Becoming a host family is one of the most exciting adventures you can experience! Families come in all shapes and sizes. There is not a "normal" family. All types of families are considered. Are you single and would enjoy having someone to share your life with and show them your local community? Are you an empty nester that understands the importance of diplomacy through relationship building? Do you have children that are all younger but you feel they would love an older brother or sister? Families with students in high school are great but not necessary.
You are sharing diplomacy at its very best. By living with a family like yours and experiencing an American lifestyle through your lens, these young ambassadors return home with a personal connection and experience that will forever change how they see the United States and the people living here. Likewise, your family will experience first-hand an individual from another culture while gaining a new family member. Families often comment on how they thought they would be providing this and that to a student and in the end, they can't believe how much they gained by welcoming someone into their home. These students are part of your family and should not be viewed as visitors for the next five or ten months. While there are typical cultural hiccups, that is where the learning begins. Open your heart and home to the world. You won't regret it..
iGoGo works with partners who perform the pre-screening of student applicants. Students are required to submit complete application materials including current medical records, a teacher recommendation, official academic transcripts, English proficiency exam results, an essay, and a questionnaire. Students are screened through a SKYPE video and audio interview to ensure a level of English proficiency that meets the high school’s enrollment criteria.
Firstly, iGoGo students are considered ambassadors for their countries. While personalities differ, their attitudes and behavior must reflect the highest standards set by our program. Students are here for cultural and academic experiences. They must attend school regularly or enroll uniquely in a cultural only short-term program. If in school, they must maintain a C average in all course work. Students are expected to participate in each family as a member thus experiencing rules and expectations that are normal for the rest of the family. Finally, a student that will try their best to integrate with the culture while building relationships within your family and community.
Most of our students arrive in August for a 5 or 10-month program, returning to their home country in June. Some semester-students arrive in January and remain until June. We also offer a short-term program, in which students stay for 1 to 3 months.
All students have paid any required tuitions to the school before arrival. As it relates to extra-curricular activities, yes, the student’s natural parents agree to send adequate spending money. This money should be enough for personal hygiene items, clothing, social activities, school expenses etc. iGoGo recommends $200 - $400 per month. Keep in mind that each family hosting an F1 student will receive a monthly amount from the natural family to cover any expenses incurred in the home such as food, transportation and activities as a family.
What a wonderful way to show your international student a special part of the world! We encourage all students to travel with their host families if possible. If a long distance trip is planned and the monthly allowance is not sufficient to cover expenses, it is reasonable to share those facts with the local coordinator and we can request more funds to help cover added costs. Seeing your local community through the eyes of a world visitor is a wonderful opportunity for you and them.
All students traveling on the F1 Visa are required to possess medical insurance. This insurance is either provided by iGoGo or the natural parents. Either way, iGoGo is here to help you navigate any illness or sickness. In addition, we provide all plan materials for your local medical providers. These are student insurance policies and are typical in the United States. A sports physical must be at the expense of the student but any accident or illness that arises and is not a part of a pre-existing condition is covered. The natural families are aware that they are responsible for any medical expenses not covered. International students do not carry dental or vision insurance. These would be at their own expense.
Because iGoGo abides by all regulations from the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel, a local coordinator must reside within your community. iGoGo trains these individuals on our policies and all requirements from the school. The unique relationship between a host family and a new international family member is full of learning opportunities. Your local coordinator will be available to talk about situations you may not understand culturally or to give advice. These local professionals are your first line of contact if you need something from iGoGo. Your coordinator will file a monthly report that consists of information shared by you and your international student. Sometimes the school is contacted and information is shared based on how things are progressing academically. iGoGo also has a corporate office where you can reach someone if an emergency arises any time of day or night.
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iGoGo has worked with international students and their families since 1996. The team has successfully orchestrated a network of schools, local coordinators, families and communities that support this unique form of international diplomacy through student exchange.