Becoming a Host Family

Thank you for your enquiry about the university homestay services through worldwide international student exchange WISE®

Our goal for this program is to provide:

A rich educational experience (linguistically and culturally) for students, and a cultural exchange experience for the host family.

A safe home environment for students and their hosts.

A program in which WISE® is confident that every reasonable measure has been followed in order to ensure the success and educational
value of each placement.

WISE® California College and University Program

WISE® contracts with the University to provide homestay placement services for students who attend University Extension’s Intensive English Language Program. Our services are also available to students and families in nearby colleges and universities with which we may or may not maintain a contractual relationship. Our goal is to closely integrate the intrinsic educational value of living with a host family, with the academic program at University Extension or other universities and colleges we serve.

Local Support

Our local Program Director recruits, interviews, trains and counsels host families. It is the Program Director’s responsibility to maintain a good rapport with students, host families and University staff in order to ensure a safe and satisfying experience for both the student and the host family. The Program Director is available to provide support and assistance to both the family and student throughout the term of a student’s stay. Host families are encouraged to call or request a meeting with the Program Director as needed.

University Extension at the Universities of California at Davis

The University Extension programs are one of the most respected ESL programs in the nation. They were developed for students who want to learn English for academic, professional or social reasons. Sessions are scheduled quarterly throughout the year. Students get approximately 22 hours of instruction per week, and may enroll independently in either the 10 week or 4 week programs. Students have the option to sign up for field trips, and a variety of after school activities. Apart from independent students, University Extension also hosts many special group programs. These groups stay for varying lengths of time, and have unique schedules and activities. The UCD Extension features state-of-the-art computer labs, and students may request an e-mail access account. Also featured are multi-media language labs where students can listen and practice English with audio and video equipment. The central organizational hub at the Extension Center is in the Student Services Office. This is where you would call for any direct contact with the University staff during weekdays office hours. See the section for Emergency Phone Contacts at the back of this manual.


International students come to the UC Extensions because of their academic excellence, and because our local communities offer safe environments in which to live and learn about American culture. Although the demographics vary dependant upon a particular nation’s economy, currently the largest percentages of students come from Japan. We have students from all over the world though, with representatives from Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Indochina. Students may be here from 2 weeks to a year or more. Typically students come for either 10 week or 4 week programs. Most students range in age from 18 – 30 years old. Their goal is usually to improve their English speaking ability in order to enhance education and employment opportunities when they return home or to improve their language skills sufficiently to allow them to attend a US College or University to attain their degree.

To qualify for entrance into the ESL Programs, students must provide a financial statement certifying that they have sufficient funds to cover all basic living expenses while in the US. Additionally, they must purchase health insurance from the University upon their arrival.

Host Families

If you are able to provide a private room, desk with a sturdy chair and good lighting, a place to store clothing, and most importantly – a safe, stable and caring environment, then you have what it takes to be a WISE® host family. Our families represent the diversity and heritage of the American people in our local communities. We have excellent hosts who are single, single parents, retired couples, and couples with young children, grown children or no children. Host parents must be 25 years of age or older, provide a clean and safe environment, and be committed to the caring and welfare of their student during his or her stay. Because students elect homestay in order to improve their English speaking abilities, host families must also be fluent in English, and speak English as the primary language in their home. Host families are compensated for room and board according to the meal plan the student selects – either 2 or 3 meals per day. In most cases, students pay their host families directly; however a few group programs arrange to have WISE® issue the host family stipend. Once you are qualified as a WISE® host family, the local program director will discuss with you upcoming opportunities to host.

Basic Requirements


WISE® hosts provide a clean, odor free, comfortable and safe environment, with a private bedroom which includes a bed, desk with adequate lighting for studying, dresser and some closet space. The house and neighborhood are clean, pleasant and safe. Since students come here to improve their English skills and knowledge of our culture, household members are required to be proficient in English and speak English at home.

WISE® guarantees families will be within a 45-minute commute by bicycle or bus.
Hosts must inform WISE® of changes in their household prior to accepting a new student.


Students are not expected to work for room and board; however, participation in daily home life is expected. They are instructed to clean up after themselves in the kitchen and common areas, and to clean their own bedrooms and bathrooms. Students are responsible for preparing their own breakfast and lunch. When away from the host family’s home, they are responsible for their own meals. Students must respect and obey the host family’s household rules. Students may not bring guests to the Host Family’s home without prior permission. Long distance telephone calls are made at the student’s expense either by pre-paid phone card, or by collect call.

Support from WISE®

As a national organization, WISE® carries liability insurance to protect host families against any expense not covered by their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

The WISE® Program Director will phone you one to two weeks into the program to check in, and is available to counsel and advise throughout the term of placement.

The WISE® Program Director meets with students on campus twice each quarter, and is available to individual students for counseling and advice by appointment.


WISE Foundation
P.O. Box 1332
Dyersburg TN-38025, USA


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