It's Host Family Appreciation Month!

An AFS student from Switzerland (center) with her US host family.

Each year in March, AFS-USA celebrates Host Family Appreciation Month. This four-week celebration is intended to recognize the many outstanding families who open their doors to AFS Exchange Students.

We know from experience that the act of hosting an exchange student benefits both the student and host community tremendously. While the student reaps the many benefits of an immersion-based study abroad program, their classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends learn about another culture and begin to see their own culture through new eyes.

Host families are the backbone of this experience, providing students with the support necessary to face the challenges of being abroad and integrate fully into their communities.

But hosting is about more than just providing help. Hosting also means providing students with a family – a group of people with which to share the study abroad experience and all its remarkable outcomes. In fact, many AFS students start calling their host parents ‘mom’ and ‘dad,’ and even more report feeling as though they have gained permanent family members by the end of their exchange programs. These relationships last for decades, and sometimes lifetimes.

There are thousands of inspirational stories of relationships that have grown over the years, and students for whom studying abroad set them on a path for success. If you know, or are a part of, one of these stories, now is the time to recognize the people who help make them happen: AFS host families.

Help Us Thank Our Deserving Host Families!

We will be celebrating the contributions of our beloved host families throughout the month of March, and we hope you’ll join us! There are numerous ways you can do so:

Tweet #ThanksHostFam

Honor a host family, or host families, you know by stating what you appreciate most about them.

Share a host family photo

Post a photo of a host family you know and love on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #ThanksHostFam.

Send a #ThanksHostFam “E-Card”

Download one of the images below by right clicking over the image and selecting “Save As.” Then share it with a deserving host family via email, or post it to social media: