Q: Do I have to prepare dinner for the student every night?
A: No, but it is expected that you prepare some of the meals for them. Sometimes it’s okay to expect the student to prepare their own meal from ingredients you provide, or for you to order take out. Some students may not know how to cook, or be comfortable with American kitchens; you will need to provide them with support and guidance.
Q: Is it okay for me to establish some house rules?
A: Absolutely! We recommend that you set house rules so that your expectations are known to the student from the very beginning. The rules should be reasonable and clearly communicated. It is best to put them in writing. Some common rules are: requirements for the student to report if they will not be home for dinner or will be very late, restrictions on house guests or visitors, schedules for using certain facilities such as the laundry, quiet hours for the house, and limits on food in the students bedroom. Rigid rules about the student’s personal room, access to facilities, or curfews, should be avoided. If you feel that your student is not understanding or adhering to the house rules, simply let PIA know so that a meeting can be scheduled to clarify any misunderstandings.
Q: Can I expect the student to help with housework?
A: Yes, within reason. You may ask students to assist with daily chores, but you cannot expect students to completely maintain your house or yard, babysit your children, or cook all your family’s meals.
Q: How do I communicate effectively with a student who is learning English?
A: PIA students are all English learners and will come to the US with different levels, from beginner to advanced. Students may struggle to fully understand when you talk to them. To help the student understand, you may want to speak slowly, enunciate, and avoid the use of slang. You can also write information down and use translators, such as Google translate, to help with communication. Be sure to check comprehension of important information by asking questions. In case of an emergency, PIA will help arrange for support from someone that speaks the student’s language.
Q: What should I do if my student spends too much time in his or her room?
A: It is perfectly fine for students to retreat to their room while at home; in fact, it might be felt to be a comfortable haven from a busy day of English learning. Encourage your student to come out and join when they have time and especially make conversation time for them during meals and or meal preparation time.
Q: What do I do if I want to invite my student to join us for an expensive dinner or travel, with the expectation that they pay for their own expenses?
A: It is perfectly okay to make offers like these as long as you tell your student beforehand about what they are expected to pay. Keep in mind that the student might say “yes” or “no” as it is their choice to decide what to do.
Q: What do I do if my student requests that I buy expensive grocery items that I normally don’t buy for myself or family?
A: You are only required to provide food items that you normally would buy for yourself and your family. If a student requests something which is expensive and not a common food product in your home, they should be expected to purchase that item on their own.
Q: What do I do if my student gets sick or has a medical emergency?
A: Nearly all of our students come equipped with insurance which covers them during their stay in the US. Your student should be brought to Zoom Care or any like facility for colds, flu, and other non-emergency situation. Students will be asked to pay up front for their medical visit, and PIA will assist them to contact their insurance company for reimbursement. If it is a medical emergency, call 911 or bring the student to an ER immediately. Please inform PIA as soon as possible to advise about your student’s medical situation.
Q: Does the stipend cover all of my costs for hosting?
A: This will depend on your personal expenditures, but the stipend is intended to cover all hosting costs, including utilities and food. Host families are not allowed to ask students for any additional payment.