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Being a host family is an experience that will last all your life. The international 4-H program brings young people from around the globe to the United States. As members of American families, exchange youth experience the American way of life and share their own culture in countless ways. It is truly an unforgettable experience.

It is an experience that will change your life and open a brand new world to a young person from overseas. You and your family can join in this unique adventure by becoming a host family. All it takes is a warm heart, an open house, and a zest for international family living experiences.

Host families are as diverse as America itself; they come from all nationalities and religious backgrounds. Some families have children, others do not; some are affluent, others come from modest circumstances. They may be rural, suburban, or city dwellers - but. they all have an interest in learning more about the world and about themselves.

Illinois 4-H members and their families can participate in international programs sponsored by the 4-H International Programs Committee. 4-H families can  host a young person from a participating country. During a 3- to 4-week homestay, 4-H families open their homes and hearts to a young person and share our culture while learning about a different culture. Most host opportunities are scheduled mid- to late-summer. 

Open your home to the world. Hosting is an educational opportunity not just for the exchange student, but also for the host family, host school, and entire host community. 4-H programs focus on life skill development, including communication, tolerance, respect for others, and engaged citizenship. Students from Japan, Korea, and Eurasia arrive in August. Opportunities will be posted as they become available.

Contact (email to rosenbohm07@comcast.net)

2017 Hosting Opportunities

Illinois 4-H is participating in the 4-H Summer Exchange with Japan. The hosting period will be from July 22 – August 18. We are currently recruiting host families for Japanese youth 12 – 16 years of age or adult chaperones. The youth are currently participating in language acquisition programs – LEX and Labo with similar emphasis on family involvement much like our 4-H program. However, many youth are learning English and come with limited language skills, which provides opportunities for host families to be very creative in communicating with the child.

To be a host family, you must have a child the same gender and within 3 years of age as the host student. Host families do not need to plan special activities as these youth want to experience American culture, make new friends, and improve their English by staying with your family. APPLY ONLINE HERE

More hosting opportunities…

This year the IL IFYE Association will sponsor Poppy (a 24-year-old female from Wales) and Matthias (a 26- year-old male from Austria) arriving in Illinois around June 19 and departing around September 5. We are looking for three homes for each of them. If you are interested in hosting, please contact Susan Herren at sherren@peaknet.net or call 618-234-2045.

  • Poppy is currently going to school to get a degree in agriculture. She has been a member in the Young Farmers’ Club for 5 years. Some of the activities she has done in her club: singing, dancing, drama, pantomime, stock judging, and public speaking. Her hobbies include bike riding, running, reading, and playing guitar. She has three older sisters. She is currently working on the family farm that has beef, dairy, and arable farming. The family owns 250 acres and rents another 145 acres. The family also diversified into an adventure park, where she helps during the summer. She is particularly interested in dairy farming, but is looking forward to widening her agricultural experience in any way and wants to see as much of the country as possible.
  • Matthias is currently going to nursing school. He is taking a semester off to participate in this program. He has worked as a shop assistant, paramedic, and nursing auxiliary. He has been a volunteer for 13 years at the local fire department. He is from a small village of 600 and was instrumental in rebuilding a Young Farmers club in his town. Some of the activities he has done with the club: constructing the yearly maypole by hand, skiing, and participating in the “old timer” meeting. His hobbies include football, tennis, fight sport (kung fu), swimming, weights, jogging, skiing, cinema, and Red Cross – ambulance and paramedic service. He loves to be in nature and enjoys hiking. He has two sisters, one older and one younger. He is a Roman Catholic. He helps on his uncle’s farm (in the same town). He is fluent in German and wants to perfect his English. He is very open to new activities.