Host FAQs


Who is eligible to host?

We require that host families have a teenager at home, since it makes integration into the family much easier for the French student.

The most important qualities of a host family are:

  • The desire to have a foreign student in your home
  • A warm, welcoming family environment
  • An openness and willingness to share
  • An interest in learning about other cultures
  • A commitment to friendship and international understanding


Must we speak French?

No, you don’t have to speak French! Most host families are found through high school French teachers, so often the son or daughter in the family has some knowledge of French – but this is not necessary.

The French teenagers have been studying English for several years and have come to the U.S. to improve their language skills.

With a
little effort and creativity (and perhaps a dictionary nearby), communication problems should be minimal.


What kind of sleeping arrangements must be provided?

The French students can have a room of their own or may share a room (with a host “sibling” of the same gender), but they must have a separate bed.


What if both parents work?

A large percentage of VIE’s host families are households with two working parents. The French students are well aware that the dual-career family has become an established part of American society.

While the parents are at work, the French student should do whatever the other children in the family would do. Please don’t let this factor keep you from participating in the host experience!


What if the American student works?

If the American son or daughter has a part-time job in the summer, he/she may still host a French student. We simply ask that the family make alternate plans for the French student with other friends or members of the family so that he or she is not alone while the American son or daughter is at work.

However, if the job requires working close to full-time, we do not recommend hosting because this does not allow the American son or daughter enough time to spend with their French student.


How much spending money do the French students bring?

The students are told to bring  a minimum of $400 for personal expenses and to budget their money. When going out with other teenagers, they are responsible for paying their own way for activities and have been prepared for this. However, it is a good idea when making plans to let your student know how much something will cost ahead of time.

If the whole family is participating in an activity together, it is expected that you will pay your student’s way. However, many families, too, are on limited budgets. If the cost would prevent you from engaging in a certain activity, don’t hesitate to explain the situation to your student and ask if they could contribute on their own behalf.


Will our French student have insurance?

The French students have full medical and liability coverage. You will be given details and procedures before their arrival.


Can we take the French student on our family vacation?

You can certainly take your student on vacation with you! Simply notify the VIE coordinator of your destination, the dates that your family will be away, and the phone number where you can be reached.


What are VIE’s rules about smoking and alcohol use by French students?

In France, teenagers are allowed to smoke and many do so at the age of 15 or 16. The program participants have been informed that smoking is illegal in the U.S. for anyone under 18 years of age.

Likewise, French teens are often allowed to drink wine and beer with meals at home. They have been told that in the U.S. it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.


Can the French student drive our family car if we allow it?

Visiting French students are not allowed to drive motor vehicles of any kind.


Where can I find the Host Family Application?

Minnesota: MN Host Family Application

All other locations: North America Host Family Application