Become a Host Family

Hosting an International Student

Do you have a warm and loving family? Would you like to share your culture and experiences with others? Are you excited by the opportunity to have a young international student discover America through your eyes?  Invite an international student to stay with you for a year while they attend DeSales High School. The experience is enriching and rewarding for both the students and host family alike. You get to learn about different cultures and traditions while sharing your own.

As an interested host family you will participate in the selection of the student. By taking the time to learn about your home and habits, we will be able to help you select the best match for your family. Clear expectations and guidelines are determined prior to the student’s arrival so that the transition for your family and the student will be as smooth as possible.  You are supported throughout the international student’s tenure by the faculty and staff at DeSales, webinars on cultural issues, translation services, monthly check-ins, and organized events with other host families.

Participating families will receive a generous stipend, need to live within a 40 minute commute of DeSales, speak English at home, and ensure that the student eats three nutritious meals a day. Being able to involve the student in family events and activities enriches the experience for all involved. Attendance at school meetings to review the international student’s progress is required.


What Are the Responsibilities of the Host Family?

  • Providing 2-3 meals a day, including at least one hot meal
  • Ensuring that the student does his or her homework
  • Ensuring that the student arrives to school on time
  • Submitting monthly Residential Progress Report. These are only one-page in length and you are guided through with specific questions. You can work on these with the International Student Director.
  • Keeping in close contact with the International Student Director and informing her of any issues in or outside the home
  • Taking the student to all medical appointments and signing off on all treatment. Remember, the student will have his or her own medical insurance
  • Going to the pharmacy to pick up medication
  • Taking the student to outings to expose him or her to American culture, whenever possible. We will try to support these efforts by working with all the Host Families who are participating in this program
  • Attending relevant school meetings
  • Knowing where the student is at all times
  • Promptly reporting any mood changes or changes from normal behavior) e.g. not eating enough, eating too much, not sleeping, sleeping too much, etc.) to a contact person at the school. Your International Student Director should also be informed of changes like this
  • Provide all bedding
  • Each student should be provided with a dresser, desk for quiet study, personal bed, chair, lamp, place for personal belongings, and some private space. He or she should also have free access to a washer and dryer in the house
  • The student’s room must be in appropriate accommodations. A room in a basement is not typically considered appropriate residential accommodations.
  • If you plan on having two international students or have the student share a room with a same-sex child within the household, please let you International Student Director know as soon as possible. Some students prefer not to share a room

If you would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life while enriching your own, please contact Melissa Thiessen at

FAQs about DeSales’ International Student Program

All students who participate in the CIIE international program are interested in attending an American high school for an extended period of time, 3-4 years. These students are highly motivated to do well academically because their goal is to be accepted by an American university.

  1. Although the student is interested in spending several years at DeSales, we ask our host families to commit to just one academic year (approximately 10 months). The host family may participate as many years as they like, but we are only requesting one academic year.
  2. A stipend of $1,000 a month will be paid to the host family. The international student is expected to pay for the major and minor purchases outside of the normal daily care of the student. Please refer to section titled “What are the Responsibilities of the Host Family” for more detail on daily care of the student.
  3. Bank accounts will be set up prior to the student’s arrival so that medical costs, travel, and incidentals can be taken care of directly by the student.
  4. Travel times and vacation dates will be pre-determined so that pick up and drop off days and holiday plans may be made by both the host family and the student with as much ease as possible. (Usually the student will remain here in Walla Walla for Thanksgiving and Spring Break, but would return home or travel throughout the US accompanied by CIIE during the Christmas break and return home for the summer. Exceptions to this would be known ahead of time and agreed to by both the host family and the student’s parents.)
  5. Expectations of behavior will be outlined and explained to both the student and his/her parents and the host family. This will be an exchange on both ends. For example, home cooked meals several times a week by the host family and participation in household chores by the international student. Limited access to computers/internet and code of behavior as deemed acceptable by the host family, but not necessarily Sunday church attendance. Respect on both sides for the practicing religion of all families.
  6. Clear channels of communication with a response time of 24-48 hours depending on the concern between families.
  7. Expectation of full participation in DeSales’ academic, religious, athletic, extra-curricular, and community service school life. If exceptions are to be made, that needs to be discussed prior to the arrival of the student or semester that participation is anticipated. Usually the exception is in sports, because the international students’ parents request they put more study time into college preparation at the end of their Junior year and the beginning of their Senior year.
  8. Events that foster cultural exchange must take place several times throughout the course of the student’s stay in either a formal (school setting) or informal way (among the participating host families.) We will be partnering with Whitman College to facilitate this.
  9. Group activities among the host families to create a sense of community for them and the students in their charge.