What is the process for applying to be a Host Family? Is it simple?
Yes, it is a very simple process. The steps are as follows:
- Phone interview
- Online application
- Family in-person interview & house tour (photos of common areas)
- Background checks (statewide & nationwide criminal & sex offender checks)
- Reference calls
- Decision letter sent to Host Family applicant
- Matching of student to accepted Host Family
- SKYPE call between potential student & accepted Host Family
- Student’s arrival in the United States 1-2 weeks prior to school start date
What age are AIEP students?
Most of our international students are in the 7th-10th grade, ages 13-16.
Do AIEP students speak English?
Yes, both AIEP and our school affiliates interview international student applicants via SKYPE and are administered a formal English proficiency assessment as part of their application process. All international students entering the U.S. must have sufficient English skills to succeed in an American classroom.
Most of my children are older and living out of the house – can I still host?
Yes, most of our families host because they are “empty nesters” and have an extra room that has been empty for some time, or has been recently been vacated because a child has left for college. Older couples and couples who have never had children before are welcome as well! It is a great experience for all.
Where are AIEP students from?
Our students are from Asia, with the majority coming from China.
Do AIEP students have health insurance?
Yes, all of our international students are required to have health insurance in case of an emergency. AIEP helps students purchase this prior to their arrival in the U.S.
Do AIEP students like American food? What will they eat?
Yes, most of our students come from major cities and hubs in China where American food such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subways, etc. is prevalent. Also, most Chinese are used to eating meats and vegetables of all kinds as part of their daily diets.
What happens if we go away on vacation – can I take the student with me?
If you’d like to include your student with you, that is great! We encourage our students to bond with our families and be included in such family events. Students will have their own spending money for extra costs such as hotels, eating out, plane tickets, other transportation, etc.
What happens if we do not want them to miss school?
If bringing your student with you on vacation is not feasible, with advance notice we are able to place students with short-term homestays while you are gone OR your student can stay with a relative or other family with AIEP’s approval.
How does AIEP match us up with an international student?
Based on your application and house visit AND our students’ application and SKYPE interview, we match families together based on similarities and proximity to respective middle and high schools. Ultimately it is the final decision of our clients in choosing the host family for their son or daughter.
How does the student receive spending money while they are in the U.S?
AIEP students will be set up with bank accounts upon their arrival in the United States. A simple ATM card and student checking account with their parents wiring money abroad is all that is needed.
How much is the monthly stipend and what does it cover?
AIEP’s monthly stipend is ~*$1,000 per month per student, varying by state, over a period of 5 or 10 months (January or September school start date). The monthly stipend is offered to Host Families to offset the costs of hosting and to make the Host Family financially whole. ~*Varies by state.
Is my $1,000 monthly stipend taxable?
Yes, tax law requires that AIEP issues a 1099 form to all families at the end of the tax year. Please consult your financial adviser, tax accountant or tax attorney about the proper treatment of this stipend and/or if there are ways to offset/net the additional income with expenses incurred by hosting.
What do AIEP students pay for while they are in the U.S.?
Students are required to pay for anything outside of basic living expenses. “Basic living expenses” include shelter, heat, food, transportation, fuel, love & care. Students will use their own money for items such as lunch at school, going to the movies, purchasing books, going out with friends, mini-vacations, etc.
Can our host student help around the house?
Yes, we encourage your host student to help out around the house and become involved with household chores. They are here to be part of the family and share in household responsibilities.
How do AIEP students communicate with their family and friends back home?
International students communicate with their parents via SKYPE – a free, online video-conferencing program using a PC , Mac, tablet or smart phone. There is a 12-hour time difference between China and the East Coast of United States (i.e. 8AM EST = 8PM in China).
What happens if we are unable to host half way through the year due to a family emergency, change in living situation, etc.?
As long as you provide us with advance notice, we have back-up Host Families that would be more than willing to host your student. However, we require that Host Families commit to hosting for at least 5 or 10 months to avoid such issues (January or September school start date).
How many students can we host?
You can host up to 2 students at a time. Both students (of the same gender) would each require a private bedroom.
How many years do AIEP students stay in the U.S.?
Our students usually graduate from schools in the U.S. with the aspiration of going onto to an American college or university. Students will return annually to complete their middle and high school education in the U.S. and ultimately receive a high school diploma.
If we enjoy our host student and want to host them again the following school year, can we?
Yes, most of our current host families will host their same host student(s) again for the following school year! As long as both the student and Host Family agree to it, we are perfectly fine with you hosting the same student again.
Many questions that haven’t been answered above can be answered by a simpler question, “What would you do OR how would you handle the situation if it was your own child?” We expect all of our international students to fully immerse into the American culture, obey family rules, and become part of your family. If your decision to a situation is a “no” or a “yes” based on your prior experience with children (of your own or others), then we at AIEP would respect that decision as well. LASTLY, if you have any other questions – feel free to give us a call and we’d be glad to help!