Hosting FAQs

Who can be a host family?

All kinds of families can become YFU volunteer host families: couples with teenagers, couples with primary school children, single parents with or without children at home, couples with grown up families, or with no children. All you need is to do is open you home and hearts to your exchange student and provide them with accommodation, love and guidance and the experience of what everyday life is like in Australia or New Zealand. It’s lots of fun and is very rewarding.

Will your YFU exchange student speak English?

All YFU international exchange students who come to Australia or New Zealand have studied English- in fact they are required to pass an English proficiency test before being accepted into the program by YFU in their home country. Initially they may need some help and patience until they adjust to Aussie or Kiwi English with its colloquial sayings and particular pronunciation of words.

How long do exchange students stay with our family?

YFU Exchange students come on a range of programs which range in length from 2 to 10 months.

Where will your YFU student attend school?

Your YFU exchange student will usually attend a secondary school in your local area. They are required to attend school full time. A YFU local coordinator will arrange the initial enrolment but may seek your assistance in finalising the student’s enrolment before and after the student arrives.

How are YFU students selected for our exchange programs?

Our students come from over 40 counties around the world and must be 15 to 18 years old. YFU is a world wide organisation with internationally agreed criteria for the selection of exchange students. These include, maturity, flexibility, level of confidence, ability to communicate, and academic ability. Students and their families are interviewed by trained YFU coordinators and references and transcripts sought form the student’s school (student must have achieved at school satisfactorily).

Our students must have a full medical examination before coming on exchange. They complete a detailed application and undergo an interview as to their maturity, sensibility and motivation for exchange. The student‘s application is then reviewed by YFU staff and the final selection process considers all the information submitted about the student.

How do we choose a YFU student to host?

YFU will provide you with student profiles which have details of the student’s family background, interests and activities, as well a copy of their “host family letter” written to you as a possible host family and some photos of the student and their family. This information and what the students say about themselves will help you to make a decision about hosting a student.

What are our responsibilities as a host family?

All you need is to do is open you home and hearts to your exchange student and provide them with accommodation and meals, love and guidance and support as you would for your own children so that the exchange student experiences what everyday life is like in Australia or New Zealand.

Will our exchange student need their own room?

YFU does not require hosting families to provide their exchange student with a separate bedroom. The YFU exchange student may share a bedroom. All host parents need to provide in terms of accommodation is a bed and a study area and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

What are the YFU exchange student’s personal and financial responsibilities?

YFU exchanges are not only about travel or formal study in another country, they are also about learning to live comfortably with an Australian or New Zealand family.  That means sharing the pleasures, the interests, the chores and the tasks experienced by all families.  This also means that the exchange student takes on the responsibilities of a family member and enjoys the privileges of belonging to a family.

YFU students will have their own spending money. We advise them to have access to approximately $300 per month while in Australia or New Zealand. They will use these funds to purchase personal items and meet any on-going school expenses. School expenses such as special subject fees, general administration fees, uniforms and any other school costs are the responsibility of the student. YFU students are aware that they are also responsible for all personal phone call costs and if required internet costs. Their natural parents sign a declaration as part of the student’s visa application indicating that they will financially support the student while on exchange.

What insurance do the students have?

All YFU exchange students are insured for comprehensive travel, liability and medical insurance. Students placed in Australia must have overseas Student Health Cover (OHSC) as required by the Australian Government prior to the arrival of the student.

What support will we get from YFU?

YFU will provide you with a host family orientation briefing and a host family handbook. We will have a YFU trained local volunteer support person or family to support you and your exchange student during the exchange period. In addition the YFU staff members are available 24 hours a day on a mobile phone in case of emergencies. YFU also arranges for the student to arrive and depart from the nearest airport.

What happens if we have problems while hosting?

This is why we have a support network which includes both trained local support people as well as highly experienced office staff and, if required, professional counsellors who will do their best to help you and your student resolve any difficult situations that arise during the exchange. If there are difficulties that cannot be resolved YFU will arrange a change of host family.

Can we host for periods shorter than two months?

Yes your family can host a student for shorter periods. YFU maintains a list of families who can provide:

  • Holiday Hosting for students wishing to visit either another state or the city during their school holidays. This type of hosting usually ranges from 2 to 3 days up to 2 weeks. It allows families to try hosting for a short time and gives the exchange student an opportunity to see another part of Australia or New Zealand while they are here
  • Welcome Hosting for students arriving who need to spend a short time before they can go to their permanent family. This type of hosting can range from a few days to 8 weeks.

Do you want to learn more about hosting a YFU student?

Please call us on 1800 654 947 (free call Australia) or 0800 833 624 (free call New Zealand) to receive more information or send an enquiry.