Host a Student from the Basque Country with SUSA

We believe the simple act of welcoming students into our homes is a powerful way to allow God’s love to flow through our lives. You can show this life changing hospitality by inviting a Basque student to be part of your family for the month of July.  Our program started with a family who went out of their way to share their lives and love with a Basque teen.  You can do the same!

What is a month of hosting a student like?

To be honest, that depends a lot on each family and on your personality. Hosting a student certainly isn’t easy, but it also is much more doable than you think. And you may discover that there are some hidden benefits you never imagined like living in community with other families from your church, of experiencing another culture, and feeling as if your student has always been a part of your family. Families who are busy, families with children, families who are going on vacation, and even families who think they’re boring have had great experiences hosting a student for a month.

My family is interested in hosting

Frequently Asked Questions:

Hosting a student is an amazing experience. But the typical family usually has a lot of questions before they say “yes” to hosting. That’s totally normal. Here’s some of the most common questions we receive. If you don’t see an answer to a question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What ages are the students?

The students coming this summer will be between 14 – 18 years old (with the exception of the University Program).

What are the dates they will be here?

They will arrive more or less between June 28-30 and will depart between July 28-30 from an airport near you. Please check with your area coordinator for dates and airport details. Families need to plan to be at the airport for arrival and departure; however, if it is impossible we can arrange transportation to your house. Your presence at the airport sends the message that they are family!

Will they bring money with them?

Yes. While this is not mandatory, we encourage students to bring around $300 to the USA for any tourism or shopping they choose to do.

Do they speak good English?

While their level of English varies, all come with at least a functional level of English.

Do I have to have teens/kids to be able to host?

Nope! Absolutely not!  Each life stage has its own unique advantages when it comes to hosting. Some of our best host families have been empty nesters or young couples who do not yet have children.

Do they need to have their own bedroom?

Not necessarily.  It’s nice if they can have their own bedroom but many students can share a bedroom with same gender siblings. All we ask is that they have a space to call their own (like a bed and a dresser plus a chair or desk).

Do they have health insurance?

Yes. They will come with travel health insurance in case there is any problem while they are in the USA. You should never have to put down your contact information or insurance information at a hospital if there is a problem.

What if our whole family is at work or school all day?

This doesn’t make it impossible to host because sometimes there is a family who would like to be involved in the life of a student, but they don’t have space for them to sleep. Or maybe you are in a small group at your church that would like to help out. Or sometimes, families have taken their student to another family’s house who is also hosting a student. Other times, one parent has taken vacation one week, another parent another week, and then they find other families to help out the other two weeks. It certainly requires some planning and coordination, but if you feel God tugging on your heart…don’t let your work schedule keep you from listening. We can help you evaluate your situation and how you can make it work.

I can’t host a student because we don’t have space, but I’d like to be involved.

Sometimes there are families that can host a student, but they’re at work all day (see the question above). If this is you, contact us and we can connect you with a family near you who is in this situation and you can partner together with them.

We normally take a family vacation in July.

Great! If you are willing, take the student with you! This is a great memory maker and might even be more bonding for your family as you will find that your student brings you all together. This is also an amazing way to send a message to your student that they have become part of your family. Of course, not every family is willing to do this, but if you are able we highly encourage you to keep your normal summer trips and family vacations.

What is the financial commitment?

There is no financial commitment other than treating the student like a part of your family. As a result, there is an increased cost (we estimate somewhere between $150-300 depending on the lifestyle of your family). This is a result of added food and utilities, an extra person with you when you eat out at restaurants, and if you choose to do extra activities throughout the month. When the student chooses to go shopping or other optional activities, you do not need to pay for them (they will bring around $300 to pay for extra things like this), but when they are with you and doing activities with your family, we ask that you treat them like one of your children.

What is the time commitment?

There will be several activities organized throughout the month for you and your student (see question about activities below). While none of these are mandatory for host families (except the welcome BBQ and goodbye dinner) they are all highly recommended as this gives you the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your student and the other students as well. The intentional time and activities you spend with your student and your family take time as well as most people want to be good hosts who show their student the best of your area of the USA. However, many students are just excited to see how normal Americans live their normal lives. So don’t be afraid to keep your normal friend plans, family trips, weekly obligations, sports practices and games, and take your student along with you to those things.

Won’t they get bored? (what do we do with them all day all month?)

They will if you don’t do anything with them all month!  But if you are intentional about spending time with them, including them in your normal activities, and living missionally as a family they will have a great time! We provide families with a list of activities that are low or no cost that they can do with their student throughout the month. We also encourage families to build good habits into their family (such as limiting times on technology, eating meals together, watching TV together instead of separately, playing games together, going for a walk after dinner, etc) that can be great for your family in the future. If you do these simple things, your student won’t be bored and will have an amazing time with you.

What kinds of activities will be organized throughout the month?

We will organize activities like a welcome BBQ, an American breakfast orientation meeting, a water related activity, a day trip to a big city, an American sports activity and a goodbye dinner.  We will provide you with a calendar of when these events are going to happen so that you can arrange for your student to be there and hopefully for your family to be able to participate as well. Additionally, we may organize other activities that families and students can participate in if they are free and/or need something to do. We will create a WhatsApp group (WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones) that will allow us to communicate easily throughout the month with any impromptu activities that can be organized by us or by individual families themselves. In general, we encourage families to plan individual activities through the first couple weeks and increase the number of group activities or with other families as the month continues so that the students bond first with their family. Our goal, is to make your job as a family as easy as possible.

Can the students travel to Canada or Mexico with our family?

Yes, but they need to fill out a permission form ahead of time from their parents. Contact your coordinator to get this document.

What do we need to do as a host family?

These volunteer teams of 8-10 host families are supervised and supported by a local coordinator. The Basque students spend most of their time with their host families, but throughout the month the coordinators plan several activities (of which 6 are required…which is a little more than 1 per week). During a later week of July most students attend camp (some students elect not to attend camp). Looking for more detailed information? Read some of the Frequently Asked Questions above.

Room and Board

We ask that there's a space for the student to call their own (a bed, desk or chair, and dresser for example), but it’s common for students to share a room with American siblings. Hosting a student also adds some extra expense for things like food, utilities and activities you may choose to do as a family. We ask that you treat the student like one of your own children throughout the month, but students will bring their own personal spending money and will have travel/medical insurance for the time they are with you.

Supervision

A parent or responsible teen must be with Basque student at all times. This often means that there is a stay-at-home parent but it can also work great to “team” with another family or single who your student can be with during the day if both parents work. Just because you're super busy doesn't mean you can't host. Sometimes, with a little bit of creative thinking, busy schedules can become the best experiences for the students.

Time Together

This is the best part of the month...spending time with your student. This helps your student practice English and helps you build a deep relationship. While there is no requirement of activities you must do with your student, the families that have had the best experience tend to be intentional about spending quality time together. So unleash your inner teenager and go to walk through the mall, go for a hike, go bowling, play board games, cook dinner together, have a barbecue and play cornhole, or even go to garage sales! Basically...live your normal life, but ensure the student has a good time and a variety of experiences in the USA.

Activities

There will be several required activities throughout the month that will be organized by your coordinator. There may be other activities that get planned impromptu throughout the month, but the pre-planned activities include the following: Orientation, Welcome BBQ, Water Activity, City Tour, Local Cultural Activity or Sporting Event, and a Farewell dinner. As a host family, you need to make every effort to at least help your student be able to participate in these activities.

What are the requirements to host?

Host families desire to share love with others, have the ability to graciously listen to different opinions and lovingly accept a broad range of people, take an extra effort to invite others in and make them feel welcome through conversation and togetherness and desire to sacrifice their time and skills for the sake of other people.  Our prayer is that this experience isn’t a one-time cross-cultural experience but what hopefully will become a long-term relationship with a Basque student and his/her extended family. With that in mind, host families need to have:

A bed and small space in your home for the student (like a dresser and chair or desk for instance)

A love for others, a hospitable heart and a willingness to relationally invest in your student throughout the month!

A gracious attitude and a global mindset that accepts cultural differences

An appropriate life stage: Actually...there is no ideal life stage; newly married, empty-nesters, or anywhere in between! Anyone, in any life stage, can apply to host.

Training: Participate in monthly meetings with other host families in your church. (April – June; there are two, 2-hour meetings)

An Application: Well...what are you waiting for? Get started filling out the application to host now!

Looking for more detailed information? Try our host family FAQ’s.

Still interested?

Please get in touch with us for more detailed information on our host family qualifications, and application process so that you or your church can host Basque students.