and maintenance expenses can rise as a result of introducing a new temporary member to your family. For this reason, we provide an agreed upon stipend to cover these expenditures.
All hosts receive direct deposit hosting stipends every 2 weeks. The amounts vary based on:
- What meals and amenities you provide
- Your location relative to the school
- The cost of housing in your area
- The age of the student.
We provide payments in a 2-week cycle because it means you get paid more frequently and always for the exact number of days you host. For a more in depth overview of payments please contact your local SRS Concierge office and they will be more than happy to assist you.
For more information regarding payments, please see the SRS Concierge Host Reimbursement Policy.
Is the hosting stipend taxed?
Families will be issued a 1099 at the end of each tax year. Families should keep a close record of any expenditures for hosting and give it to their tax advisor.
How do I apply and what is involved?
The initial online application is just a capture of basic personal and household information and it should take only about 10-15 minutes to submit it and get the process started. The full process is outlined below:
- Complete the online application (10-15 minutes)
- Submit quality photos of your home and family
- Receive your welcome email
- Complete your online profile / submit banking info for payment (you can wait until later in the process)
- Take the online training and self-assessment (under 1 hour)
- Schedule your home interview with your Host Manager
- Submit and wait for background checks to come back
- You are ready
We do advise you to take your time crafting the profile to ensure we get the best student matches possible, but there’s no urgency to get it done. You just need to finish it before we start matching you with students.
Will there be a background check?
Yes. Safety for our students and students is our number one priority. Any family member over age 18 must pass a background check as we want to ensure that all our host homes provide a safe place for each of our students to live and thrive. Background Checks need to be updated every two years.
Will someone visit my home?
Yes, as part of our process to ensure the safety and comfort of our students, one of our local reps will visit your home after you submit your online application. This is our opportunity to get to know your family and to answer any questions you may have. After the student arrives, we will periodically visit to speak briefly with both you and your student.
What areas do you serve?
We are building operations and growing rapidly in the USA. Please contact us to see if we are currently placing students in your area or visit our location page. Alternatively, you may wish to help us set up a program in your region.
How long does it take to get a student/student placed in my home?
Once you complete the application, self-assessment, interview, and background checks we begin the process of matching you to the right student. This can happen right away or could take months, depending on demand in your area and what students match with your lifestyle and preferences.
Students arrive throughout the year depending on the educational program they are participating in.
We don’t want our host families to feel rushed when it comes to preparing their homes for a student’s arrival, so all information will be detailed well in advance – not at the last minute.
How many students can I host?
You can host up to 2 students at a time and as many students consecutively as you like. You are paid per student per night.
Do I just buy the food or do I need to cook for my student?
You can choose the level of homestay you provide from our list of packages. Breakfast and Lunch are self-serve, so you will only need to have food available for your student but you do need to prepare it. We ask that dinner (if you’ve chosen to offer it) is served at least 5 days each week and includes interaction and conversation with your student. SRS Concierge payments are reflective of each package offered; reimbursing our hosts for their costs and effort.
Meals may sound like a hassle at first but our hosts confirm what we know to be true – that mealtimes are the best and most rewarding times to connect and build friendships with your students, especially if you are cooking for yourself or your family anyway. Including your student in mealtimes will make a much richer experience for you and for your student.
Be clear with your student which food is theirs and which you would prefer they do not use. If you have chosen to host a student who is on a no meals plan, you only need to make the kitchen available to your student.
Do I need to provide transportation for my student?
This is an option. In many cities we offer a higher stipend for a premium offering where the host drives the student to and from school. Otherwise students in our program use public transport at their own cost.
For students in high school and younger, Host Families are often responsible for school related transportation. With this option, students need to be dropped off and picked up from school each school day. Host families are also responsible to provide transportation if the student needs to stay late or arrive early for sports or activities.
Can International students drive their own car or vehicle?
It is difficult for international students and students to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle if they are under the age of 18. Of course, without a license, an international student is forbidden to drive. Not only can the student get in trouble, but you can too if the student drives your vehicle. If a student is over 18, students can take a driving course with an instructor and obtain a license. Licensed students over 18 who choose to drive will need to have their own vehicle and insurance coverage.
Who will I be hosting and where do they come from?
Most SRS Concierge students are college-age students who are here to study in a degree program or an ESL or vocational course. We also place high school students, interns, older professionals, and study tours. These students come from all over the world – some active countries currently include China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, India and Brazil.
Will students have all their paperwork to legally study abroad?
Yes, all students will receive the necessary documentation to study abroad. More specifically, they will receive a Visitor or F-1 student visa, which will allow them to visit or study in the United States. F-1 visa students will also receive an I-20 form, which is otherwise known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status For Academic and Language Students. This form will have more details about the school where they are studying and how long they plan on staying in the country. A student will need this information to legally live and study in this country.
Will I have legal guardianship of the student if they are a minor?
For minors, the student’s birth family is considered their legal guardian. While in the United States, SRS Concierge will act as temporary guardian in all matters regarding student’s safety and medical emergencies.
Is there legal documentation between SRS Concierge and the host family?
When registering with SRS Concierge as a host family, you will be asked to sign a Host Agreement. This document will go over all the guidelines pertaining to the responsibilities of host families, and it must be signed by someone that is over the age of 18 – typically the head of the household or the homeowner. With this agreement, we want to ensure that the host family is protected and knows exactly what SRS Concierge requires.
Do the students speak English?
English proficiency will vary but most will have some English skills when they arrive. Many students are trying to improve their English by choosing a homestay.
How long do students stay?
SRS Concierge has both long and short term hosting opportunities. Some students need a host for as short as a week (e.g. a study tour), or others may extend for as long as you and the student are happy to stay together after the initial 4 week period. Many of our high school students need a host for a full academic school year, which is usually between nine and ten months. Whatever the circumstances, we will provide you with more details before you agree to host a particular student.
Are there rules for the student?
In addition to a Host Family Code of Conduct, SRS Concierge has a Student Code of Conduct which all students are expected to adhere to. When the student first arrives, you should also review your own house rules with them. You should make sure your student understands and agrees to these rules.
What if it doesn’t work out?
SRS Concierge stays involved from the start of the placement until its conclusion. Our hope at SRS Concierge is that the student and the host family have an enjoyable experience. The reality is, however, that some placements may not work. When a conflict occurs, SRS Concierge will make every effort to mediate and offer counseling to the offended parties. If after mediation things still aren’t able to be resolved, we will arrange for the student to move to a different homestay.
Do I need to be near a major school, college or university?
Yes, our hosts need to be within a maximum 60 minutes by public transport (including walking time) of their chosen university, college, vocational-tech, ESL school, professional or high school. We are always looking for hosts appropriately located where there is current international student demand.
Can we host if we have a pet?
Of course, it just needs to be stated on your profile. Some students will fall in love with your pets. Some will be afraid, allergic, or have a religious prohibition for being around pets. In those cases, we’ll ensure you aren’t matched with that student.
Do I take my student out to dinner, on excursions, and on family trips?
We ask that you include your student as much as you like, but you are not obligated to include them in everything. The host stipend will help cover costs, but just talk with your student ahead of time about any extra entertainment or travel expenses. Usually the student would pay for anything that is outside of the homestay hosting agreement.
Will students have their own spending money?
Yes. Students of all ages will have their own money. You are expected to pay for their food up to the point you’ve selected for your hosting level but you are not expected to pay the student’s expenses beyond your host agreement.
What is the vacation policy?
You are welcome to invite your student to join you on vacation if you wish. Alternatively, if the student is over 18, and you are comfortable with it, they can remain in your home whilst you are away. You must let the student know in advance and ensure they are getting all the services and meals you’ve agreed to provide whilst you are away. If your student is under 18 they will require overnight supervision at all times. A host family member or adult designated by the host over the age of 25 may stay with the student if SRS Concierge has vetted that person. If necessary, SRS Concierge can help to provide a temporary host for your student while you are on vacation.
Does the student have insurance?
International students are encouraged (and for some it is a visa condition) to have insurance and their insurance requirements usually come from the school. SRS Concierge does not mandate insurance if the student is over 18. If you have any concerns about your own insurance please check with your household insurer. Each party should check their current insurance policies and/or arrange sufficient insurance to protect themselves and any third party.
Will SRS Concierge stay in contact with the host families?
We make it as convenient as possible for our host families to contact an SRS Concierge representative. SRS Concierge Local Managers will have regular contact with both the host and the student to make sure everything is going well for both parties. It is important to us that both the host family and their student are happy and comfortable in their arrangements. Regardless of whether an issue is big or small, we encourage host families to contact us with any inquiries they might have. Open communication is the key to an enjoyable and positive experience for both the host families and their international students.
Will there ever be a time that I cannot reach a representative?
No! Emergencies and other last minute situations are unavoidable. In the case of a true emergency, the host will need to immediately call 911. If the issue is not life threatening, but there is a concern that needs to be promptly addressed, we will have representatives available after hours. Host families are encouraged to reach out to their representatives when difficult situations arise.
What is the next step?
If you still have questions, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Us to speak with an SRS Concierge representative. If everything sounds great and you’d like to proceed, please click here to fill out our host application.