"This is one of the best experiences in America. There is a difference
between friendships and family, and I needed a family here in America. You gave
me a family. I am really grateful for this program."
- Terry, Korea 2011
Office of International Programs
5000 Abbey Way SE
Old Main Room 430
Lacey, WA 98503
Hours: M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST
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Host Family Program
Welcome! Saint Martin’s Host Family Program matches international students
with local residents for the purpose of cultural exchange and friendship.
Let us connect you to the exciting and rewarding experience of a host family
"We enjoy the interaction with students and learning more about their
culture and life. It is a great way to exchange ideas and customs. It is a
privilege to help someone through the (challenges of) a new culture and
environment. We gain much more than we give."
—The Koilpillai Family
Thank you for your interest in hosting one or more of our international
By hosting, you and your family have an opportunity to learn about a new
culture, speak a new language, and extend your friendships internationally.
Most importantly, you play an integral part in an international student's
experience while in America. It can be life-changing!
The Home Away From Home Program provides a unique opportunity to cultivate
an ongoing friendship with an international student(s) over the course of a
semester or an academic year. This program is designed to work around your
schedule -- invite your host student(s) to your home or other activities
whenever you want.*
Saint Martin’s Office of International Programs will
provide resources and ideas for activities to participate in with your host
student. Your host student(s) will enjoy being included in your family
activities or visiting your favorite places.
* Host families are encouraged to
meet with their host student(s) monthly during the four-month semester
For over 30 years, Saint Martin's University has provided short-term summer
cultural programs for students from our sister universities. As part of
their experience at Saint Martin’s, the visiting student(s) spend a weekend
with American host families to learn more about American family life and
The homestay weekend generally begins on a Friday evening and ends
on Sunday afternoon (40-48 hours). Families are asked to provide housing and
meals for the student throughout the weekend. We encourage host families to
include the visiting student(s) in their normal weekend activities.
Occasionally there are students who need a homestay longer than a weekend
(extended homestays). Stipends are sometimes available to families hosting
more than two nights.
Holidays are perfect occasions to invite international students to spend
time with you and your family. International students value the friendship
you extend to them and appreciate the opportunity to learn about American
customs and traditions.
The American Holiday Hosting Program can be as
simple as inviting a student(s) to enjoy a meal at your home or spending a
day with your family. Common hosting holidays include President’s Day
Weekend, Spring Break, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Become a host family
We offer a variety of opportunities for host families to get involved with our international students.
- Complete the Become a Host Family online application. Our offices will contact you within 72 hours to schedule a home visit and discuss any questions you may have.
- Complete a home visit and background check.
- You will receive a short profile of your student(s) prior to hosting.
- We will arrange a meeting between you and your student(s).
Note: All Saint Martin host family programs are non-residential programs. Students
live in on-campus housing and connect with a host family primarily for the
purpose of friendship and cross-cultural exchange.
Frequently asked questions
Not at all. Singles, couples, or families can all offer different or unique
opportunities for international students to learn and experience American
International students are here to experience American culture. Host families
are not expected to go on continuous sight-seeing trips and entertain the
students, but rather include the student in normal weekend routines like: baking
cookies, shopping, soccer games, cookouts, knitting, hiking, etc. Not everything
needs to be perfect and put together to be a host family. Be yourself, get to
know them, and have fun.
For most of our host family programs there is no monetary compensation. For
extended stays, some compensation may be available. The goal of our host family
programs is to provide a mutual learning experience for our international
students and their host family. Out of a heart of goodwill and hospitality, we
are asking host families to share their lives without compensation. Students do
have their own spending money and can use it for certain activities if needed.
Yes, however the students’ English skills vary. The students participating in
the host family program are expected to practice and improve their language
skills while with their families. As a host family, you have an active part in
helping them with those skills in a very practical way.
Yes! Pets are a great connection for internationals. Pets are part of your
family, so they help in hosting as well. There are some students that have
allergies or a fear of pets, so we will take the necessary precautions with
those students and place them with families without pets.
Find a host family
Thank you for your interest in having an American host family while at Saint
Martin's. Having an American host family has many advantages but most it's
an opportunity to develop a lasting friendship. Many students share that
it's one of the best experiences they have while in America.
Note: Our international programs department does not provide services for you to rent a
room or live with a host family.
To be paired with a host family, submit the student application. The
application helps us match you with a host family. It will let us know more
about you and your interests. Your host family looks forward to meeting you
and learning more about your country and culture. Our offices will contact
you within two weeks with more information about your host family.
Complete the Find a Host Family online application and find your host family today!