International Student Homestay Program

The International Student Homestay Program of Elgin Community College (ECC) provides a unique opportunity for full-time international students on an F-1 visa to reside in an American home as a family member while providing residents with the opportunity to host an international student and learn about a new culture. The goal of the program is to build bridges of cultural appreciation and promote global awareness and diversity.

Homestay placements begin no earlier than the weekend prior to the start of International New Student Orientation or the Intensive English Program testing. Homestay placements for the Spring 2023 semester are January 17 - May 20, 2023, and for the Fall 2023 semester, August 14 - December 16, 2023.


Elgin Community College welcomes a diverse population of international students and exchange visitors to its campus every semester. The presence of these students on campus contributes to the cultural diversity and global understanding within District 509.

The International Student Homestay Program provides a unique opportunity for international students to reside in an American home as a family member. The program promotes international friendship and cultural exchange values and provides students with a clean, safe, and welcoming atmosphere during their academic studies at ECC. A homestay provides international students with the opportunity to improve their English, meet new people, participate in events and outings, and have a positive academic and cultural experience while attending ECC.

It also provides the unique opportunity for local families to host an international student in their home through the ECC International Student Homestay Program. Welcoming an international student into your home will give you the reward of knowing you are helping an individual understand and adapt to a new culture. The program is designed to provide ECC international students with the opportunity to experience life as a college student while enjoying daily and personal interaction with a local American family.

What is a homestay?

A homestay offers students an opportunity to be fully immersed in American culture. The student lives with the host family for a predetermined amount of time, provided with meals and, if requested, transportation. The student pays the family a monthly homestay fee.

Why live with a host family?

Living with a host family allows international student to improve their English through daily interactions and experience American culture by participating in day-to-day activities.

Who is best suited for participating in a homestay?

International students on an F-1 visa who desire and appreciate a family environment and want to experience American culture first-hand are excellent candidates for living with a host family.

Who can host a student?

There is no such thing as a "typical" homestay family. The United States is a multicultural country with people from many different ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds. This diversity is reflected in the host families participating in the Elgin Community College International Student Homestay Program. As a public institution, ECC embraces and promotes this diversity and multiculturalism. The most important criteria for a host is a genuine interest in sharing American culture while providing a safe and caring home away from home for a student.

How to Apply

International students are encouraged to apply at least 60 days before their program start date. Learn more about how to request a homestay placement.

Host family applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Our highest numbers of requests for homestays are during the fall (August) and spring (January) semesters. Learn more about how to apply to be a host.