Host Family Program
With 68% of our Upper School students boarding and 17% of those students being international students, the Westtown Host Family Program is an important element of our community. Host families at Westtown offer some home hospitality for boarders from afar and give the students an experience not just of American family life, but of the Westtown community as well.
In addition to the benefits to students who come from afar – including from around the world, hosting a student can be a life-changing experience for host families. The relationship allows families the opportunity to get to know another culture, foster authentic relationships and bonds, and even learn a new language. Just as each of our students is unique, so are the relationships that are the result of participating in the Westtown Host Family Program. Our host families share that they enjoy the experience very much, and many report that the relationships they built with their host students continue long past their graduation!
HOST FAMILY FAQ
What is the time commitment?
We ask host families to commit to hosting a new student during their first year at Westtown, at the end of which the family and student can decide about continuing their hosting relationship. There are no required hours or events. Westtown hosts events in the fall and the spring for all host families and students to create opportunities for families and students to connect and make plans. At these events, hosts will meet other international students and other host families, engaging in this diverse and remarkable cohort of the Westtown community.
Do host families house the student?
No. You are welcome to invite your host student to stay with you over a weekend or part or the entirety of a school break, but these are not expectations of being a host family. Most host families tend to enjoy occasional meals with their students or take them on day outings to introduce them to the local area.
What if we are not always home for the holidays — can we still be a host family?
Yes. Host families are not expected to house students over school breaks.
Do we need to be fluent in the language of our host student?
Westtown students are proficient in English and will be able to communicate easily with their host families.
Can we take our host student with us on family trips? (Day or overnight)
Yes, you are welcome to take your students on trips as long as you communicate in advance with the Upper School Office.
What don’t host families do?
Host families do not serve as parents, supervisors, advisors, coaches or in loco parentis. The school’s staff oversees the welfare of each boarding student. The international student coordinators, health center, learning center, dorm and academic teachers all work together to support the needs of our international students.
Do host families meet students’ parents?
If the students come with their parents at the beginning of the year or if the parents come to visit the student at some point, and the opportunity arises, hosts are welcome to meet the parents of their host student. There is no expectation to ensure a meeting. If you are interested in meeting your host student’s parents, you can ask your student to connect you with their parents via Zoom.
What do host students expect of their host families?
The students are looking for someone who can provide connection, a welcoming presence, and local support. As a host, you can decide the time commitment. We only ask that you act as one more layer of support for the student and enjoy the experience!