Hosting will change you forever

Exchange students become part of your family

Blayne Matty

Meet Blayne, your area administrator

When I was 14, I grabbed the tab of a poster hanging in our local library looking for host families and brought it home to my parents. That act was the first step in what has become a lifetime interest in and engagement with international exchange. Shortly after, my parents, brother and I started hosting exchange student, both short term and long term. Then I became an exchange student, first for a summer in Belgium, where my 16 year old vegetarian self had an amazing experience living with a family on a beef farm. Then in Argentina, a 10-month experience that changed me forever. As an adult, it felt important to me that my own children had these life-changing experiences. As a result, we started hosting when my boys were just 2 and 4 years old. They have grown up around exchange students and are the better for it. I hope they too will find the courage to be exchange students when they are old enough.

I genuinely believe that international exchange is crucial to our world and to our individual lives. It gives us perspective that not only helps us to understand our world and the needs and hopes of others, but to see ourselves differently. For over a decade I have been working with CHI to help both students and families make meaningful experiences through exchange. I feel so fortunate to have met and gotten to know so many amazing and generous families, many of whom I now count as friends. I keep in touch with students all over the world who carry a piece of New England in their hearts as a result of their semester or year here. I think of all of these amazing individuals as part of a growing world family. I believe that collectively we can impact the world in our tolerance and understanding of one another.

Why host an exchange student?

Hosting is a unique experience for your entire family

One of the most memorable experiences of your life

Your children will have a brother or sister abroad for life

Positively impact your family and your community

Make a young person’s dream of living in America come true

Learn and cherish new cultures from the convenience of your home

Choose a student who will best fit into your family and lifestyle

CHI's Support Network Near You

Why CHI?

What makes our program special is the emphasis on connection and cultural exchange. CHI strongly believes in the power of the homestay experience to promote trust and understanding among nations and to build a more peaceful world.

We also truly care about your experience. Our national field staff provides a strong network of daily support for families and students. They are knowledgeable and experienced, and they work to supervise your program with efficiency, patience, and enthusiasm.

Join over
1 million people
who had their lives changed meaningfully!
Let your life-changing experience begin

Hosting Stories from Blayne

Create long-lasting relationships that your family will have for the rest of your lives
I sometimes say that some families could host any student, some students could live with any host family, but most need the right match. When a student and their host family “click” it can be transformative for both.

Ege, from Turkey, arrived into our family when my children had just turned 2 and 4. I felt like a hero because I got both kids in the car in time to pick him up at the airport. In his application, Ege said he was willing to live with young children. As it turned out, Ege had never been around children. At first, Ege wouldn’t speak to my kids for fear of teaching them “bad English.” But over the course of 10 months, what started out as our biggest challenge turned into the most rewarding part of hosting. I watched Ege playing Legos on the floor with my 4 year old, or chasing my 2-year old around the yard playfully, and marveled at how far we had come. That was nearly 10 years ago. After his departure, we took our children to Turkey when they were 4 and 6, their first time leaving the country. Ege continues to be part of our lives. He is engaged to be married and all of us look forward to being part of his wedding.

When Tonkla, from Thailand, arrived to the Mangs family in rural New Hampshire, it was more different than he could have ever imagined from his home in the bustling city of Bangkok. It was cold, very cold, and his host family had a milking cow on their farm. While Tonkla tried milking the cow, he didn’t really find farm life to be his thing. However, his host mom Nancy saw that Tonkla was a special kid. She nurtured his interests in graphic design and movie-making, helping him find classes at school that would have never been available to him at home, in a much more regimented school system. Tonkla’s confidence grew immeasurably over the ten months that he lived with Nancy and her family, as he learned about strengths and passions he hadn’t even known he had. Nancy saw the incredible impact this experience had on Tonkla and he became the first of many students that she and her husband hosted.

Nick, an only child in a seaside town in Maine, was in middle school when his family hosted a Japanese student for five days through his school. His parents saw the impact that the experience had on Nick, who was very quiet. They decided hosting for a longer period of time might be a good experience for their family, but especially Nick. Nick was hesitant. He worried that he might not like the student. Enter Antoine from Belgium. Antoine is gregarious and fun, and immediately took Nick under his wing. He and Nick quickly formed a close bond that continues to this day. His family has hosted two more exchange students and now, as a high school student, Nick and his family plan to visit Belgium.

After more than a decade working with students and families (hundreds!), there are just too many examples of the ways that these person-to-person exchanges change lives. All sorts of families have found hosting to be meaningful, from families like ours with young kids, to empty-nesters, to homes already teeming with teen life, to single individuals who’ve never parented before. Let your transformational experience begin!

Contact Blayne Directly

  • chiblayne@chinet.org
  • (207) 752-2070

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