Host Families and Schools

Hosting a FLEX student can be a life-changing experience. You have the opportunity to bring the world into your family and to learn firsthand about other countries from their young people, including those with a disability. At the same time you also have the chance to teach about United States, and the culture and values of your community. Most students say that their host family is the most important part of this life-changing experience. While host families often find the experience to be profoundly gratifying, this type of person-to-person connection also serves the greater good by promoting goodwill and mutual understanding across countries and cultures. 

All FLEX applicants compete in three rigorous rounds of competition to be selected for the program, and are selected by trained evaluators based on their ability to adapt and thrive away from home in a new culture for a year. Over 30,000 students apply to FLEX each year, and approximately 800 scholarships are awarded. Whether you are a young family, retired, a single parent, empty-nesters or otherwise interested in bringing a part of the world to your home, click here to submit a hosting inquiry and learn more about this extraordinary opportunity. Here's what some host families and parents of students have to say about the experience:

I am very greatful to my host family for their active participation in my life and for their patience and willingness to help me explore American culture and traditions.

- Varvava, (from Russia, hosted in South Carolina)

One more time I realize, that no matter what nationality, skin color, or religion you have, the love you show others defines you. I fell in love with America because of Mariam's environment, family, and friends. Thanks to you all she had the best year if her life and as a mother, I'll be forever thankful for that.

- Eka, mother of FLEX participant from Georgia

People like Fred and Sue (host parents) deserve infinite respect and admiration. I would like to extend my gratitude to them and wish them all the very best in life.

– Ofelya, mother of FLEX participant from Armenia

We love our exchange daughter more than anything! What a life changing experience for all of us! And we've also gained a new amazing Georgian family.

– The Hoffmeisters, New Mexico

You know, it was wonderful for our kids grown up with these kids in our home. It has given them an education about the world that they never would have gotten otherwise.

 Karen K., host mother

Ours is a small, tight knit community located in the Adirondack Mountains.Vadim has been learning about and participating in our community events and giving people a better understanding of Russian life.  In addition to being a good academic student at school, he has participated on the school soccer team and has volunteered at a number of school and community events. We have had discussions on life in Russia and he is making public presentations on his home country. Vadim is getting a firsthand look at day to day life in rural New York State.  We see how important this program is in giving a better understanding across borders and hope that the FLEX program will continue to be supported by the State Department in the coming years.  

 Herb & Eileen, New York


The FLEX program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs