Homestay is an excellent way for international students attending SVC to become immersed in American culture.
Homestay is a living arrangement available to international students who would like to live with an American family. In return for a monthly payment a Host family provides the student with a private room and home atmosphere. This setting works well for a student who wants to interact as a family member, often sharing meals and activities. Please note - Minimum stay in Homestay is one quarter.
Application - Application packages are available at the SVC International Programs Office or on-line. Please visit the application link above to download a Homestay application package. The completed application forms and supporting documents may be faxed, brought or mailed to the college at the address below.
- Anji Viola
- Skagit Valley College
2405 East College Way
Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
- Phone: (360) 416-7814
Fax: (360) 416-7868
Traditional Homestay Monthly Stipend of $600
Under the "Traditional" option, all food is provided. Students are expected to prepare their own breakfast and lunch using the food provided by the host. At least five dinner meals each week are prepared by the host, usually Monday through Friday, and served at a time that is convenient to the host. Expenses such as bus fare, toiletries, long distance phone use, Internet installation and other personal items are not included in the stipend.
Room and Kitchen Access Monthly stipend of $425
Under the "Room and Kitchen Access" option, students are expected to buy their own food and prepare their own meals. Students who want a more independent relationship with the host family usually prefer this option. Expenses such as bus fare, toiletries, and long distance phone use, Internet installation and other personal items are not included in the stipend.
Total Homestay Costs
- Application Fee - $100
A $100 application fee is due with the Homestay application. The fee is refundable only if a Homestay cannot be found for the student.
- Cleaning Fee - $50
A nonrefundable $50 cleaning fee is due to the host upon moving in.
- Security/Damage Deposit - $100
A refundable $100 security deposit is due to the host upon moving in. This deposit is refunded to the student up to 30 days after departure if there are no unpaid bills or damages, and the student has given adequate notice before moving out.
- Monthly Stipend - $425 / $600
The monthly stipend is payment to the host for living expenses. It is $600 or $425, dependent upon the Homestay option chosen. This is due each month on the date the student moved in.
Living in a Homestay
Homestay Commitment - We expect students to stay in their Homestay at least one academic quarter (unless your program is shorter than a quarter) in order to be fair to hosts. The first ten days of the Homestay are considered a trial period to ensure that host and student are compatible. During this period, if you and the host decide you are not compatible, you may move out and pay the pro-rated amount of $20 per night for the nights of your stay. After the first ten days, you should stay in the Homestay for the remainder of the quarter, and when you decide to move out, you must give your host 20 days notice. Homestay is available to students of all ages. Students under the age of 18 years old must live in a Homestay, it is their only option.
Family Life - What makes up a family in the United States may be similar to a traditional family in your own country, or it may be very different. We have hosts from various ethnic groups, socioeconomic levels, religions, and lifestyles. Although we are committed to making appropriate and comfortable Homestay matches, we cannot accommodate requests for hosts of a specific racial background, of a specific religion, with a specific number of children, or any other characteristic. Please be open to experiencing our cultural diversity.
Homes - Just as there are different hosts, there are many different kinds of homes. Some homes are large and elegant; some are small and quite modest. Some homes may be in town and some in the country. Some hosts live in apartments. No matter the home, all students are provided with a private room with a window, chest of drawers, desk, chair, adequate lighting, bed, bedding and closet.
Participation in Family Life - By choosing to live in a Homestay a student makes the choice to be part of an American family. Families typically want to interact with their students. Students are encouraged to plan their schedules around host' schedules when possible, to make interaction possible. For example: mealtimes are often the best time to visit with the family and also practice English. Students should try to schedule their school and social calendars to be available at that time if at all possible.
Rules - Your host will explain the rules when you arrive. These rules could include what chores each household member is responsible for, whether you can invite your friends over, and how late you can receive phone calls. Most students seem to adapt easily to their hosts' lifestyles. In general, be respectful and know you are expected to follow your host's rules as a member of the family. Please note the following:
- You are responsible to pay for all your long distance phone calls. Your host may or may not allow you to use their telephone line for the Internet, but may allow you to set up a separate line to do so. Some hosts may already have a separate phone line in your room.
- Students generally are not allowed to use the hosts' computer.
- Smoking is not allowed in most homes. If you are a smoker, and your host doesn't allow you to smoke in their home, they may ask you to smoke away from the house.
- By being a member of the family, you may be asked to help with small household chores, such as helping with dishes, vacuuming, etc.
- Under age students will have additional rules applied due to their age.
Responsibilities - Students living in Homestay are responsible for their own transportation, the Homestay fees, and for following procedures for moving in and out of Homestay. Following are additional guidelines:
- Nearly all students walk, ride a bicycle, ride the bus or have a personal vehicle for transportation to school. Your host is not responsible for providing your transportation.
- You are responsible for paying your host a monthly stipend of $550 for Traditional Homestay and $400 for Room & Kitchen Access. In addition, upon arrival, you must pay the host $150 for the nonrefundable cleaning fee and refundable security deposit.
- Once you move in with a host, it is your responsibility to contact the SVC Homestay Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or problems. Remember: you must give the host 20 days notice prior to moving out. If you do not, the host is entitled to keep your prepaid rent and your security deposit. At this time you must also file a notice with the Homestay Coordinator's office. (Forms are available in the International Programs Office for this purpose.)
- When departing you must return your host's key, provide your new contact information for forwarding mail and phone calls, and leave your room as clean as you originally found it. You are responsible for any damages you cause at your Homestay.
- Student's Personal Property. The student's personal property is not the responsibility of SVC or the host family. Any lost or stolen personal property of the student, including lost or stolen money, which is not covered by an insurance policy, is the responsibility of the student. Students are required to establish a bank account separate from that of their host family.