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Interested in living with an American family while you study at ECC? Participating in the International Student Homestay Program is a great way to become immersed in American culture and make life-long friendships. Homestay is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so early applications are strongly encouraged.

Application Process

  1. Read, complete, and sign the ISHP Application for International Students - PDF. You may begin your homestay application online, or you can complete the paper application.
  2. Read and sign the ISHP Program Information, Policies, and Agreement for International Students. You may sign the agreement online, or you can sign the paper agreement.
  3. Submit a letter of introduction with a current photograph. 
  4. Apply online at, by email to, by fax to +1-847-214-7785, or by postal mail to:
    • Elgin Community College
      Center for Global Engagement
      1700 Spartan Drive
      Elgin, IL 60123-7193
      United States of America
  5. Once a homestay placement has been made, pay a one-time, non-refundable placement fee of USD 100.00 before arriving in the homestay. Payments can be made in person at ECC Student Accounts, online at, or via international bank wire through Flywire at (if the student is outside the U.S.).

The homestay application will only be processed once the ECC international office receives all the above materials and after you have been accepted into ECC as an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor. (ECC must be the sponsoring institution for J-1 exchange visitors. For questions regarding eligibility, please get in touch with the Homestay Coordinator. You should submit your homestay application agreement and required documents no later than 60 days prior to your arrival in the U.S. The International Student Home Stay Program does not guarantee a homestay placement. However, most students are matched with a host family if they submit their application by the application deadline. Applications for homestay placement received after the application deadline will be filled based on availability. 


Submit your homestay application, agreement, and placement at least 60 days before your arrival in the U.S.

Every homestay is required to provide Internet access, although wireless connectivity is not guaranteed.

Fees paid to the college:

  • The $100.00 USD placement fee is due once you have been issued a homestay placement and prior to arriving in the homestay.
  • The security deposit, equal to your monthly homestay fee, is due by 5:00 p.m. the business day following your arrival at the homestay. Security deposits can be paid online through AccessECC or at the Office of Student Accounts (in-person at Building B, Room B151, or by calling 1-847-214-7380.

Fees paid to the host:

  • Airport pick-up is due by 5:00 p.m. the day following your arrival at the homestay.
  • Your first month’s homestay and airport pick-up fees are due by 5:00 p.m. following your arrival at the homestay.

Monthly homestay fees are due on the first day of each subsequent month. All fees must be paid by cash, money order, or check drawn from a U.S. bank.

Family, friends, or agents that accompany you to the U.S. or come to visit you cannot stay with you overnight in your homestay. Please arrange for any family or friends to stay at a local hotel. The homestay coordinator can provide you with a list of local hotels. You should discuss with your host family the rules for family or friends to visit you at the homestay. Your host family will outline their guest policy in the homestay contract.

Please discuss vacation plans with your host family at least two weeks before departure. If you are away from the home for 14 nights or less, there is no discount for vacation. Your monthly fee will be reduced if you are away for 15 days or longer. For vacations longer than 30 days, approval needs to be given by the homestay coordinator.

The process to return the security deposit to you will occur no later than 30 days after you depart from the homestay program if the host family has reported no alleged damage. 

You will have access to laundry facilities. Please discuss with your host family the arrangements for using laundry facilities.

Indicate on your application if you have any pet allergies. The Homestay Coordinator will make every effort to place you in a homestay without pets.

Approximately four to six weeks before your arrival, you will receive the details of your assigned homestay and host family by email. You must respond promptly to this email to accept your assigned homestay placement. Questions? Contact the Homestay Coordinator by email or phone at +1-847-214-7722.


International Student Homestay Program

Building B, Room B105


Center for Global Engagement

Building B, Room B105

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