An amazing cultural journey for the entire family

Hosting an international student is a great way to learn about a new culture and share your own culture and values. Children often enjoy being cultural ambassadors, introducing their new brother or sister to local customs, traditions and national holidays. Everything from preparing meals to sightseeing are opportunities to discover and appreciate cultural and other differences.

Welcome adventure

Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country


Welcome change

Prepare your family to become global citizens—ready to connect with people from around the world


Welcome discovery

Help an international student learn how to live in and enjoy your culture and traditions

It can't be described, it has to be experienced

“I became involved in hosting exchange students for many reasons, how wonderful it is to enhance your home with a multicultural environment. To provide a home from home for young students in a different country is very rewarding. What better way of exploring and learning about a country than spending time with the people who live there? What easier way of encountering the rest of the world, than in the comfort of your own home!

–Kim O’Grady, host mother from Co. Tipperary

Apply to become a host family

What is an AFS/EIL host family?

AFS/EIL Ireland has invited families to welcome international students into their Irish homes since the 1970s. Long considered a key element in the well being of exchange students, host families provide so much more than shelter and meals.

Supported by a team of local coordinators and staff, host families help students navigate their new schools and communities, make friends, learn the language and enjoy their year abroad. Sharing culture and traditions help families bond, creating lifelong friendships.

How to become an AFS/EIL host family


Learn more and apply

Learn why host families are so important to AFS/EIL programs. Meet our team of local coordinators who will explain the thorough application process, done in a way so we can make the best match for your family.

Apply Now

You've been selected

We take finding families very seriously. Although there’s no “ideal” AFS/EIL family—we have plenty of experience finding the “right” families and fitting them with “the right” student.


Get ready to host

Receive your student’s profile, some essential resources and talk to your local coordinator. They will support your family and your student throughout the program and help you both learn how to make your AFS/EIL experience rewarding and fun.


Welcome your student

Open the door to your new family member by sharing your home, your heart and your world as you take your first steps to becoming global.

AFS/EIL Host Family Programs


Secondary School in Ireland

Duration: 3 to 9 months, starting at the beginning or the middle of the school year. Students will be 14–18 years old.

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EIL Short Programs

Duration: 1 –8 weeks, starting throughout the year but typically in the summer. Students will be 14–18 years old.

Apply Now

How does AFS/EIL support host families?


Experienced local coordinators will prepare your family for the challenges of welcoming a new member from another country.


24 hour local emergency contact and additional support from the AFS/EIL national office is available. Our students have medical insurance, if health care is necessary.


Trained and experienced local coordinators will support you throughout your hosting program, including once a month contact with you and your family to make sure everything is working out.


All our students attend pre departure and arrival orientations to help guide them on their intercultural journey and to better prepare themselves to settle into a new family life in a new culture.

Who are AFS/EIL students?

AFS/EIL students come from all over the world, from as far away as Australia, Brazil and Japan to our close neighbours Belgium, Germany and Italy, along with a host of other nationalities. AFS/EIL students are screened and selected by their sending organisation in their home country. They must have demonstrated the maturity and motivation to study abroad in addition to passing the selection criteria.
  • Usually between 14-18 years old on arrival
  • Committed to actively participate in their AFS/EIL program
  • Considered a good student in their home country
  • In good general health
  • Curious, flexible and open-minded

The AFS/EIL host family experience creates a lifetime of memories

Connect with families around the world

Host Family FAQ's

We have local coordinators in the regions of Achill island, Ballyhoura, Castlebar, Cahir, Callan, Carlow, Carrick-on-Suir, Carrigaline, Cashel, Clonmel, Clare, Cobh, Drogheda, Dungarvan, Galway, Kerry, Navan, Tuam, Tramore and Waterford. If you live outside of these areas, you may want to consider starting a host community near you and joining our team of local coordinators. Please call AFS/EIL to get the contact details of the coordinator near you.

AFS/EIL cannot place a student with a family who does not have a local coordinator living locally.


Being a host parent requires you to draw on a lot of skills and life experience. Amongst other, you have to be a role model, a good listener, and often the taxi driver. Key skills & characteristics you draw on ever day include patience, open communication, understanding, kindness, flexibility, even more patience and essentially, a sense of humour 🙂