What is the Process for Applying to be a Host Family? Is it Simple?
Yes, it is a straightforward 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
- Matching a Student to an accepted Host Family
- Student’s arrival in the United States 1-2 weeks before school start date
What Age are the International Students?
Most of our international students are in the 7th-10th grade – ages 13-16.
Do the International Students Speak English?
Yes, APEX and our school affiliates interview student applicants and administer 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 / 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 or recently vacated because a child has left for college. Older couples and couples who have never had children are also welcome! It is an excellent experience for all.
Where are the International students from?
Our students are from Asia, with the majority coming from China.
Do the International Students have Health Insurance?
Yes, all of our students are required to have health insurance in case of an emergency. We help students purchase this before they arrive in the U.S.
Do International Students like American food? What will they eat?
Most of our students come from major cities and hubs in China where American food, such as McDonalds’, Pizza Hut, Subways, etc., is prevalent. Most Chinese students 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 Them with Me?
If you’d like to include your student, that is great! We encourage our students to bond with our families and participate in such events. Students will have their own spending money for extra costs such as hotels, eating out, plane tickets, other transportation, etc.
If bringing your student with you on vacation is not feasible, with advance notice, we can place students with short-term homestays, or your student can stay with a relative or another family with APEX’s approval.
How Does APEX Match Us with an International Student?
Based on your application, home visit, our student’s application, and interview – we match families based on similarities and proximity to respective middle and high schools. Ultimately it is the final decision of our clients to choose the host family for their son or daughter.
How Does the Student Receive Spending Money While They are in the U.S.?
Our students will set up 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 needed.
How Much is the Monthly Stipend, and What Does it Cover?
APEX’s monthly stipend varies by state and is ~$1,000 per month per student over 5 or 10 months (January or September school start date). The monthly stipend offsets the hosting costs and makes the Host Family financially whole.
Tax law requires that APEX 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 properly treating this stipend and if there are ways to offset/net the additional income with expenses incurred by hosting.
What do APEX 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 money for items such as lunch at school, going to the movies, purchasing books, going out with friends, mini-vacations, etc.
Can Our Student Help Around the House?
Yes, we encourage your student to help around the house and become involved with household chores. They are here to be part of the family and share household responsibilities.
How do the Students Communicate with Their Family and Friends Back Home?
International students communicate with their parents virtually using an app called WeChat with their computer, tablet, or smartphone. There is a 12-hour time difference between China and the United States East Coast (i.e., 8 AM EST = 8 PM in China).
What Happens if We're Unable to Host Half Way Through Due to a Family Emergency, Change in Living Situation, Etc.?
As long as you provide us with advance notice, we have backup 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 International Students Stay in the U.S.?
Our students usually graduate from schools in the U.S. with the aspiration of going 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 Student and Want to Host 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 the student and Host Family agree, we are perfectly fine with you hosting the same student again.
Many questions that haven’t been answered above can be answered by a more straightforward question, “What would you do OR how would you handle the situation if it was your child?” We expect our international students to fully immerse in the American culture, obey household 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 APEX would respect that decision as well.
LASTLY, if you have any other questions, feel free to call us; we’d be glad to help!