Hosting FAQs

Who can be a host family?

YFU New Zealand host families come in all shapes and sizes: couples with teenagers, couples with primary school age children, single parents with or without children at home, empty nesters, or single men and women without children. All you need is to do is open you home and hearts to your exchange student and provide them with accommodation, love and guidance and the experience of what everyday life is like in New Zealand. Families can be located anywhere in New Zealand from North to South, city to town, to rural properties as long as the student will be able to embrace the Kiwi lifestyle.  Hosting is lots of fun and is very rewarding.

Will your YFU exchange student speak English?

All YFU students to New Zealand have studied English- in fact they are required to pass an English proficiency test before being accepted into the program by the YFU partner organisation in their home country. Initially they may need some help and patience until they adjust to Kiwi English with its colloquial sayings and particular pronunciation of words.

How long do exchange students stay with our family?

YFU Exchange students come on a range of programs which range in length from 2 to 10 months.

Where will your YFU student attend school?

Your YFU exchange student will usually attend your local government high school. They are required to attend school full time. A YFU local coordinator will arrange the initial enrolment but may seek your assistance in finalising the student’s enrolment before and after the student arrives.

How are YFU students selected for our exchange programs?

Our students come from over 50 counties around the world and must be 15 to 18 years old. YFU is a world wide organisation with internationally agreed criteria for the selection of exchange students. These include, maturity, flexibility, level of confidence, ability to communicate, and academic ability. Students are interviewed by trained YFU coordinators or staff members, a teacher’s evaluation is requested and transcripts sought form the student’s school.

Our students must have a full medical examination before coming on exchange. They complete a detailed application and undergo an interview as to their maturity, sensibility and motivation for exchange. The student‘s application is then reviewed by YFU staff and the final selection process considers all the information submitted about the student.

How do we choose a YFU student to host?

YFU New Zealand will provide you with basic student profiles which have details of the student’s family background, interests and activities on a biography sheet, or you may view them on the website.  Families may request the letter and photos of the students that they are particularly interested in hosting through the national office.  YFU New Zealand will not simply place a student with a family, but rather works with the family and considers the hosting preferences to help the family select a student that will be a good fit withing their family.

What are our responsibilities as a host family?

All you need is to do is open you home and hearts to your exchange student and provide them with accommodation and 3 meals a day, love, guidance and support as you would for your own children so that the exchange student experiences what everyday life is like in New Zealand.

Will our exchange student need their own room?

YFU New Zealand does not require host families to provide their exchange student with a separate bedroom. The YFU exchange student may share a bedroom. All host parents need to provide in terms of accommodation is a bed and a study area and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

What are the YFU exchange student’s personal and financial responsibilities?

YFU exchanges are not only about travel or formal study in another country, they are also about learning to live comfortably with a New Zealand family.  That means sharing the pleasures, the interests, the chores and the tasks experienced by all families.  This also means that the exchange student takes on the responsibilities of a family member and enjoys the privileges of belonging to a family such as doing chores or participating in day to day family tasks such as shopping excursions.

YFU students to New Zealand will have their own spending money. We advise them to have access to approximately $300 per month while in New Zealand. They will use these funds to purchase personal items and meet any on-going school expenses such as for uniforms, subject fees, text books or bus fare.  YFU students are aware that they are also responsible for all personal phone call costs and if required internet costs. Their natural parents sign a declaration as part of the student’s visa application indicating that they will financially support the student while on exchange.

What insurance do the students have?

All YFU exchange students are insured for comprehensive travel, liability and medical insurance.

What support will we get from YFU?

YFU New Zealand will provide all new host families with a host family orientation briefing and a host family handbook before the student arrives on the exchange. We will have a YFU trained local volunteer support person or family to support you and your exchange student during the exchange period. In addition the YFU staff members are available 24 hours a day on a mobile phone in case of emergencies.

What happens if we have problems while hosting?

YFU New Zealand has a support network of community coordinators all over New Zealand which include both trained local support people as well as highly experienced office staff and, if required, professional counsellors who will do their best to help you and your student resolve any difficult situations that arise during the exchange. If there are difficulties that cannot be resolved YFU New Zealand will arrange a change of host family.

Can we host for periods shorter than two months?

Yes, your family can host a student for shorter periods. YFU maintains a list of families who can provide:

  • Holiday Hosting for students wishing to visit another city or town during their school holidays. This type of hosting usually ranges from 2 to 3 days up to 2 weeks. It allows families to try hosting for a short time and gives the exchange student an opportunity to see another part of New Zealand while they are here
  • Welcome hosting for students arriving to New Zealand who need to wait a short time before they can go to their permanent host family. This type of hosting can range from a few days to 8 weeks.

Do you want to learn more about hosting a YFU student?

Please call us on 0800 833 624 (free call) New Zealand to receive more information or send an enquiry.