Hosting for a Semester

Maite from Argentina with her host family in Ithaca, NY.

"I personally think that going to the US was one of the best decisions I ever took in my life!" said Maite Urruspuru, an AFS Exchange Student from Argentina hosted for a semester by the Halpert family. "My host family was amazing and made me feel at home since the very beginning; and besides that I made lots of friends who I'm still in touch with!"

While most AFS Exchange Students come to the US for an entire academic year, others can only participate for a semester. For many, this shorter program option is a blessing, allowing them to take part in a life-changing experience that would otherwise not be available to them.

The same can be said for their host families. The added flexibility of being able to host for five months rather than ten can mean the difference between having to pass on the experience and opening one's home to the world. It also helps diversify the AFS hosting community, accommodating families who split their time between locations, have seasonal interests, or just aren't quite ready to sign on for a full academic year.

"I always knew I would host… I just didn’t figure it would be as an early-30s single woman!" said host mom Leigh Roberson of South Carolina. "Then, along came Henrique from Brazil, my first AFS 'son.' I [initally] signed up as a welcome family. Henrique chose to stay with me for the entire semester, and we had a great time together. I now count him among my family."