If you’re interested in becoming a host family, San Francisco is one of the best U.S. cities to welcome an exchange student. You’ve probably already gathered from living in the Bay Area that it’s a great place to be. Naturally beautiful, historically rich, and culturally diverse, there are so many things to love about the California town that was recently named the 10th happiest city in America by WalletHub.
In this article, we’ll cover why being a host family in San Francisco can be so beneficial, fun, and rewarding, including fresh ways to see and interact with students in this fabulous city. AmeriStudent homestay families provide international students with a real American experience during their college or high school exchange programs.
Benefits of Being a Host Family for International Students
Inviting an exchange student into your home can result in a one-of-kind experience that enriches the lives of everyone involved. Being a host family for international students is a great way to gain a new friend, share cultural experiences, and earn a monthly stipend.
Host families welcome students into their homes for up to an entire academic year. This is between nine and ten months, giving host families and their students the opportunity to forge a bond that often results in lifelong friendships.
To help form that bond we would recommend involving your student in your family’s day-to-day lives as much as possible. Sitting down together at the dinner table, providing them with familiar comforts, and getting them involved in family activities are a great place to begin creating that strong connection.
Your exchange student’s primary reason for staying with you is to learn. But we think you’ll quickly realize that host families for international students get an education as well.
Your exchange student will be immersed in American culture through your eyes. It’s a great way to share how your family lives and what the U.S. is like, specifically the unique culture within San Francisco.
You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about your student’s way of life. Whether it’s in their favorite meal, a memento from their home, or learning some phrases in each other’s languages, host families also have the rare opportunity to broaden their horizons and learn from their students.
Extra Monthly Income
AmeriStudent host families have the added bonus of a monthly stipend to compensate for any additional costs hosting an exchange student may bring. We offer one of the most generous payment schemes in the United States, providing families with up to $1,400 per month, depending on the length of your student's stay.
We encourage each of our host families to have the most enriching experience possible, we believe that a monthly stipend, to ensure there are no extra financial burdens (and provide a nice cash surplus), is important for you to be able to provide the best experience possible for your student.
Our stipends can be discussed in greater detail with one of our representatives, or check out our article ‘How to Make Money Hosting A Foreign Exchange Student’ for more information.
What Makes Being a Host Family in San Francisco Great?
As a host family, San Francisco is one of the best places in the world to welcome a foreign exchange student into your home. Whether you’ve lived here all your life or moved here recently, we’ll clue you into some of the amazing things this great city has to offer.
From world-famous attractions and delectable food to cutting-edge technology and cultural diversity, San Francisco has everything you could need right in your own backyard.
There are so many things to do in San Francisco for families, but possibly none quite as famous as seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Constructed in the 1930s, this iconic structure is rich in history. The larger-than-life 746-foot tall towers, undulating cables, and vibrant "International Orange" hue will give your students something to talk about.
Located in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island “reveals stories of American incarceration, justice, and our common humanity.” The National Park Service describes this small island as a former fort, military prison, and maximum security federal penitentiary. Arrive with your students by ferry and sign-up for a self-guided or staff-guided tour of Alcatraz.
A fun, convenient, and uniquely San Franciscan way to see the city that we think students will enjoy is catching a ride on the world-famous cable cars. Invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie in 1873, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) reveals “San Francisco's cable cars are one of two National Historic Streetcar Landmarks in operation.”
Amazing Parks & Nature
The weather in San Francisco is comfortable year-round. With temperatures consistently in the 60s and 70s, your student may want to venture outdoors and visit the city’s amazing parks, taking in its natural beauty.
Golden Gate Park houses a variety of different outdoor attractions and events in one single (and picturesque) location. This sprawling 1,017-acre park welcomes more than 13 million visitors annually, and it’s easy to see why. With gardens, lakes, picnic groves, trails, monuments, and more, international students will discover something new at every turn.
Step inside Golden Gate Park and hop on a Segway for a fun 2.5-hour narrated tour. You’ll learn trivia as you’re taken along major park attractions, as well as hidden gems. This eight-mile tour is perfect for visitors and residents alike!
Quite possibly the cutest natural attraction in San Francisco, the Sea Lion Center educates the public on how these adorable marine mammals ended up calling the K-Dock home. Spend some time enjoying the bay breeze and listening to sea lions’ playful barks before heading upstairs to see the exhibits.
Enjoy Food From Around the World
San Francisco Travel cites the city as having “3,489 places to eat, more per capita than any other major city in the United States.” With choices as vast and diverse as the people who call San Fran home, there’s no shortage of international food offerings.
Take a trip to Chinatown and immerse yourselves in Chinese culture and cuisine. The largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America, their restaurants are authentic and traditional.
Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant, located in Chinatown, is a great family-friendly dining spot. A unique way to enjoy familiar and fresh Chinese favorites cooked in a single, steamed clay pot, it’s sure to be a meal to remember. After dinner, swing by Dragon Papa Dessert for a taste of traditional handmade dragon beard candy.
With Latino roots and a hip, eclectic vibe, Mission District neighborhood is the go-to destination for enjoying Latin American cuisine. A delight for the senses, Loló is a family-owned, non-traditional restaurant that takes inspiration from Mexican and Californian flavors. Try the panko avocado taco for the best of both regions.
Be at the Cutting Edge of Technology
Nestled in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area is Silicon Valley. This hub of technology and innovation is where you’ll find some of the most recognized names in the tech and social media industries. Facebook, Apple, and Google are just a few of the hundreds of notable names headquartered there.
A must-see for students on our San Francisco exchange programs, you’ll be able to unleash your inner techie on a tour of the Intel Museum. Step inside the ultra-clean and highly automated silicon chip factory to learn about the little device from which Silicon Valley derived its name. Journey through decades of tech history and enjoy hands-on exhibits that are updated regularly.
A Vibrant & Diverse City
San Francisco has embraced diversity with “more than 30% of the population born outside of the U.S.,” the International Education Center believes this mix of cultures and stories has the ability to make anyone feel at home, including your exchange students.
A real example of San Francisco’s blend of rich cultures and the proud people representing them is the diversity of the town’s museums. The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco puts more than 2,000 artworks from all the major cultures of Asia on display.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates the diversity of the Jewish community by presenting “innovative exhibitions and programs that educate, challenge, and inspire” a modern audience.
The Museum of African Diaspora is a contemporary art museum celebrating the cultural heritage of the people of Africa and of African descent. The museum’s themes center around origin, movement, adaptation, and transformation.
You’ll also find many festivals throughout San Francisco. Chinese New Year, Carnaval, and the San Francisco Pride Parade are just a few of the ways your exchange student can experience the eclectic mix of folks that call San Francisco home.
Our Partner Schools in the Bay Area
AmeriStudent’s high school student exchange programs include only high-performing educational institutions. By partnering with high schools that offer rigorous college-prep programs, excellent athletic programs, and a wide range of extracurricular and student life activities, your exchange student will be able to meet their full potential.
San Francisco Christian School
A renowned international school in the Bay Area, San Francisco Christian School is operated as a ministry of Calvary Baptist Church. The school was founded to provide a Christian alternative to the "humanistic education" offered in other schools. All subjects are taught from a biblical worldview, encouraging a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In addition to academics, the school also has thriving athletic, music, art, and technology programs, as well as a chance for your student to give back through community service outreach.
Salesian Preparatory College
Salesian Preparatory College was named "Best Independent High School" by Parents' Press Magazine in 2019 and "Best Faith-Based High School" for six consecutive years. Nestled on a secluded and gated campus that’s as enriching as the curriculum, you’ll be pleased to hear of the attending students’ 100% college acceptance rate.
Salesian offers 20 AP and honors courses, more than 30 student clubs, an average class size of 24, four years of religious studies, and premium and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for their athletics programs.
Contra Costa Christian High School
Contra Costa Christian School has hosted students from China, Germany, the Philippines, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Brazil, and Columbia, making it a great choice for your international guest.
At Contra Costa Christian, their mission is to help students develop academically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually through the curriculum and extracurricular activities. They also offer a thriving performing arts program focused on developing students’ musical and theatrical skills.
Moreau Catholic High School
Moreau Catholic High School puts emphasis on modern learning and college preparatory programs, their tech-rich curriculum and wide variety of co-curricular activities gives your college-bound exchange student the tools they need to succeed.
Recognized as a Holy Cross school, Moreau Catholic is a “community of faith” that prepares their students “through academic, social and spiritual learning experiences that form and transform them as they become responsible citizens of our global community.”
Bishop O'Dowd High School
Community in diversity, social justice, strength of character, kinship with creation, joy, and academic excellence are the pillars of Bishop O’Dowd High School’s Christ-guided teachings. Named a Green Ribbon School, the curriculum's emphasis on sustainability will teach your exchange student how to create an environmentally sustainable world.
Technology is also an integral aspect of on-campus learning. Specialized school technologies, like the innovative platform “Schoology,” is an online portal for assignments, shared resources, and student-teacher collaborations that is best described as “an ongoing classroom snapshot.” Academics, advanced programs, electives, co-curricular activities, and athletics help to create a well-rounded experience.
Cardinal Newman High School
Cardinal Newman High School is a college preparatory institution with a mission to educate students in the wholeness of mind, body, and spirit.
Classes are designed to challenge and teach students to become life-long learners. In addition to rigorous academics, they also have a campus ministry, freshman, varsity, and junior varsity athletics, and a vibrant high school arts program. The school strives to “deliver the highest quality of music, fine art, drama, and dance training while nurturing each student’s unique gift of talent and creativity.”
Become a Host Family With AmeriStudent
With so many reasons to become a host family in San Francisco, we encourage you to get the ball rolling!
The initial application process takes around 15 minutes or less. Once you’re past the preliminary phase, there are just a few standard requirements that must be met in order to succeed as a host family, including necessary actions, like background checks and in-home visits.
All AmeriStudent host families have access to around-the-clock support, monthly visits to ensure everything is going smoothly, and a generous monthly stipend. Our staff are available 24/7 and ready to answer any questions you may have. You can rest assured knowing that we’ll be there with you every step of the way, up until your exchange student is on their flight back home.