Home Admissions International Students FAQs for Host Families
Frequently Asked Questions for Host Families

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

West Sound Academy has the opportunity during the 2013/2014 school year to again 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 2013-2014 school year.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Hosting a Student:

What are the hosting options available for my family?

Do I have to have a student at WSA to be a host parent?

Do the students speak English?

Does our international student need a separate bedroom?

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

What if the student gets sick or injured?

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

How do I sign up to become a host family?

What does the local coordinator do?

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

What are the hosting options available for my family?

Families can choose from three different levels of participation for hosting a student:

Full School Year - from late August to early June
Half Year- Two families choose to co-host a student, typically with one family hosting from late August
to January and the second from January to early June
Liaison Family – One family is assigned to a Murphy House student and hosts them for four “Leave
Weekends” and other day activities
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Do I have 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 help such host families work with WSA families to help provide carpool transportation to and from school and activities.

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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.

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Does 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).

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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 cost. 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 experiential expenses. Each student brings 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.

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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.

How do I sign up to become a host family?

Contact Barrie Hillman 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.

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What does the local coordinator do?

The local coordinator is the student’s liaison with the US State Department approved placement organization. The local coordinator organizes activities regularly for the students and holds periodic check-in meetings. In addition, the local coordinator is also a skilled and experienced problem solver who works with WSA to assure a great experience for the student and host family.

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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 Murphy House integrate into American life.  An Advocate Family periodically invites the student for dinner, haves him or her come along on family activities and hosts the student on occasional weekends from Friday through Sunday nights on scheduled “Leave Weekends”.  Leave Weekends occur the last weekends in October, November, and January, and in mid March. Please contact the school for more information.

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