Exchange Programs and Host Families

Category: Published Articles
Date: Jul 20, 2018 06:04 PM
Exchange Programs and Host Families

This article was published in the July/August 2018 issue of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA)’s Net Assets Magazine.

The world is getting smaller and students are exploring it in greater numbers.  Exchange programs and stays with host families, once an oddity, are increasingly the norm.  As schools integrate these programs into their curriculum, families expect their children to participate in them.

Yet with travel and home stays comes inherent risk.  We have found that many schools participate in these programs without adequately preparing for them.  Students are sent abroad with little if any preparation, parents are not adequately informed of what the trip entails, and host families are not apprised of the expectations and requirements that accompany the host student.  Students often fail to consider relevant federal and state law.

Before sending students abroad or hosting a student, schools should at a minimum consider the following:

  • Is written information about the trip disseminated to parents?
  • Are parents able to ask questions about the trip?
  • How are students screened and approved for participation?
  • Does the school require waivers that have been reviewed by legal counsel?
  • Are chaperones trained for possible contingencies?
  • What are the standards for a host family and living accommodations both here and abroad?
  • When all else fails, do the school and host family have adequate insurance?

Exchange programs and stays with host families can be rewarding.  They can also result in accidents, misconduct, and liability.  Travel wisely.

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