An amazing cultural journey for the entire family

Hosting an exchange student in your home is a great way to learn about a new culture and share your own culture and values. Children often enjoy being cultural ambassadors, introducing their new brother or sister to local customs, traditions and national holidays. Everything from preparing meals to sightseeing are opportunities to discover and appreciate cultural and other differences. We call this the #AFSeffect!

Welcome adventure

Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country

Welcome change

Prepare your family to become global citizens—ready to connect with people from around the world

Welcome discovery

Help an exchange student learn how to live in and enjoy your culture and traditions

It can't be described, it has to be experienced

“Opening your house up to an exchange student is one of the most rewarding things anyone could do. Hosting was a decision that we made as a family as I can honestly say this decision changed our lives. It has brought us closer together as a family – we spend more time together than we ever have before. We support each other and have even found we have a greater appreciation for one another and our individual differences. Hosting has pushed us out of our comfort zone and has broadened our family – we now have sons and daughters all over the world.”

– Kelly, host mother from QLD

Apply to become a host family

What is an AFS host family?

AFS has invited families to welcome international students into their homes since 1947. Long considered a key element in the well being of exchange students, host families provide so much more than shelter and meals.

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Supported by dedicated volunteers and staff, host families help students navigate their new schools and communities, make friends, learn the language and enjoy their year abroad. Sharing culture and traditions help families bond, creating lifelong friendships. 

AFS Host Family Programs

AFS High School Program

Duration: 3 to 10+ months, starting at the beginning or the middle of the school year. Students will be 15 –18 years old and they will attend a local high school.

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AFS Short Programs

Duration: 8 –11 weeks, starting throughout the year (4 weeks short programs available in Tasmania only). Students will be 15–18 years old and they will attend a local high school or language institute.

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AFS 18+ Programs

Duration: 3 –10+ months, starting at the beginning or the middle of the school year. Participants will be 18+ years old and they take part in a community project.

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How to become an AFS host family

Learn more and apply

Learn why host families are so important to AFS programs. Our application process is thorough so we can make the best match for your family.

You've been selected

We take finding families very seriously. Although there’s no “ideal” AFS family—we have plenty of experience finding the “right” families. 

Get ready to host

Meet the trained volunteers and staff who will support your family and help you learn how to make your AFS experience rewarding and fun. 

Welcome your AFSer

Experience the AFSeffect with your new family member by sharing your home, your heart and your world as you take your first steps to becoming global. 

The AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey

The AFS Host Family Program is now supported by the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey, built on specific intercultural learning objectives and facilitated by trained staff and volunteers. The Journey includes orientation sessions, facilitated discussions and other learning activities and reflection—all to enable the family to better support their hosted student and explore and build their intercultural awareness and understanding as individual global citizens and as a family.

Learn more about it

How does AFS support host families?

Experienced local AFS volunteers and staff will prepare your family for the challenges of welcoming a new member from another country.

24 hour local emergency contact and additional support from the AFS national office is available. AFS students have medical insurance, if health care is necessary. 

Trained volunteers and staff will support you throughout your hosting program, including meeting with you and your family at least once a month to make sure everything is working out.  

Your support volunteers will guide your family and student through the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey activities to help make the entire experience more meaningful and lasting. 

Host Family Resources

Here are some resources which will be handy to have close while you host!

The AFS host family experience creates a lifetime of memories.