International Host Family Program

“We are excited to partner with our Harvest families to welcome international students & expand opportunities for cross-cultural experiences in our school community. What a great way to live out our faith as we care for the daily needs of international students together.” Dr. Judith Bethge, High School Principal

Why Host an International Student?

Hosting an international student in your home expands your own family’s perspectives and connections with other cultures around the world.

This experience provides your family with an opportunity to live out our faith in Jesus Christ by welcoming others and showing hospitality.  Not only could your family make a relationship that lasts a lifetime, but hosting an international student gives your family an opportunity to grow and stretch in new ways.

Hosting an international student is a challenging, stimulating, and meaningful adventure that can turn contact between cultures into a special and lasting bond between people and families.

The HCA Host Family Program

Families who participate in our Host Family Program welcome an international student into their home to join their family for the school year.  The Host Family is the core context for supporting the international student adjustment and connection with American education, culture, and family life.

We are looking for Harvest families who are willing to share their homes and time with international students for the school year and who are committed to maintaining our community standards and philosophies.

We want your family to feel as prepared, equipped, and supported as possible during the school year.  Host families have a dedicated liaison with HCA that will help navigate the year with you and your international student.  The initial commitment for Host Families in the program is only the school year.  Students will be travelling home during both summer break and Christmas break.

Full-Immersion Program

The homestay boarding experience provides international students with a caring and safe setting to experience the full cultural immersion of American life with our Harvest Families.

In addition to providing food and rides for your student to school and activities, your international student participates in daily family life, routines, church participation, and celebrations.

Host Parents commit to “step-in” parenting to help guide and provide emotional support to the international student during the school year.  Host Families commit to eating a cooked meal together several times per week to provide time for connection and learning practical skills.

Regular outings and activities will be planned by HCA for the international students but families are welcomed and encouraged to participate in normal family outings and activities together with their international student.

Other Considerations:

Host Families participate in quarterly training to grow and improve their skills and encourage other host families.

International Students and Host Families agree to live by certain standards, codes of conduct, and expectations of the International Student Program.  (Eventual Links to each handbook here-still in process).


  1. Complete the Host Family Application with references.
  2. Type answers to the Host Family Application Part 2 and submit via email to [email protected]
  3. Participate in a Host Family Interview within your home.
  4. Complete the background fingerprinting exam for all household members over the age of 18 and a check of references. (Directions and links for fingerprinting exam will be provided via email after acceptance and review of application.)


If accepted as a host family:

  1. Complete the Host Family Commitment form.
  2. Attend initial orientation training night.
  3. Attend quarterly training events.
  4. Complete Surveys and Feedback as requested.


Begin by creating an account that will open our International Application to you. See HOW TO APPLY.
The application requires responses generated by the student and the parents of the student. Applications with content generated by someone other than the student (where required) will be disregarded.
At the end of the application form, the $400 application fee must be paid by credit card.
Once the application, application fee, and all supporting materials have been received, a Skype or WeChat video interview will be scheduled for the student.

The student’s parents should also be available to talk after the student has interviewed.

The student interview lasts between 45-60 minutes. No preparation is required by the student.
An admissions decision will take between 3-10 business days. The student or student’s representative will be contacted with the admissions decision as soon as possible.

If accepted, the student will receive:
• An official acceptance letter
• The Enrollment Contract
• Any additional forms the school needs signed
The student’s family will have 10 calendar days to accept or reject the admissions offer. This will be communicated by returning the signed enrollment contract and making the required deposit within the 10 calendar day period.

If the student is accepted after May 1, quicker action by the student’s family may be required.
The school will issue and physically mail the I-20 Form to the student’s home address. The I-20 Form is the form which allows the student to schedule an F-1 Student Visa appointment at their local U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

The family should schedule the visa appointment right away.
Any remaining payment is due within 10 calendar days after successfully passing their F-1 Visa appointment. Failure to make full payment within this period may result in cancellation of the student’s I-20.
The student’s family should purchase flights to America (Chicago-O’Hare International Airport) and let HCA know of the student’s travel plans.
HCA staff will be at the airport to welcome each student for the start of the Orientation Program, the orientation program for each international student entering HCA. Students should arrive at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago,IL.

At the end of Orientation, the student will begin life with their host family and classes at HCA.

Ready to Apply?



Harvest Christian Academy admits students of any race, color,national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.