We seek to create space through Open Rooms where Americans make room for a student to live with them for a semester or more, allowing the student to improve their English through meaningful conversation during every-day life. Students are given their own furnished bedroom and have the option of joining their hosts for one meal each day. They pay rent for their accommodations making this a viable option for many individuals and families. The rent is determined by the proximity of the home to local colleges and public transportation. Typically, arrangements are made on a semester by semester basis. See below for more information on how the best match is made.
Click HERE if you are a student interested in living with an American family for a semester or more
Click HERE if you are a family interested in hosting a student for a semester or more
Finding the Right Home
Every attempt is made to match students with the best possible homestay. We take a number of steps to ensure that a student and family are a match.
A First Step:
If you are interested in renting out a room to a student or a student interested in living with a family, we highly recommend you participate in an Open Table event where you will get the chance to interact with those from a different culture. If you are interested in moving forward with homestay, complete the online application for Open Rooms. We will contact you and set-up a time to meet with you personally. Since every student and family are different, we cannot guarantee that we can provide every student with a home nor every family with a student. If we believe we can play a role in connecting you, we will take the following steps.
The First Meeting:
If possible, the student will be invited to dinner with the family to meet them in person, see the home, and ask important questions. This also gives the host family a chance to determine whether the student will fit well with their family. If the student is out of the country, social media such as Skype can be used. During this conversation it is important to discuss expectations, including the following:
- Does the family have pets?
- How often does the family eat dinner together and at what time?
- What are the student’s dietary restrictions?
- What is the positions on drinking alcohol?
- Does the family require a curfew? Would they like to be notified about when the student will be getting home at night?
- What is the host family’s typical evening and weekend schedule? How often are they available to speak English?
- What do they expect will be the most convenient times to spend time together, i.e. over dinner, while cleaning up the kitchen, spending time in the living room, accompanying them on errands etc.
After this initial conversation, we will contact both the student and the family to find out if they would like to move forward with the homestay. If so, a move-in date will be determined.
The First Month:
Once the student moves into the home, the first month is considered a trial period. The family and the student get a chance to know each other better and learn to share the same space. Of course, there will be cultural differences which can be fun and require communication. Asking lots of questions of each other will help this transition go smoothly. At the end of the month, we will check-in with the student and the family to ensure that they would like to continue the arrangement. Either can opt-out at any time, though the first months rent will not be returned.
The First Semester:
If the homestay experience is going well, the student can plan to continue living in the home for one semester unless a longer period has been determined. Near the end of the semester, the student and family can discuss whether the homestay will continue longer depending on the needs of the family and the student and discuss their plans with Sojourn.
During this entire experience, we will be available to help navigate through this exciting cross-cultural experience!