Cultural Immersion Specialists
What compensation can I expect for hosting?
We have done some research in Midwest areas regarding host family stipends, and determined that $1000 per month seems to be more than a reasonable amount to cover the costs associated with welcoming a new household member. Our hope is that this amount would allow you to include the visiting student in anything you would do as a family (exceptions will certainly apply in some situations). We will issue 1099 Form to all hosts for filling with IRS. Stipend payments are considered non-employment income Nevertheless, because hosts must be able to prove the stipend money was spent on the student in order to avoid paying taxes on it, we recommend hosts keep track of spending in order to deduct from the taxable income the portion that was spent on providing care to the student. If you have further questions about the tax implications, please speak with a certified tax specialist.
What if my family is going on a vacation?
This is very situation dependent, but our expectation is that you would include the student in any family vacations that you take during the regular academic calendar. Exceptions would be the winter holidays, as most international students will go home for the winter break, and sometimes spring break as well. During the vacation, we expect that you would provide the student with anything you would have provided if you were at home (i.e. bed, meals, transportation at your destination), however, the student’s family would be expected to pay for anything beyond those expenses, such as airfare, attractions, souvenirs (anything of a personal nature).
What other items am I expected to provide?
You are expected to treat this child as your own in terms of personal care, comfort and school needs. This includes items which anyone in the household would use, such as towels, bed linens, toilet paper, bath soap, laundry soap and printer paper. Beyond the basic items shared by all family members, personal care items will be up to the student to provide for themselves (such as deodorant, toothpaste, specialized hair care products, personal school supplies, etc.)
To what extent am I expected to support this student's academic success?
We expect that you will take an active role in the student’s life much as you would your own child. Please act as a resource and support for homework as questions arise. However, if the student requires additional support beyond what you feel you are able to provide, please contact the Director of Host Family Services about alternative options for help. This includes attending parent teacher conferences and other teacher meetings regarding the student’s educational success.
Do international students have responsibilities?
Our international students are expected to adapt to the host families lifestyle and ground rules and to participate in family activities. Our students know that this program is not a trip or a tour, but an academic home stay that requires work and effort that will result in learning. Students are expected to help out with family chores.
Where are these students coming from?
At this point the majority of our international students come from China. We seem to have a strong word of mouth in China which precipitates many new students.
What if the student requires medical care?
You will be expected to provide any at home medical care needed by the student, and to seek whatever outside medical care they should need as necessary (including but not limited to: doctor visits, emergency room or urgent care). Students will have a Consent for Medical Care form and are required to have medical insurance. Families in China will be expected to reimburse you for any costs which are not covered by insurance but deemed necessary in an emergency situation.
Who is responsible for their transportation?
As the host family, you are responsible for getting the student to and from school for the academic day, as well as for after school activities, within reason. This will depend on student involvement in sports and other activities.
What happens if the student and family relationship does not work out?
If an our international student and host family have a misunderstanding, his or her local guardian will provide counsel and support with guidance from TAO. If a host family has an insurmountable difficulty or an unexpected change in family life, the local guardian and host family coordinator will arrange another placement for the student.
Can I host more than one student? Or join with another family to host together?
Absolutely! On the application it asks how many students you might be willing to accommodate. And if you'd like to join with another family and organize a shared event, that would be fantastic. Or just let us know that you are interested in team hosting, and we will find another family to join you.
Can young children benefit from hosting?
Many of our international students accepted into the program indicate an interest in being placed in host families with small children. As for your own children, their facility for learning a language is never greater than when they are young; and their interest, curiosity and acceptance of people different from themselves is strongest at a young age.
Can our international student drive while living here?
Our international students may NOT drive a car while on program. Time permitting, our international students may take driver's education and drive only the driver's education automobile.
Am I the international student's legal guardian?
No. Our international student's natural parents and Tao Group International remain legal guardians. Our international student's program takes legal responsibility for the international student during the course of the program. Each international student's Certificate of Health contains a medical release form so that Host Parents may secure medical treatment in the case of an emergency.
What kind of support will the host family get?
A professionally trained Local Representative will be assigned to work with your host family and our international student for the entire program. Your TAO Representative will contact you and your student monthly, offering advice and support. The local guardian and the Director of Host Families will maintain regular contact with your local high school and complete a monthly report, evaluating your our international student's progress in family life, academic achievement and social activity. Your local Representative, in turn, is supported by a team of dedicated program staff, available 24/7 in case of emergency.
How long is the our international student's stay?
Our yearlong international students arrive in August or September for a 10 month academic stay, returning home to their home country in May or June. Our semester international students come for a 5 month stay and either arrive in August and stay until January or arrive in January and stay until June.
How much does hosting cost?
Your financial responsibility is quite minimal. If you can afford food on the table, that's basically enough. Our international student's natural parents will pay for all travel costs, program fees and health insurance. They will also provide our international student with a monthly spending allowance used for school expenses, social activities, clothing and other essentials. You will get compensated from TAO as mentioned above under compensation.
My family isn't a "traditional" family, is it still possible to host?
Of course! Our host families come in all shapes and sizes. Host families may include single parent households, parents with adult children, families with small children and many other varieties.