Host Family – Amity Intern FAQ

Host Family Information

Host Family Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Amity Institute?

Amity is a nonprofit organization that builds international friendship and cultural understanding through teaching exchange. Founded in 1962, the Intern program is based on the belief that language learning and cultural exchange are essential to building international friendship within our global community. Interns are here to bring their languages and cultures to life, to engage and motivate students and leave them with new confidence in their ability to communicate across borders

Who are Interns?

Interns are single and between the ages of 20 and 30. They are students or graduates of institutions of higher education in their home countries. Most Interns have teaching experience and have worked with youth. The personal qualities we seek in Interns are friendliness, openness, maturity, adaptability, motivation, and enthusiasm.

How long will an Intern stay with our family?

Interns will stay with a Host Family for a minimum of nine weeks. Interns can stay longer and Host Family assignments vary from school to school.

What will it cost?

Our Host Families provide free room and board to the Intern. Costs will include food, utilities, and minor incidental expenses.

Has my Intern had a security or police background check?

Yes. All Interns must submit a police or security background from their home country. Interns are also screened as part of the visa interview at the embassy.

What should we expect of our Intern?

  • Become a part of the family
  • Help with household chores
  • Do their own laundry
  • Follow house rules
  • Adjust to the Host Family's schedule
  • Participate in family activities if invited
  • Prepare a meal from their home country on occasion
  • Keep the Host Family informed of their plans
  • Live with more than one family
  • Take the initiative to spend time with the family
  • Share their culture
  • Build a relationship with the Host Brother/Sister

What happens if my Intern gets sick?

Your Intern must have health insurance throughout the entire time they are in the US. Many Interns use a health provider offered by Trawick. If your Intern gets sick or is need of medical attention, they should go to a local doctor or the local emergency room which accepts their health insurance. If your intern holds a Trawick policy there is a one-time deductible of $100 paid at their first visit. He/she will need to find out the correct procedure to schedule appointments and use their insurance policy.

Can the Intern act as a babysitter?

Interns should not be expected to act as a nanny or full-time babysitter and should not be expected to perform au pair duties, house sitting, or housework beyond that of other family members.

Can the Intern use the family car?

Amity does not encourage interns to drive during their assignment. However, if the host family allows the use of a vehicle the Intern should only be permitted to drive if he/she holds a valid driver's license. Interns may not drive their Host Family's car, unless a prior written agreement has been signed and returned to Amity.

Interns who choose to drive a vehicle in the US are solely responsible for their own actions. Neither Amity nor the Host School will pay for any damages.

Who can I contact if there is a problem?

Your Amity Program Counselor is always available to assist you. Program Counselors work directly with Interns, Host Schools and Host Families to facilitate the Intern's assignment. You will be able to reach your Program Counselor by phone or email.

What can I do to make sure that our experience is successful?

Clear, positive communication is the key to success. Please do not assume that your Intern understands your expectations unless you have taken an opportunity to discuss them directly.

What should we do if my Intern asks us to help him/her to stay longer in the US?

Our main goal is for our Interns to share what they learned in the US with students in their home countries. All Interns are required to return home at the end of their assignments. If you have any concerns or questions about this matter, please contact Amity immediately.

What are the benefits to hosting an Intern?

This experience will allow your family to develop a meaningful relationship with someone from another culture. Interns will interact with your family, friends, and neighbors thus creating international friendships and cultural understanding on a local level. Your memories will last a lifetime. By opening your home you will create an unforgettable experience for your Amity Intern allowing him or her to see the best that US culture has to offer. The Intern program also allows you to support your local school and help to create a rich, engaging foreign language program. By volunteering your home, you are allowing many students to benefit from having an Amity Intern. Finally, hosting an Intern allows you to learn about yourself and your culture and see the US through the eyes of an international visitor, creating an invaluable educational experience for yourself and your family.

Host Families Information

  • In our experience, Amities mostly come here to:
    • Improve their English
    • Bolster their resumes
    • Gain work experience
    • Travel the US
  • Remember, your Amity is supposed to be a member of your family and not a guest, so treat them as you would an adult child of yours. You can certainly expect them to follow whatever house rules you would enforce for your own kids.
  • It is better to list all of your expectations and house rules up front when they arrive, and let things get looser as time goes on. It is hard to bring up expectations later.
  • If you want your Amity to do jobs around the house, you need to be very specific. Many have come from cultures where they are not expected to do jobs-either they have hired help or their parents do it.
  • Amities can become very social and may not come home until late at night. In many Spanish-speaking cultures, the evening doesn't even begin until 11pm! Don't hesitate to ask them to let you know when they will be home and the approximate area that they will be in. Host parents worry too!
  • Amities usually develop friendships fairly quickly and will be out doing things with their friends. Each family needs to identify and specify up front, specific times they would like their Amity to take part in family activities. Be very specific about when you want them at your house for things such as meals, family gatherings, vacations, etc. Expect them to be there for more than just eating and sleeping as if they were at a hotel. Remember, though, that they do need to have some free time.
  • You are responsible for making arrangements to get your Amity to and from school, which includes when they are working "0" period (early drop-off) at Cunha. This could mean providing a bike if you live close enough, helping them with the city bus schedule, or arranging a ride with a neighbor.
  • Help Amities find rides for their personal activities. Reach out to your network.
  • As you would hope for your own child living abroad with another family, help them to experience as much as they can while they are here. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. If they have the opportunity to travel, encourage it!
  • If you are expecting cultural exchange you need to be proactive about asking questions and having discussions. It doesn't always happen automatically.
  • The bond your family forms with your Amity may be more than you hoped for, and we certainly hope this is the case. It may be, though, that the bond is less than you expected. You need to establish an environment of compromise and communication by both parties. They are young adults and should be treated at such. Be flexible and work together.
  • If you would like to use your Amity for babysitting or tutoring you need to pay them the Amity rate of $15/hour for babysitting or $20/hour for tutoring. Times need to be mutually agreed upon, and the Amity has the right to refuse this work if he/she chooses.
  • Please help your Amity set up a bank account and get a cell phone. Go to Wells Fargo in Half Moon Bay and let them know you are part of the Hatch Amity program and are there to set up an account. Be aware that the debit cards allow them to withdraw money out of their account even if they have a $0 balance, and they will receive a fee if this happens. Explain this concept to them. For the cell phones, Amities in the past have found cheap phones and minutes that they can purchase at CVS.
  • This is a social media generation. Don't be shocked when they are on electronic devices A LOT. Set parameters (not at dinner table, etc), but recognize that this is how their generation communicates with their family and friends while in this country.
  • If they are going to be driving/riding in a car with other Amities, you might want to just remind them about no drinking and driving, and no texting while driving. If it is something you would talk with your own adult child about, feel free to talk to your Amity about it as well.

Why do you host?

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Family Expectations

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Some examples of why you host might be:

  • Help the school
  • Speak Spanish to your children
  • Learn about a different culture
  • Pay Amity to tutor the children at home if they are agreeable
  • Pay Amity to babysit if they are agreeable

Some examples of family expectations might be:

  • No bringing friends to spend the night
  • You are welcome to bring friends over any time you wish, just let us know ahead
  • Please inform us of your general plans during your free time (especially in the beginning-we worry) - you are free to go where you want but please let us know
  • Keep your room and bathroom clean
  • No smoking
  • No illegal activities, no drugs
  • If you are planning to eat at home with your family you are expected to help with the preparation and clean up of the meal
  • Please clean all your dishes after your meals
  • Please speak Spanish to the kids
  • Please vacuum the downstairs each weekend
  • Please cook for the family once/month
  • Call if you aren't coming home
  • We expect that you will be here in the evenings unless you tell us otherwise
  • This is not a hotel - take part in family activities. For example, .......