All German host families are sourced, vetted and screened through our German partner organisation based in Bonn. They have a team of local coordinators based throughout Germany who live alongside the host families in their local communities. Host families are carefully selected by the local coordinator after an interview and home visit according to very definite selection criteria: open-mindedness, availability, receptiveness, welcoming environment, and good accommodation conditions.
Placements are mostly made in rural areas (countryside) and medium-sized towns, very rarely in the centre of big towns or cities. Students can be placed in any region in Germany, so they must have an open mind to this when applying, as there is no guarantee of geographical preference in the placement process.
Families are volunteers and receive no allowance for hosting international students. This concept of payment is unique to Ireland and Britain. Therefore, the motivation to host international students is not monetarily based; host families have a genuine interest in learning about the countries of their students and exposing themselves and their children to another culture by hosting. Some families hold the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Your child will truly be considered a member of the family, equal in rights and duties, and they share the family's day-to-day life, including leisure and outings. In return, families ask students to comply with family rules, which might include some minor tasks like washing the dishes or cleaning their bedrooms.
The host family is seen as responsible for the students' welfare and our partner office, Experiment e.V., insists on their role as 'parents.' Host families come in all shapes and sizes: single parents with children living in the house, nuclear families, older couples whose children are no longer at home, as well as young couples who may not have children are all considered potential host families. Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in. Applicants cannot reject host family placements and must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. There is never a dull moment- Irish students are doted on by their host families and are normally taken on trips with the family and are very active on the weekends. These sorts of trips and excursions are organised by the families themselves and are not included as part of the programme.