Saint Martin's University Host Family Program

Saint Martin's University Host Family Program logo featuring a red and black tree and the tagline "extending your family tree"

Globalization has made our world much smaller, yet the need for community and friendship has become much greater. Saint Martin's Host Family Program fosters real-life connection and cultural exchange.

Find a host family

An American family poses with foreign exchange students with frozen banana treats at a local fair

Ready to develop a life-long friendship during your time in the United States? Your host family looks forward to meeting you and learning more about your country and culture. 

Apply for a host family

  • Steps to finding a host family

    Note: Our international programs department does not provide services for you to rent a room or live with a host family.

    1. Submit the student host family application and we will match you with a host family. It will let us know more about you and your interests.
    2. Our offices will contact you within two weeks with more information about your host family.

Become a host family

A woman stands with two female international students at the Port of Olympia

Welcoming an international student into your home is a life-changing experience. Let us connect you with the exciting and rewarding experience of becoming a Saint Martin's host family.

Apply to become a host family

 

  • Steps to becoming a host family

    Note: All Saint Martin's host family programs are non-residential. Students live in on-campus housing and connect with a host family primarily for the purpose of friendship and cross-cultural exchange.

    1. Submit a host family application. Our offices will contact you within 72 hours to schedule a home visit and discuss any questions you may have.
    2. Complete a home visit and background check.
    3. You will receive a short profile of your student(s) prior to hosting.
    4. We will arrange a meeting between you and your student(s).

Hear it from our students and host families

Two female international students relax on inner tubes at a Washington lake with a local female

“Did my English improve? Yes, because I must speak English. My listening improves. I’m lucky to meet this family. They shared their culture with me. If I’m lonely, they call me and pick me up. I have a home here.”
Sophia, China

An American host family poses with two male international exchange students

"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 privelege to help someone through the challenges of a new culture and environment. We gain much more than we give."
The Koilpillai Family

An American host family poses with two male international students

"This is one of my 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

Hosting opportunities

An American couple stand with two female international students in front of Old Main at Saint Martin's University

Semester Friendship Family Program

Hosting an international student is more than providing someone with a place to stay for a weekend or a few days. It could be the beginning of a life-long friendship!

  • Semester Friendship Family Program info

    We have found friendship family relationships are beneficial and rewarding for the student.  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. Also, connecting with your student(s) is flexible and based on your schedule (we suggest connecting at least once a month).  Students are often busy with classes and on-campus activities, however they still value having an American family.

    What does a friendship family do?

    Friendship family relationships are very simple: Do whatever you normally do with your day and with your family, only include an international student.

    Friendship families are not expected to go on continuous sight-seeing trips, but rather incorporate the student into your normal routine. Sometimes families will invite their student(s) to join them for an activity, a meal, or to go with them on a short trip.

    Be yourself, get to know them, and have fun. Our office is here to assist you and will occasionally provide host family activities during semester to help you and your student build a friendship. 

    Where do I begin?

    1. Complete a host family application.
    2. Our host family coordinator will contact you concerning a home visit and background check.
Two female international students sit in a canoe in front of a lake with an American teenage male and an American man

Summer Hosting Program

Host an international student for a day or weekend this summer. Your participation can have a life-long impact in an international student’s life.

  • Summer Hosting Program info

    For over 30 years, Saint Martin's University has provided a cultural exchange program for students from various countries and universities during the summer. As part of their cultural experience, we wish to provide them a host family homestay in order for them to learn more about American family life. Learning first-hand about another culture through a host family has proven to be an effective and rewarding experience, not only for the student, but also for the families. 

    What is expected of host family relationships?

    Host family relationships are very simple: Do whatever you normally do with your family, only include an international student. 

    Host families are not expected to go on continuous sight-seeing trips, but rather incorporate the student into your normal routine.

    What are the requirements to host (overnight homestay)?

    • Provide a warm and hospitable family experience for our international guests.
    • Provide a private place to sleep. Students can sleep on a futon or air mattress or even share a room with someone of the same gender.
    • Provide meals. Providing meals doesn’t necessarily mean 3 meals a day, but does mean that food is available and that our guests are invited to participate with you when meals are served.
    • Provide transportation. Students will need to be picked up and returned to campus.
    • Attend a short Orientation and Meet & Greet prior to picking up your student for the weekend (this is done about an hour before picking up your student)

    Where do I begin?

    1. Complete a host family application.
    2. Our host family coordinator will contact you concerning a home visit and background check.

Host family program FAQs

  • What do I do with my host student?

    International students are here to experience American culture. You are our best teachers! 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.  

  • Is there any monetary compensation?

    For most of our host family programs there is no monetary compensation. For extended stays (more than three nights), 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 ask our host families to share their lives without compensation. Students do have their own spending money and can use it for certain activities if needed.

  • Do they speak English?

    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.

  • What countries do the students come from?

    Most of our students arrive from China, Japan or Saudi Arabia. However, we also have had students from South Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Brazil, Laos, UK – Northern Ireland, Germany, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Tanzania and Russia.

  • Can I host if we have pets?

    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.