Hosting will change you forever

Exchange students become part of your family

Sarah Jensen

Meet Sarah, your area administrator

When I was 12 years old, the whole trajectory of my life changed when my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Yokohama, Japan. Before meeting Mina I had never really given much thought to the way people lived outside of my neighborhood, and all I knew about life in other countries came from National Geographic. It never occurred to me that someone living in another country might have anything at all in common with me.

While Mina’s English skills left much to be desired, we were able to communicate, play games with each other and learn from each other. I learned that Japanese kids like the same things American kids do. They are not all perfect, and they do not all love to study. I learned that our cultures are different in many ways, but our similarities far surpassed our differences. And, most importantly, I learned that my entire worldview had to shift beyond my neighborhood because there was a big world out there for me to discover. I may not have realized that I was learning those things at the time, but I do know that my life was never the same after Mina left. I found myself asking more questions about the world and developing a passion for travel (a passion that I would not fulfill for a number of years, but nevertheless was there). My family continued hosting students after Mina, and my husband and I have been hosting in our home for years now, too. My love of travel has continued to grow, and every new country I visit, and every foreigner I come in contact with expands my worldview even more.

I am passionate about foreign exchange because I have seen what an impact it can have on people. Each student we host leaves behind pieces of themselves in our lives, and the world becomes a little smaller.

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 Sarah

Create long-lasting relationships that your family will have for the rest of your lives
When Randy and Sary-Jo decided to host Stefano from Italy, they were a bit apprehensive. They had hosted when their kids were younger, but as empty-nesters were worried that a teenage boy would be bored in their home. Their fears were quickly put to rest as Stefano and Randy bonded over their mutual love of baseball, and soon Stefano was calling them “mom” and “dad.” More than 10 years after Stefano lived with them, Randy was able to go to Italy to attend Stefano’s wedding. Stefano now has a son (Leonardo), and they frequently Facetime Leonardo’s American grandparents so Randy and Sary-Jo can continue to be a part of his life.

Shay was in high school when her family began hosting with CHI. After hosting a few students, Shay’s love of other cultures and languages deepened and she threw herself into intensive study of the Spanish language. After graduating from college, Shay moved to Europe to teach English. She met her husband, a Spanish national, while living in the Czech Republic and they now live in Spain permanently. Shay still gets visits from her Mexican sister Regina and they maintain a close relationship to this day.

Contact Sarah Directly

  • chisarah@chinet.org
  • (253) 590-7995

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