Host families must live in Valparaiso and be able to provide a student with a private bedroom. Students pay their families $670 a month for a private room, two meals a day and transportation to the university.
Most Interlink students are 18-27 years old – though some business persons above that age range are enrolled – and come from all over the world to improve their English language skills. Many are university students planning to continue their education in the U.S., others are professionals in various fields, particularly law and business.
Since students do not have their own transportation, families are responsible for getting them to campus by 8:20 a.m. on weekdays and picking them up in the afternoon.
Rebecca Shelton, director of the language center, said having international students live with American families is a rewarding experience for both.
“It’s a huge plus for students to stay with a host family because they’re speaking English all the time in a natural setting and are learning about American culture as well,” Shelton said. “The benefits to families also are enormous because they learn about other cultures, develop new friendships and learn how people in other countries see America.”
Following application to be a host family, Interlink staff will schedule a visit to look at the accommodations. All families are welcome to participate in the homestay program, including retired couples, single-parent families and single individuals.