Study in an Individual Homestay

Live and experience the US by traveling solo and living with a host family
  • Overview

    Are you interested in an international program that focuses exclusively on American culture and home life, while greatly improving English language skills, the Individual Homestay Program (IHP) is the right choice.

    Individual teens and adults (15 and older) become members of an American family and get to know U.S. culture firsthand through a true immersion experience. Participants are placed with a carefully-screened, volunteer host family that provides a safe environment. This program is suitable for mature participants who are comfortable traveling to the host community on their own and having unstructured time throughout their stay. Programs may be two to eight weeks in length.

    You should be prepared to spend quality time with their host families, partaking in family activities and eating meals in the home. How fun!

  • Participant Requirements

    Participant Requirements:

    • Must be at least 15 years old and mature enough to feel comfortable traveling alone
    • Able to communicate in English at a conversational level
    • Display a genuine interest in English language and American culture
    • Willing to become a member of an American family
    • Agree to accept the host family assigned to them by Greenheart Exchange
    • Must be enrolled in a medical and accident travel insurance policy
    • Sign and abide by the Greenheart Exchange Conditions of Participation
  • What's Included

    What is Included?

    • Room and board with volunteer American host families
    • Transfer to and from nearest airport
    • Support letter for tourist visa (if required)
    • Certificate of completion, upon request
    • Support of a Greenheart Exchange Local Coordinator

    What Is Not Included?

    • Airfare
    • Accident and medical insurance (may be added at an additional cost)
    • Meals and entertainment outside of the host family home
    • Pocket money for personal expenses
    • Optional activities or program add-ons
  • Program Options

    High School Visit

    Sample the American high school experience! Three to five days per week, participants observe classes at a school in their host community. This program is not available in Alaska, California, or Hawaii, and is for a maximum of four weeks, between September and May.

    Language Buddy

    Share your own culture and language with your host family! During the program, international participants will set aside three to five hours each week to tutor a host family member in their native language. Participants must be at least 18 years old or this program, and can also extend the program for up to 12 weeks.


    Make a difference while practicing your English and making American friends! Participate in a volunteer experience with environmental, humanitarian, or educational organizations while living with an American host family.

  • Destinations

    Our Independent Homestay program is available throughout the U.S., and participants are placed in one of three regions of their choice. Request fulfillment is based on availability.

    For an additional fee, participants may choose just one destination region, or the guarantee of a placement in a home with a teenager (for teen participants only).

    You may select your top three regions from our regional map.

  • FAQs

    What month does the Individual Homestay Program (IHP) begin?

    We place IHP participants throughout the year.

    Note: participants whose program includes the last two weeks of December through the first few days of January must be very open to location because of the difficulty in finding host families over this holiday period. High school visit IHPs generally must come between September and November, or January – April.

    How long are IHP programs?

    2 – 8 weeks. (High School visit programs are offered for 2 to 4 weeks.)

    What are the types of IHP programs?
    • Standard: Includes placement with a screened host family and support of local coordinator
    • Volunteer: Standard plus participant volunteers 5-15+ hours a week in host community
    • Language Buddy: Standard plus participant tutors host family member 5 hours per week (program discounted slightly in exchange)
    • School Visits: Standard plus student attends high school classes, shadowing host sibling or other high school student 3+ days per week.
    What do participants do while on the program?

    Participants on this program spend time doing everyday activities with their host family as well as spending time on their own. It is important participants on this program are mature enough to feel comfortable having unstructured time during the day and times when they may be on their own.

    It should be emphasized that the program is not a tourist program, but an opportunity to get to know American culture and improve English skills by participating and observing Americans in their daily life. The host family and local coordinator is encouraged to introduce the participant to family, friends and neighbors who can provide additional opportunities for interaction. Note that those who choose the volunteer or school visit options listed above will also spend time doing those components.

    Will the host family have children?

    Not necessarily. Greenheart works with various types of families including single parents, couples without children and other family make ups. For us the most important aspect of a family is that they provide a safe and welcoming home. Oftentimes our most successful placements are with hosts outside of the typical family structure.

    Note: for an extra fee a teenage participant can choose to have the guarantee of a teenager in the home.

    Can participants choose the location of their IHP program?

    Participants are required to select 3 regions in order of preference and we do our best to accommodate. Please refer to the regional destination map.

    For an extra fee participants may be guaranteed a placement in one region.

    Note: the vast majority of our host families live in suburbs or rural areas outside of major cities.

    What is the age requirement for IHP programs?


    What is the application deadline for IHP programs?

    The application deadline for each country varies. Please reach out to a sending partner in your home country for the timeline in your area.

    How much do IHP programs cost?

    The cost for this program varies by country. Please reach out to a sending partner in your home country to learn about the costs for your area.

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