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Host a Student
Mark's Homestay seeks friendly, flexible, and understanding hosts who will welcome international students into their home and serve as cultural ambassadors for the United States. We abide by industry standards and best practices in order to ensure a safe and culturally enriching experience for our students and hosts.
- Experience another culture
- 24/7 Emergency support
- No lease or contracts
- Lifelong friendships
- Earn monthly income
- Make a difference in a student's life
Mark's Homestay offers our students more than just a room to rent. We open doors to authentic cultural experiences that enrich the life of our students and hosts. Homestay hosts are the backbone our business. Our students desire safe and friendly hosts who provide a nurturing environment to learn English and the nuances of American culture.
We offer competitive host compenstation rates to cover expenses incurred by hosting students. If you enjoy meeting new people, learning about new cultures, and earning income, then hosting an international student is a perfect fit for you!
Hosting an international student is an easy 5-step process:
- Complete the host application.
- Activate your hosting profile account
- Schedule an onsite interview and home inspection. Mark's Homestay will review your application and schedule an onsite visit to inspect your home and interview you about hosting prospective students.
- Complete National Background Check. If approved to host, MH will conduct a national background check through a licensed provider on all adults in the household over 18 years old.
- Approve your student placement. If cleared by the background check, MH will carefully match you to a student based on your preferences and send you a detailed "bio" profile of your chosen student for approval. Once you approve, you can begin the pre-arrival cultural training and communication with your new international student.
Mark's Homestay provides generous host compensation rates for homestay hosts in order to offset costs incurred by hosting and provide a direct monetary benefit to our hosts. Mark's Homestay retains a small portion of the total monthly student homestay fee to cover administrative costs and provide support services for hosts and students. Homestay payments are automatically direct-deposited monthly into hosts' bank accounts within a few days of the guests' initial stay or continuing month.
The table below reflects the monthly host compensation rates after administrative fees based on the Meal Plan Choice the host is willing to offer and/or student chooses. A detailed description of each Meal Plan Choice is below the chart. We encourage hosts be flexible by offering our students a range of meal plans which allows us to more easily facilitate a student placement.
Mark's Homestay offers five host compensation plans based on several factors such as meal plan choice, location, and amenities. Below are standard host compensation rates, but your homestay rate my vary significantly. However, typically the rates below reflect the general host compensation rate paid to almost all hosts.
No Meals, Basic Breakfast, Dinner Only, 2 Meals, and Top Level*
Student responsible for all meals
Host provides grab-and-go breakfast
Host provides prepared dinner 5 times a week (Mon-Fri)
Host provides grab-and-go breakfast and prepared dinner 5 times a week (Mon-Fri)
Host provides breakfast & dinner 5 times a week, lunch & dinner on the weekend, transportation to/from school, and laundry services.
*Rates are subject to change without notice and may vary based on student meal plan choice and transportation plan.
*Mark's Homestay may pay hosts a higher rate for stays shorter than 4 weeks and requests for special arrangements or extra services provided by host family. Contact Mark's Homestay for more information.
*Students may not use all their weekly meals due to planned activities with their school or friends.
*Mark's Homestay cannot guarantee that the student will stay beyond the 30 days. If a student cancels or transfers homestay, host is not guaranteed host compensation.
Double Occupancy Rate (Shared Room/2 guests):
A host may offer a shared room to guests. Double occupancy is only available for two guests that know each other and are traveling together. Mark's Homestay provides guests a $100.00 discount for shared rooms. As a result, host compensation for a shared room will be $100.00 minus (-) the total standard host compensation rate based on Meal Plan Choice:
Example: "Dinner Only" = $650.00 per guest ($750.00 - $100.00)
The price listed above only applies during the dates the two guests occupy the same room. If one guests leaves, the price will be adjusted to the higher standard host compensation rate listed above.
Meal Plan Descriptions:
Students are expected to provide and prepare their own meals each day.
Host must provide a basic continental breakfast, which may include such items as cereal, oatmeal, fruits, and drink (coffee, tea, milk, juice, water, etc).
Host must provide a prepared in-house dinner 5 times a week (5 meals). Student is responsible for his or her breakfast and lunch and weekend meals.
Host must provide a basic grab-and-go continental breakfast as described above and prepare an in-house evening dinner for the student 5 times a week (10 meals, 5 days weekly. The student is expected to prepare his or her own lunch each day and meals on the weekend.
Host must provide a basic breakfast and prepared dinner 5 times a week Monday-Friday (10 meals) and lunch & dinner on the weekend (4 meals). Host must also provide extra services such as daily transportation to and from school and laundry service.
*Mark's Homestay prefers that hosts use their own vehicle to provide direct transportation to and from the student's school. However, hosts can meet the Top Level transportation requirement by providing transportation to or from a public transportation access point (bus or train), which has direct service to or from the students' school/homestay. Mark's Homestay must pre-approve this transportation option.
Homestay Host Guidelines
Student and Host Guidelines exist to ensure that both the student and host have a positive homestay experience and are based on industry best practices. These guidelines are not comprehensive, but are designed to provide parameters for maintaining a healthy living environment for both student and host. Hosts may institute more hosting guidelines, but must do so with the clear understanding by the student and Mark's Homestay, LLC. Host must consent to the policies, terms and conditions outlined by MH.
Homestay Guidelines for Host
- The owner of the Homestay (the "Host"), must provide a single private room for the student, visitor or roommate (the "Guest"), with a bed, closet space, dresser, lamp and stand, and a desk where he/she can study.
- Bathrooms may be shared, but Guest's privacy is to be respected at all times.
- Bedding-sheets, pillow(s), fresh towels and blankets are to be provided. Guest is expected to wash these items. Host is not under any obligation to permit Guest to use Host's washer and dryer.
- Host must provide Internet and Cable to the Guest at all times.
- A continental breakfast is to be made available if Guest purchases a meal plan. A meal plan may consist of items such as fruit, oatmeal, bread, and other snacks, including drinks such as coffee, juice, milk, and tea.
- Guest may buy food at his/her own expense. Refrigerator space is to be provided. Light cooking facilities and utensils are to be provided as needed.
- A key to the premises is to be provided so that Guest may come and go as he/she pleases.
- Host should always respect the religion and culture of the Guest. Host may invite Guest to participate in their religion, but may not pressure him or her to do so. The Host should always be willing to direct the student to his or hers religion's place of worship if required.
- Host must always speak English to Guest.
- All financial arrangements, and changes thereto, concerning extending Guest's stay, or with respect to any other charges whatsoever (telephone, meals etc.), must be made through Mark's Homestay, LLC.
HOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Below are the answers to many common questions potential hosts ask about hosting international students and visitors, whom are referred to as "guests" below. Mark's Homestay encourages you to review our Host and Student Guidelines, Policies, and Terms & Conditions for more details. If you have any addition questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About our Guests:
- Who participates in homestay?
The majority of Mark's Homestay (MH) guests are college students studying English at local language schools, colleges, or universities. Students choose homestay to improve their language skills and experience American culture. However, some of our guests already speak English fluently and simply want to live with an American family in a nice community while others use our service to secure safe, short-term housing during their program.
- How old are homestay participants?
Currently, Mark's Homestay (MH) is only taking applications for international college students or visitors over the age of 18 on student or tourist/business visas. MH verifies the identity, age, and immigration status of each guest by reviewing his or her passport and immigration documents upon arrival.
- Which countries do homestay guests come from?
We have guests from almost every country in the world. Since the majority of our clients are English language learners, our demographics often mirror the state and national trends for top countries of origin for students studying English in the USA. Commonly, we have guests from Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Taiwan.
- Can I request a homestay guest from a particular region or country?
Yes, but we encourage our guest to be open to all countries.
- Do you conduct background checks on the homestay guests?
No. Students and visitors go through a rigorous visa screening process with the U.S. Department of State through their country's Embassy, which involves an international background check prior to visa issuance. http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html.
- Who sponsors the guests on student visas?
Guests on student visas typically are sponsored by one the following entities:
- school, college, or university
- home country government or
- U.S. government
In order to obtain a student visas a students are required to show their host institution and the U.S. Embassy they have the money immediately available to cover the total estimated cost of attendance and living for 1 year in the U.S.
- What is the duration of a typical homestay?
Homestay duration may vary depending on the guests' program or purpose of visit. Many of our student guests request at least a semester (4-6 months) to one-year homestay. However, we do have shorter programs ranging from 2 weeks to 4 months. Regardless, hosts can choose their homestay duration based on their preference and availability. Of course, the more available you are for long-term hosting (6 months-1 year), the more likely MH can place a student with you due to the strong student demand for longer stays
- Can I do a homestay "trial run" for a semester or less?
Yes. You may also try a short-term "trial run" with the student for a semester and extend if you find you are a match! Again, the longer you are open to hosting, the more likely we can place a student with you.
Meal Plans & Extra Services
- Do I have to prepare meals for my guest every day of the week?
This depends on your meal plan choice. We have three basic meal plans you can choose to offer as a host-no meals, basic breakfast and 2 meals. Basic breakfast is a student-prepared "grab & go" style breakfast such as bagels, cereal, granola bars, coffee, tea, juice, etc. Our most requested student meal plan is "2 meals," which consists of a grab & go breakfast and 4 or 5 prepared evening meals Monday through Friday. Students must prepare their own lunch each day and all meals on the weekend. You may not have to prepare a meal 5 days a week since it is common for students to eat out with their friends in the evening or participate in other evening activities where food is served. Offering meals is a great opportunity to exchange culture and get to know your guest!
- Can I offer three meals during the week or a weekend meal plan?
Yes, we do have guests who request more meals during the week and on the weekend. MH will compensate you beyond the standard premium rate based on your offering and the guest's needs.
- What types of food do I have to cook?
Just prepare what you normally eat. Local cuisine is part of the unique cultural experience for our guests. However, we do want you to provide healthy meals to your guest. Mark's Homestay will provide you with information about your guest's special dietary restrictions due to health, medical, or religious reasons. Of course, we encourage all hosts to simply ask your guests about their diet and prepare foods accordingly, typically you do not have to change your diet much to accommodate.
- Can our homestay guest prepare a meal for our family?
Yes, from time-to-time. One of the best ways to bond with your homestay guest is by cooking together, or even asking the student if he or she wants to prepare a traditional meal from their own culture. Most students are excited to share in this experience, which may involve you helping them navigate our big supermarkets!
- Can I buy food from outside venders or restaurants to bring home for the student's prepared dinner?
Yes, but MH wants our hosts to refrain from buying prepared dinners regularly, especially if the food is "fast food." However, we do recognize that life happens and sometimes you need to bring home dinner and this is ok.
- Can I take them out to eat for one of their weekly meals?
Yes, but they should not be required to pay for the meal.
- If I provide more services such as laundry, transportation, or extra meals, will I receive higher compensation?
Yes, MH will work with the host to set a reasonable, but rewarding homestay fee based on the offered extra services. We really encourage our hosts to offer more services beyond our set homestay plan, but this is not a host requirement.
- Can I provide the guest an extra car for transportation?
Typically, we discourage hosts from buying or lending their guests a car for liability reasons. However, some of our hosts do allow guests limited use of their own personal vehicles. If you do, we encourage you to contact your car insurance provider to make sure you have the recommended insurance coverage and contact MH to inform us of the agreement. All guests are required to obtain a valid Georgia Driver's License and to inform Mark's Homestay if they are using their host's car.
- Do I have to drive the guest to his or her school or other places?
No. The student must provide his or her own transportation. However, we do encourage our host to help their guest get acquainted to American life by assisting with them with setting up banking accounts and other needed services. MH in some cases will compensate you at a higher homestay fee rate if you wish to provide weekly transportation to and from their place of study or visit.
- Do I have to pick up my guest from the airport?
No. We arrange airport pick-up for our guests via the homestay application.
- Do I need purchase additional insurance for my home to host a guest?
Maybe. Typically, most homeowners' insurance policies permit short-term "guests" or "tenants" and already provide adequate coverage for guests in case of fire, accident, damage, or unforeseen circumstances that lead to injury or loss of property. MH strongly encourages you to review and discuss your insurance policies with your provider to ensure adequate coverage.
- Should I require my guest to buy rental insurance?
Yes, if recommended by your insurance provider. MH encourages you first to discuss your homeowners' insurance policy with your provider. We do suggest that hosts require guests to buy renters' insurance, which is usually affordable ranging from $5-$15 monthly. Most renters' insurance policies will cover fire, storm, smoke, theft, water-damage, or other common loss types on and off your property.
- Do the guests have health insurance?
Yes. MH requires guests to purchase accident and sickness insurance or provide proof of private insurance. Most students are required by their visa status and college to obtain accident and sickness insurance. However, some guests obtain private insurance from their home country or local provider. MH ascertains insurance coverage information via the application and verifies it upon the guest's arrival as well as offers insurance through a local provider.
- What happens if the student is involved in an emergency or accident in my home or elsewhere?
If the emergency occurs in your house, first you should contact the proper emergency response authorities such as the police or fire station by dialing 911. Never transport a homestay guest in your own car for an emergency unless instructed to by police, fire, or medical authorities. After the proper authorities have been contacted, you should contact Mark's Homestay emergency support immediately. Student insurance covers most medical emergencies. MH will determine if the homestay arrangement can continue.
- What happens if a guest damages my property?
Although property damage is rare, Host should contact MH immediately if a Guest causes significant damage to your property. If the damage is the result of neglect by the student, MH may terminate the homestay agreement according to MH policies and terms & conditions. MH encourages host to ensure they have the proper insurance coverage for such damages as MH or the guest is not liable for any loss or damages guest's act or omission.
- Do I have to provide a key to my residence for the student?
Yes, providing your guests a key makes them feel welcomed and gives them the freedom to enter and leave your residence per our Homestay Guidelines.
- Can I host more than one student at once?
Yes, if you have the adequate space available and are willing to host. MH compensates for each guest, minus $100 from the standard or premium rate.
- Can I go out of town on business or vacation and leave the student home alone?
Yes, but with proper notification and approval by MH in advance. Many host families actually invite their guest on vacation with them. However, we understand that situations occur where the host may want to take a family vacation or need a brief leave of absence for business or a family emergency. MH requests you notify us of extended absences more than 3 days so we can check on the student more regularly. MH's formal policy is that the Host should not leave the Guest alone overnight at the homestay residence and that Hosts should notify MH of absences for more than 3 nights. The above policy is in place to avoid situations where a host "disappears" leaving the student to "house sit" and to ensure our guests have the true homestay experience.
- Who is your licensed national criminal background check provider?
HireSafe, (www.hiresafe.com) is a fully licensed national background check company that has been providing secure and confidential background checks since 1997.
- Do I have to provide my Social Security Number (SSN) to HireSafe for the criminal background check?
Yes, but HireSafe will send you a secure link and connection to their encrypted online system and application where you will enter basic information such as your name, DOB, and SSN. Mark's Homestay will never see your SSN, nor will we ask for it directly. Your SSN will be redacted from the final background check report. Please note that the background check is not a credit check.
- Do I have to pay taxes on the income earned?
Possibly. Mark's Homestay will provide each host a 1099-MISC for income earned over 600 dollars prior to January 31, 2014. However, you should consult an accountant to see if any tax liability exists.
Changes, Cancellations, and Terminations
- What happens if the homestay arrangement doesn't work out?
Although we do our best to make sure this doesn't happen, sometimes it simply doesn't work out. MH has established flexible, but consistent policies for various situations to govern changes, cancellations, and terminations. Please see our policy page for more details.
- Can I cancel my homestay agreement with Mark's Homestay if I decide I no longer wish to host students?
Yes, by providing written notice of your termination. If you are currently hosting a student, simply provide MH a 30-day written notice to terminate the homestay agreement. If you are not hosting currently, MH will terminate the agreement immediately upon receiving written notice.