A Life Lasting Experience.
Learn why hosting a World Heritage Exchange Student can enrich your life in a way that you could never imagine
Meet Our Students
Meet former World Heritage Exchange Students from different cultural backgrounds who share their experiences
Host an Exchange Student
and your family will embark on an unforgettable cultural adventure.
By opening up your heart and your home, you will be giving an exceptional young person the opportunity of a lifetime — to live with your family and experience firsthand the language, customs and culture of our country. There is no greater opportunity for bright, inquisitive teenagers eager to expand their knowledge and their worlds.
In return, your World Heritage Exchange student will bring a fresh new outlook on life and a bit of his or her native country into your home. It is truly the meeting of two cultures – not as a tourist but as a “family” – learning from each other and living together.
Each year, World Heritage offers North American families the opportunity to host girls and boys, ages 15 to 18, from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Canada and Mexico. World Heritage invites you and your family to participate in this invaluable cultural experience and help contribute to global harmony.
Welcome a lifelong friend
Having an exchange student in your home is much like having an adopted teenage son or daughter. World Heritage students expect and want to be treated as a member of the family, enjoying the privileges as well as assuming the duties. This entails full participation in the day-to-day activities of your family such as household chores, leisure time and recreation. Your World Heritage student wants to learn about your country as a “native” not as a guest.
As your student experiences daily activities with your family and within your community, you will discover a new way of looking at and appreciating those things you often considered commonplace. And as your student shares his or her customs with you, your entire family will discover a new culture — right at home.
The mutual rewards of hosting a World Heritage student are far-reaching. Your student’s classmates, instructors and your entire community will be enriched by interacting with your exchange student. As the school year goes by, your family will grow close to this new family member and will develop a bond that will span thousands of miles and last a lifetime. A tearful goodbye will come all too quickly, but with the closeness you have nurtured, you and your exchange student are sure to keep in touch. Someday, your entire family may visit your foreign friend as guests in his or her own country.
How to become a World Heritage Host Family
World Heritage is seeking families, couples or single parents (with or without children at home) who are adventurous, fun-loving, responsible, and, most of all, caring. To begin this exciting cultural experience, you will first meet with a World Heritage Area Representative and complete an application form covering various aspects of your family, your community and your school.
Recruitment for World Heritage host families takes place in the spring and early summer months to ensure enough time for exchanging letters with your student before his or her arrival. Once your student arrives, your World Heritage Area Representative will be available during the entire stay to assist your student in adjusting to your family and his or her new school, community and culture. Of course, in the event of a real emergency, you may contact the World Heritage office 24 hours a day.
A priceless investment
If you are concerned about the cost of hosting a World Heritage exchange student, rest assured; your financial commitment is minimal. You merely provide meals and a room.
In fact, your student may even share a room with a child of the same sex who is close in age. World Heritage exchange students pay for their own round-trip airfare and provide their own complete medical and liability insurance coverage. Spending money is the responsibility of the students and their natural parents. Your most important contribution is far from monetary. It comes from your heart—a willingness to welcome this student to your country and into your home by making him or her feel like a true member of the family.
About the students
Before a student is considered for the World Heritage program, he or she is carefully screened by our overseas offices. Students are selected on the basis of their high academic standing, good-natured and adaptable manners, and their curiosity and sense of adventure. The students who are accepted into the World Heritage program radiate their enthusiasm for learning about a whole new way of life.
When you and your student meet for the first time, World Heritage doesn’t want you to feel like strangers. Both host families and students will receive information about one another ahead of time — descriptions of the family, hobbies, studies and place of residence. The student will be most eager to meet you. We encourage that you break the ice by writing your new son or daughter before his or her arrival. Suddenly you become more than an application; you become their American host family.
Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student just seems so Natural
Our family's first hosting experience began in January of 2015 with our Italian daughter Vittoria. We had so much fun with her that we could not wait to experience a new, different country, so we applied to host another World Heritage Exchange Student.
We have an Italian Daughter for Life
Being our first time to host, we had no idea what to expect. Although terribly excited about our new venture, we were a little nervous and unsure of how much initial awkwardness or time was needed for everyone to acclimate. From the moment we met Michela at the airport, she removed all hesitation and fears by immediately hugging us all. Having two boys and no daughters in the house was a new experience for us all, yet Michela made it so easy.
Hosting an Exchange Student is much too Rewarding an Experience to say no to
My husband and I started hosting exchange students in 1995. We have four children of our own: a son then almost 15 and three younger daughters. Our first “daughter” was a darling 16 year old from France. The kids were so excited for her arrival, painting a huge sign to hang on our garage welcoming Christine into our family. Although she only stayed for the summer, we had a wonderful experience with Christine.
We have since hosted a total of ten exchange students: three from France, three from Italy, two from Germany, one from Japan, and one from Taiwan. Almost all of them have returned for follow-up visits (most bringing siblings and parents with them), and several other kids from other host families have also come to stay with us for short visits.
The Most Wonderful Year of My Life!
I am Nuriya Sherzodova, one of the fortunate students
who was awarded the U.S. Department of State sponsored FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) Scholarship and
became an exchange student in United States. I have to say, that this is the
most wonderful year of my life! Being from Tajikistan, a
Muslim country in Central Asia,
I enjoy observing many differences and similarities between our two nations.
We do not celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween in my home country, so I was so excited to celebrate these holidays with my lovely American family Olga Saldarriaga and Jose Cuadra. I especially liked Christmas! We sang Christmas songs, decorated the tree, opened presents and then we had delicious dinner together.
Late summer 2011 my husband and I decided to become a welcome host family to Louis Konstantyner, a 16 year old boy from Denmark who had applied to the World Heritage Student Exchange Programs. The day Louis arrived at Sacramento airport all three of our lives were about to be changed forever.
Within a week, my husband and Louis had bonded, and one night over dinner my husband announced that Louis was a perfect fit for our family and that we were keeping him! There was no way we would share him with another family.