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Make Money by Hosting Foreign Exchange Students

by - April 10, 2013 - 13 Comments

From six weeks to six months at a time, you can make money by renting out a room in your home to students who are visiting the states to learn English or are enrolled in a study abroad program through their university.

Not only is this a great way to make some extra cash on the side, but it’s also a good option for meeting new people, discovering more about other cultures and even learning another language. In case the idea of housing a teenager isn’t your idea of fun, the best part is that this doesn’t stop with just students–guest lecturers from all over the world attend and teach courses here in the states, and they are in need of housing, too!

Types of Foreign Student Hosting

While there can be many different arrangements (in terms of details) that can be made with the students or lecturers who stay with you, most people choose to stay in someone’s home through two main ways: Hosting that is for only part of the day or hosting that is 24/7 for the duration of the visitor’s stay in the States.

With the partial hosting option, this is most often utilized when someone is here to learn English. Therefore, you usually need to have a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification. If someone is staying with you full-time, they would typically have commitments during the day (school, language courses, etc.) and would return home each night to eat, sleep, study, etc.

How to Become a Foreign Student Host

If you’re interested in hosting a student (or faculty member), you first need to establish contact with the schools that teach (or employ) these people. From local language schools to community colleges and universities in your area, you need to reach out to the student housing offices to be placed on their list of host families.

Once you’ve established contact with the school, you’ll need to formally apply and submit to interviews, a tour of your home and background and reference checks. After you’re approved, your name and contact information will be listed on the school’s database for families, advisers and school officials (from the foreign schools the student regularly attend) to contact you.

If you’re looking for language schools in your area, check an online resource such as the International Association of Language Centres where you can search for schools based on geographic location.

How Much Money Can I Make?

Depending on your location in proximity to the student’s school (or the professor’s workplace) and any major cities or urban areas, you can make upwards of $200/week to host a foreign student. The total sum varies depending upon other factors such as meals you’ll provide for the person, if the room has an attached bathroom, etc. You can also charge additional fees for laundry services, transportation and Internet access if you’re willing to provide extra service options for your visitors.

Remember that these situations are temporary, so you can host a student or professor at a time that works for you. You also won’t be stuck with an unruly teen or a horrible roommate forever if the situation sours–although six months can be an interesting amount of time so make sure to do your own due diligence before you agree to host someone.

Good luck, Penny Hoarders!




  • Maria Iemma

    I wish I had room to host a foreign exchange student – my apartment is tiny with only one bathroom and we are bulging at the seams. It is a wonderful idea and it helps both the student and the host and you get to learn about other cultures. Good luck to all who decide to do it.

  • Bobby Tarumi

    Lol I suppose renting out rooms to professors could count as hosting foreign “students”. I do know of a few grad students/part-time lecturers that did that. Grad school took up so much of their time that they couldn’t work as much as they’d like to for rent money. Host families are a good alternative.

  • Michael W Perkins

    interesting, i guess, not for me.


    This is a great. Thanks for the tip. We will be having an empty room soon and live close to a very prestigious college that has a lot of foreign college students. Perhaps this is a good alternative to renting out a room to a local.

    • Cindy

      Hi Maddie,

      Did you ever do this? I am thinking about it, but would like to hear from someone who has done this.

  • Anne

    I hosted two foreign exchange high school students last year and did not make a dime. I am not sure what this organization is talking about. But, The students I had had to be fed and housed by me without compensation. I would seriously look into this. I really question if this is a legitimate deal.

    • Sherry

      We too hosted a foreign exchange high school student and weren’t compensated for room and board. I think they are talking about hosting *college* students. The arrangement may be different for this group.

  • Brenda Soberanes

    I’m interested in hosting a college student in my home and would like to have further information. Thank you!

  • Kiesha Stallings

    I would love to host an exchange student! I would like more information about this

  • Amelia lomas


  • Sharon Wallace

    New oasis pays 900 a month to host an exc for student

    • Neo

      Why do they pay so much a month? Just curious what is compensated by that. Thank you!

      • Sharon Wallace

        3 meals a day and transportation to the students school

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