The John Bapst Homestay Program is designed for international students who would like the experience of living with a John Bapst family – in most cases, a faculty member or parents of a local student. Most of our international students choose to live in one of the seven residence halls near the school. Others will choose the Homestay Program for the chance to experience American family life.
John Bapst is always recruiting new families for its Homestay Program. International students became a part of the John Bapst community in 2011; this year 20 students from a number of countries live with local families.
Homestay families offer international students a unique window into culture and a time-tested means of improving language skills. To an international student, your family’s approach to daily living is both a cultural introduction and an English language immersion experience.
For homestay families, working with international students is an education as well. Whether from the dinner table or through informal interaction, your family will learn things first-hand that will broaden your own perspectives on the world.
Requirements of the Program
Homestay families play the role of parents during the school year. Food, transportation, and the other logistics that go with parenting are all predictable needs of young people. It’s important that homestay parents be open to the needs of teenagers: providing help with homework, advice about what to wear or how to make friends, guidance about working with teachers and coaches, etc.
It is not a requirement that the homestay family be a John Bapst family – in other words, the family of a current or past John Bapst student or a faculty or staff member are welcome to participate. Families who know the school do transition well as they act as liaison between the student and the school; families who live near school usually find fewer transportation challenges.
Similarly, while international experience of your own is not required, sensitivity to the needs of people from other cultures is important. To use just one example, while you’ll have fun introducing certain foods to your homestay student, it is quite difficult for almost anyone to completely change his or her diet. Mixing foods from the student’s home culture with your own is a big help with the overall transition to a new country and a new culture.
The school requires that your family be able to offer privacy and safety. Homestay students expect a room of their own in your home. To ensure safety, a John Bapst administrator will arrange with you for a visit to your home. When we recruit overseas, we assure families that we can guarantee comfortable homestay accommodations.
Finally, all US schools are required to do a background check on the adults in the host family. There is no expense to you.
Benefits of the Program
Most of the benefits of welcoming an international student into your home are intangible. Your family becomes a key player in John Bapst’s own friendship force, helping diversify the school and put Maine students in touch with the wider world.
Homestay families receive a monthly $600 stipend designed largely to offset food and transportation expenses. Monday through Friday, lunch will be provided at school.
How to Follow Up
We’re excited about your interest in the John Bapst Homestay Program. To take the next step, please read the Homestay Guide (pdf) and contact Head of School Mel MacKay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 947-0313 ext. 103 to set up an interview.
Thank you for your interest!