The Savannah Country Day School

Service Through Knowledge and Character
English as a Second Language

Homestay Program

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get involved?
The answer is easy! Call or email Rob Curran, our International Student Coordinator, rcurran@savcds.org, and let us know you are thinking about it. We can answer any questions you might have, and can get you started in the process if you are interested.
 
Do we have to have children living at home?
It is not necessary to have other children living in your home when you host an international student.

Do our children have to be in the Upper School?
No, not at all. For some students, the chance to have a younger sibling is a first time adventure, and can be a very positive experience for all. Also, it can be a good opportunity for younger siblings to see what a world-widening experience it is to study abroad. It can pique the interest in young people to learn about other countries, learn other languages when they become personally acquainted with someone from a place they might not have known about before. Sometimes, the relationships made in host-family arrangements can last for generations!
 
For how long are we expected to commit?
It is best to think of a semester at a time. Two families could work together to ‘share’ a year for a one-year international student. For students planning to graduate from SCDS, extended hosting situations are encouraged.
 
Can we commit for a semester only?
Yes, in some cases, for families new to hosting, a period of a semester can be a good starting point. For students staying until graduation, longer uninterrupted periods work better.

What happens in case of accident or illness?
In cases of accident or illness, you would take care of the student as your own. If a doctor is needed, or emergency medical attention is required, host-families have documents in-hand giving them permission to have the student treated medically. Students secure their own insurance, and should be covered in case of illness, injury, accident, or in the unlikely event of death.
 
What if our family is religious and the student is not, or vice-versa?
In the application process, there is a place to share your family’s religious preferences and practices. There is a place for you to convey any feelings you might have that would be good for the student to know. While the student is living in your home, if everyone practices mutual respect and tolerance, it can be a good learning opportunity for all. The Savannah Country Day School is a secular institution based on Judeo-Christian values, but which does not discriminate according to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
 
What do students do during long vacations?
While you are encouraged to include your student in at least some of your family’s activities, some students may have family or friends in the surrounding area and may choose to spend time there during some weekends and longer holidays during the school year. Students return to their home country during the summer vacation.
 
What if it is not a good ‘fit’ for our family or for the student?
From time to time, with a student in your home, there will be conflicts and occasional tension, (as there is in any normal family without an exchange student!). Our staff is trained in the social aspects of this experience and can offer advice, facilitate communication, and will have a liaison assigned to you and your family to occasional ‘breaks’ if needed. There is an orientation period to help with the transitions and to assist when problems arise. If the situation becomes untenable, a backup family will be called upon.
 
Where are the students from?
Anywhere in the world!

Do the students have proper insurance for medical coverage?
Yes. Families will not incur their exchange student’s medical expenses.
 

What if I don’t speak their language?
Students old enough to be upper school students at SCDS will usually be at the intermediate level of English. This does not mean they speak like native speakers, nor will they know all the vocabulary required for everyday activities at first. Experience shows us that students learn and adapt very quickly and are highly motivated to fit in as soon as possible. It can be a fun experience for your family to learn a few words in your student’s native tongue!
 
Can I host if I am a single parent?
Yes!
 
Is there any compensation for host-families?
Depending on the type of visa and purpose for the exchange (one year students, or multi-year students), compensation may be prohibited or allowed. J-1 visas are issued to students staying for one year and are done on a completely voluntary basis. F-1 visas allow for students to pay a monthly fee to hosts for room and board compensation. During the application process, you will be able to state your preference.
 
Can I host more than one student?
Yes. It may be advisable to begin with one, however, if this is a first experience and there are several family members living at home already.

How do we know the student is qualified?
Students accepted to The Savannah Country Day School have undergone a thorough process to determine their academic and social preparedness for our school community. We feel confident that students who are accepted will be a good fit. That said, sometimes problems arise, but we are equipped to handle them using our many personnel resources.
 
What is required of our family for this experience to be successful?
A room for the student or a shared room with a separate bed for the student, and three balanced meals per day are the only requirements. However, opening the doors to your home is a wonderful, significant step. Each situation is unique and the only other requirement is that you WANT to do it. The success of the experience does not hinge upon the size of your home or income or car, but rather on the intangible gifts of care, openness, and interest.

Can the students drive?
Depending on their type of visa , students may get their licenses and drive. This does not mean, however, that the students will be driving your family’s car, or being insured by your family policy. These are arrangements made between the student, their parents and with your permission and in accordance with the laws of Georgia.
 
What kinds, if any, of cultural experiences would be expected of our family?
Just living in your home on a day-to-day basis is a cultural experience. Any extra trips, excursions, experiences around the community only enrich the experience.
 
Can the student be expected to be independent for short periods of time?
It would be ideal for the student to have someone home at meal times so that a pattern of good communication can be developed. Periodically, a student can be left to prepare his/her own meal or stay alone for short stints, such as an afternoon or evening as would occur normally in a home with young people.
 
Will the student have his own spending money?
Yes, the students own parents will provide the money for all the student’s needs, including spending money.
 
Who pays for the student’s medicine, school supplies and incidentals?
In the beginning, the host parents and the student sit down and discuss these matters and find the best solution that is convenient for the family.
 
What if it the student fails in school?
In this case, the student will return to his home country at his/her family’s own expense.
 
What if the student breaks the law while s/he is living in my home?
The student will be responsible for his/her own actions and will be subject to the laws and treated in accordance with the Department of State’s and Homeland Security’s procedures.