Students gather in front of the Cascade Buidling

Homestay Frequently Asked Questions

Please see these commonly asked questions for hosts and students. For additional information, please email

What does it mean to be a host family?

There are no set definitions for what constitutes a host family. What we seek in a host family are people who have kind hearts, compassion and warm personalities, and who desire to build a better world, one international friendship at a time.

When will I receive a homestay placement?

Current students can request new placements throughout the year and will be placed according to availability. Hosts can expect to have placements happen year round. For new incoming students, homestay placement notifications are sent approximately one month before the quarterly arrival date.

What is expected of a student?

Students are expected to be a member of their host family and participate in daily activities and chores. Communication with their host family is very important.

What are the duties of a Host Family?

Hosts are inviting students to become a member of their family. This means that they are providing more than just the basics (bed, bedding, desk, lamp, clothing storage [dresser or closet], fully functioning window, and internet)—they are providing students with a safe, inclusive, generous and hospitable experience.

Additionally, hosts must live within a 45 minute bus commute (with less than 1 transfer) or provide students daily transportation, and be willing to provide two meals per day (full hosting).

How long is the commitment?

Homestay commitment is dependent on the program host's desire to participate. Our program offers a few different hosting options including:

  • Short Term Hosting: Usually our short term hosting program requires the host to only commit to a 2–6 week length. Typically, other colleges or groups will come in to tour our school, complete short term study abroad programs, or attend a language intensive. Available at Fort Steilacoom campus only. Puyallup/Graham families that wish to participate may do so only if they are willing to provide transportation.
  • Long Term Hosting: Host families commit to student placements for three months or more. This includes a full homestay experience (two meals per day) or a partial homestay experience (no meal requirements). Available at Puyallup, Fort Steilacoom, and Thun Field Programs

Do host families receive compensation?

All hosts in our program receive a stipend to help cover the cost of hosting students. See current compensation rates.

What countries do the students come from?

Students come from all over the world, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Eastern Europe, Turkey, South America, Central America, and many more places!

Do hosts have to go through any kind of screening?

Yes, hosts must complete an application, pass a background check, provide references, attend a host family orientation, and complete an in-home interview prior to hosting. Every year after, hosts commit to being a part of the global community by attending hosts and community events, an annual renewal orientation and in home visits.

Is the host family the legal guardian or sponsor for the student?

No, hosts are not legal guardians of the students. Many students are over the age of 18. Students who are younger than 18 have medical waivers on file from their parents or legal guardians in their own country. Hosts are instructed to never sign on behalf of a student for anything.

I am ready to host, how do I get started?

Email with your contact information and what quarter you are interested in starting in.