Skip to contentSkip to main navigationSkip to local navigation


Host Family


"We are honored to host Crystal in our home. She comes from China.  She delights us with her grace and kindness every day.  Hosting her in our home has been one of the best things we have ever done."



Housing Options & Costs

Families must offer one of the following housing options:

Option 1
Option 2 Option 3 Option 4

Monthly Cost:

(full board)

Room with 2 meals per 
day (breakfast & dinner 
only) 7 days a week. 
With this option, the 
family will provide the
student with breakfast 
items that the student 
can grab-and-go or 
prepare him/herself. 
Lunch is not provided.

Monthly Cost:

(room only) 

This option is for 
students who choose to 
take care of all their own 
meals. The family must 
provide access to the 
kitchen for cooking and 
provide the student with 
cabinet and refrigerator
space to store food.

Monthly Cost:

(per student)

Shared Room 
(2 students per room, 
with two meals a day). 
The family will provide
the student with breakfast 
items that the student 
can grab-and-go or 
prepare him/herself. 
Lunch is not provided.

Monthly Cost:

(per student)

Shared Room
(2 students per room 
without a meal plan).
The family must 
provide access to the 
kitchen for cooking and 
provide the student with 
cabinet and refrigerator
space to store food.


After submitting the Homestay APPLICATION, you will also have to complete the following steps to be in our program:

  1. Schedule an appointment with the Housing Coordinator for a site inspection.
  2. Successfully pass the background check.
  3. Complete the Online Host Family Orientation 

If you pass both the site inspection and background check, we will then add your profile to our Program and contact you where there is a compatible student for your family. Not all host families will be matched with a student right away. 

Two months' rent is due on move-in day. After the initial two months, rent is on a month-to-month basis. If the student moves out prior to the completion of two months, no refund of the prepaid two months' will be given, unless they are leaving due to any of the valid reasons stated below:

  • There is a real or implied threat of harm towards the student.
  • The host alters the terms of the contract like increasing rent, charging utilities, etc.
  • The host is unable to continue hosting the student due to personal reasons not caused by the student.
  • The room does not look like the pictures in the host's profile or the commute to campus is over 60 minutes by bus.

At any point during their participation in the Homestay Referral Program, if the student is asked to move out due to disciplinary or behavioral problems, the remainder of that month's rent will not be refunded. However, if the host asks the student to move out, and the student has not broken any house rules, the host must refund the student any unused prepaid rent. The refund amount must be given to the student the day that they move out. In both cases, the security deposit will be calculated according to the policy outlined in the Deposit section.

Option 3 & 4: Two students are never guaranteed during the matching process, so in the case where only one student was placed in the shared room, or if the student's roommate decides to move out, we will do our best to find another student to share the room. In the case where we cannot, the host must honor the student's shared room rate until the end of the semester. 

The $500 deposit is due on move-in day. 

If the student moves out of their homestay and does not provide the Host with a 30-day written notice, the student may risk losing some or all of their $500 security deposit, if the funds are needed to pay any rent left owing.

The student is expected to leave their room in the same condition as when they moved in, except for normal wear and tear. The student may be held responsible for any damages caused by visitors (friends and family) that they have invited into the home, and funds from the security deposit can be used to repair such damages.

After the student moves out, the host has 30 days to either return the deposit, or give a written statement of why all, or part of, the money is being kept.  If any funds are used for cleaning or repairs of damages beyond normal use, the host will provide the student with receipts showing the cost of services or repairs performed. The only exception to this rule is if the host is asking the student to leave, and the student has not broken any house rules, then the deposit must be returned immediately, minus any damages caused to the room.  

Students who plan to leave for an extended period of time during the holiday or semester breaks must inform the host whether they plan to return to live in their homestay or not.  If the student would like to continue living with the host, they will continue to pay the required rent during their absence to remain in the room.

If the student is not returning to the same homestay after the semester break and the remaining rent does not cover the days when they are away, they may not store their belongings there. Some host families may offer storage space for a fee, but this should be discussed and negotiated between the student and the host. 

If the student is under 18 years old, the host must inform the Housing Program Coordinator in advance and provide the contact information of an adult who will be checking in on the minor student. The host cannot leave the minor student unsupervised.

Option 1 & 3: If the host is traveling for an extended period of time, they must ensure the student will still get two meals a day. 

Option 3 & 4: The student may stay in the shared room even if their roommate leaves during the holiday or semester breaks. The host must honor the shared room rate while the roommate is traveling.

For Options 1 and 3, the host must provide two meals a day - breakfast and dinner.

Breakfast: If the host has time, they can prepare cereal, scrambled eggs with bacon, or pancakes. If not, the host must provide grab-and-go items like bagels, donuts, yogurt, fruits, or breakfast sandwiches.

Dinner: It is typically a hot, home-cooked meal. Buying fast food once in a while is okay but it should not be the norm. We highly encourage the host to directly ask the student what their favorite dishes are. If the student is craving a traditional dish from their home country, the host can look up the recipe and learn more about the student's culture. 

For options 2 and 4, the host must provide cabinet and fridge space for the student to store their own food and groceries. The student must have full access to the kitchen to prepare their own meals. It would be helpful if the host could invite the student to join them on trips to the grocery stores. 

No matter what their housing option is, students are responsible for purchasing their own snacks like chips, candy, etc. 

Each household is different and every host family sets their own house rules. For example, some families require the students to take off their shoes when entering the house. Some families don't mind at all. Families should pick rules that make sense in their household, but here are some common ones:

  • Keep your bedroom and bathroom clean. 
  • Don't eat meals or drink soda in the bedroom.
  • Take the trash out once a week.
  • Don't do laundry between 10pm - 7am. 
  • Clean up the kitchen and do the dishes after cooking/eating.

If students repeatedly break the house rules, the host should inform our office right away so we can create a Behavioral Contract for the student. The Behavioral Contract will outline which house rules the student has been breaking, and if behaviors don't improve, the student acknowledges that they risk being evicted within 30 days. 

Our program guarantee students that they will be matched with families who live within a 60-minute bus ride. If the host lives farther than this guaranteed distance, they must be willing to give the student a ride to school for free or a small fee. The fee would be negotiated directly between the student and the host. If the host family's profile indicates a shorter bus ride but in reality, it takes the student more than an hour to get to campus, the student is allowed to move out and get their full deposit back (if there has been no damages to the bedroom). The two months' rent will be refunded as well, minus the prorated rent for the number of days the student has stayed with the host. 

Families who live farther than a 60-minute bus ride that can't offer rides to school will only be matched with students who own cars. Please be aware that majority of our international students take the bus to campus. 

As long as the host is participating in the Homestay Program, even after the initial two months, they must honor the rental rate set by the program. In addition, they may not charge the student additional fees for utilities and internet.

Some host families offer the following services for an additional fee. The fees are separate from the Homestay Fees and should be negotiated between the student and the host. The host can choose not to charge the student for any of the services listed. However, if the Host requires the student to pay these optional fees, the student may request to be matched with another host. In that case, the host must refund the $500 deposit and any unused prepared rent.

  1. Cleaning Fee: the host can hire a professional to occasionally clean the house, including the student’s bedroom and bathroom. This fee must be split evenly by the number of people living in the house.
  2. Lunch Fee: if the student does not want to prepare their own lunch, they can ask the host to provide them with lunch for a fee that will not exceed $10/meal.
  3. Driving Fee: most hosts will occasionally provide free rides to the grocery store, movie theater, school, etc. However, a payment plan can be developed if the student wants a ride to school every day, or to be driven to far destinations. 

Students are responsible for the following personal expenses:

  • rent based on housing option
  • $500 deposit upon arrival
  • meals/groceries (option 2 & 4)
  • snacks (all options)
  • personal hygiene products (shampoo, razor, toothpaste, etc)
  • transportation fees (bus, Uber, Lyft, Bart, etc)
  • their share of accommodation, transportation, and food when going on trips with the host family

Host families are responsible for the following expenses:

  • the student's desk, bed, comforter, sheets, and towels 
  • student's breakfast and dinner (option 1 & 3)
  • wifi, utilities, cable, and electricity bills
  • coins for the student to use at the laundromat if there are no washer and dryer in unit

1)   I have passed both the background check and site inspection. When can I be matched with a student?

  • There are more host families than international students in our program, so not everyone will be matched with a student each semester. When we receive an application, we have to consider all factors during the matching process. The student could be terrified of dogs and you own two. The student only wants option 4 but you're offering option 1. Due to religious and cultural reasons, the female student cannot live with any men in the house. Those are just a few examples but after careful consideration, we try our best to match the student with the family that meets all of their requirements. Even if you do not get matched with a student at the beginning of the semester, there's still a chance you'll be matched later on since not all matches will work out and the student will have to relocate. 

2)   The family that I referred you has been matched with a student but I am still waiting. Why is that?

  • Again, there are many factors to consider during the matching process. For whatever reason, maybe the student was a better match for that family. Also, host families should keep in mind that students have the right to review host family profiles before accepting as well. Sometimes they request to see a second profile. 

3)   Do I have to pick up the student from the airport?

  • No, host families are not required to pick up the student from the airport, but it is a very nice gesture and greatly appreciated. For most of these students, this is their first time traveling abroad without their family. They're very nervous about getting lost or figuring out where to find a taxi once landing at SFO. Both taxis and shared rides like Uber and Lyft can be very expensive as well.