Students gather in front of the Cascade Buidling

Homestay Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

What are the duties of a Host Family?

There are two hosting categories, each with its own responsibilities:

  1. Host Family: Welcome and accept an international student as a member of the family. Eat dinner with them at least five times per week, do at least one non-routine activity per month, have food available for them to prepare for breakfast, lunch and remaining dinners. Hosts provide a student with a private, furnished room with a bed, desk, closet or drawer space, and high-speed internet access, and an environment for English language learning (English must be the primary language spoken in the home at all times). Host families must also live within a 45-minute bus ride of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. Other duties are outlined in the contract, handbook, and orientations.
  2. Room for Rent: Hosts must provide a safe, friendly, warm environment with a furnished room, desk, lamp, high-speed internet access, and closet or drawer space. Utilities must be included. Although this option is for the more independent student, hosts must assist students in the acclimation to the area by showing them where to buy groceries, ride the bus, etc.

How long is the commitment?

Homestay Hosts commit to three months or longer. It is not uncommon for a student to stay in the same homestay for the duration of their studies (a year or longer). However, the first three months is a trial period for both the students and the Host Family. Room for Rent Hosts commit to three months or longer.

Do host families receive compensation?

For host families and welcome families, students pay a $650 per month stipend to offset the costs of hosting them. Hosts who fulfill their responsibilities to their hosted students know that this is not a profit venture. The stipend is to prevent hosts from facing financial hardship by hosting a student; hosts do not benefit financially either. When renting rooms, students pay hosts $500 per month, including utilities.

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, all persons in the household over age 18 must have a clean criminal record. For those who have hosted student before, references from past students or the hosting company are helpful.

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 Ashley Chambers at with your contact information, the housing program you are most interested in, and your home address. Someone will contact you within two days with your next steps.