Hosting a WSA international student builds lifelong global friendships. It’s an amazing experience with lasting impact.

West Sound Academy has the opportunity each school year to host several international students through the U.S. State Department’s cultural exchange program. These students travel to the United States to study in American high schools and are required to live with host families during their time attending school. Please consider one of our options for hosting a student during the coming school year.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hosting a Student:

Philip from Germany, Fred from China, with their host brother River
Seoyeon from Republic of Korea with her host family at graduationIs there compensation for hosting a student?
For students enrolling on an F-1 visa (which are the majority), WSA provides a monthly stipend to reimburse room and board expenses.
What are the hosting options available for my family?
Full School Year – from late August to early June
Half School Year – from mid0January to early June
Am I required to have a student at WSA to be a host parent?

No. WSA offers this unique opportunity to the broader WSA community. WSA staff, retired couples, and families with children attending other schools have all been successful host parents. We connect such host families with WSA families to help provide carpool transportation to and from school and activities.

 Back to top

Do the students speak English?

As part of the admissions process, WSA conducts an extensive analysis to determine if a student’s English skills meet our requirements for admissions. We only admit students that we feel will be successful and who will quickly master the language transition. That said, a student’s English may be a little spotty for the first month as they become accustomed to American life. For all students, once they adjust to the immersion situation, their English blossoms.

Bojana from SerbiaDoes our international student need a separate bedroom?

A hosted international student can share a room (not a bed) with another family member of the same gender that is within four years of his or her age. A bed, dresser, desk, closet space and access to a bathroom are fundamentals that the student will need. The bedroom should qualify as a “bedroom” under the county building codes (lofts, recreation rooms, etc., do not qualify unless they have a closet, closing door and two points of egress).

Back to top 

What do I pay for and what does the student pay for?

The host family provides three meals per day including a bag lunch for school days. If the student wants to buy lunch at school, they do so at their own expense. If the student wants to buy some special foods or go shopping, they are responsible for those purchases as well. If the family goes on a special activity such as a weekend excursion, the student is responsible for paying for their own expenses. Each student will bring a credit card for their use.

What if the student gets sick or injured?

Each international student is provided with health insurance and carries an insurance card that they can use with your family doctor or in emergencies.

Back to top 

What if I plan to go on vacation during the school year?

Having your international student accompany you on your vacation is optional. If your host student will not be going with you, WSA helps to arrange for alternative housing for the student with another host family or at our residence house.

Yanlin and Chengyu from China at the annual Host Family luncheonHow do I sign up to become a host family?

Contact Lisa Gsellman at  to express your interest. We’ll help with the process, which involves completing a host family application and agreeing to a background check for the adults living in the home. A site visit by a local coordinator or WSA representative is a final step before host family approval. We provide a host family orientation meeting in late summer.

Back to top 

What if I can’t commit to being a full time host family but want to help out?

Our International Advocate Program provides opportunities to get the feel of having an international student in your home. WSA Advocate Families assist international students living at the Cedar House integrate into American life. An Advocate Family periodically invites the student for dinner and has him or her come along on family activities when desired.

Back to top