Questions about host family obligations:
Q: Do host families need to provide a private bedroom for the intern?
A: Yes, but not a private bathroom.
Q: Do host families need to provide food for interns?
A: Yes. All meals must be provided. During the week, families can either fund school lunches or provide food for interns to bring from home.
Q: Should the host family pay for the intern if they go out to dinner?
A: Yes. Host families are responsible for providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for their intern. However, it is acceptable to set a limit for all family members as well as the intern when you eat at a restaurant.
Q: Do host families need to live in St. Paul?
A: No; however, the closer to St. Paul and public transportation, the better.
Q: How do interns get to/from school and other activities?
A: For going to/from school, interns either ride the school bus or are transported by their host family/car pool. For other activities, interns generally take the city bus or are driven by host or partner families.
Q: Can an intern drive a host family car?
A: Most host families do not allow this, and sponsor organizations such as Amity require a written agreement to be signed between the host family and intern, outlining insurance issues and potential damages. Because of the complexities, LNFI discourages intern use of host family cars. Minnesota law requires that an intern have either a Minnesota or international driver’s license, and the intern would need to be added as a driver on the host family’s insurance policy. In addition to a signed, written agreement, responsibilities (filling the gas tank, how far they can drive, etc.) and differences in road rules would need to be discussed before an intern uses a host family vehicle.
Q: Do host families need to provide health insurance for the intern?
A: No. Interns arrive with health insurance.
Q: How much does it cost to host an intern?
A: It is hard to give an exact figure, as different families lead very different lifestyles. Some go out to eat frequently and do a lot of activities outside of the house while others do not. The cost can be estimated as the cost of feeding one adult for five months, plus the cost of utilities for an additional adult, as well as some incidental expenses.
Questions about hosting logistics:
Q: How many host families are needed for the 2016-2017 school year?
A: To host ten interns, we need 20 families (two per intern), plus an additional 2-3 back-up families to cover unforeseen changes to families’ ability to host.
Q: Do host families need to host for the whole school year?
A: No. Hosting is for 5 ½ months (one intern in either the fall or spring) or all year (2 separate interns, one in fall and one in spring). Fall is mid/late-August through mid-January, spring is mid-January through mid-June.
Q: Is it better to host in the fall or spring?
A: There is no right or wrong answer; it comes down to personal preference. Factors to consider include schedules, seasons and the intern’s changing needs during the year. If you’re really busy with work travel or other obligations during one semester, it may be better not to host then. You may have activities or family traditions in the fall or spring that you would like to share with your intern. Interns’ needs tend to change throughout the year. In the fall, interns are new to the U.S. and you have an opportunity to introduce them to the Twin Cities and our culture. They tend to need a bit more guidance. In the spring, interns have had time to acclimate. They are often more independent and have established friendships with the other interns, so may not be at home as much as they are in the fall.
Q: How old should our children be to host an intern?
A: Children of all ages benefit from an intern. Some host families have said that they have more time to spend with the intern when their children are a bit younger. Older children tend to have more activities, which can make schedules busier. But older children also benefit from the hosting experience, as they can speak French with the intern and do more independent activities with them.
Q: What if we have a vacation planned in August when the intern arrives?
A: The host family coordinator will help make temporary living arrangements for the intern until your return.
Q: Can we host if we plan on taking a vacation during the time we’re hosting?
A: Yes, there are many options. Interns frequently make travel plans for school break periods too, so they may be gone at the same time as you are. However, if an intern does not have travel plans, some families invite their intern along with all expenses paid. Some families offer to include the intern and explain what expenses they are and are not able to pay for the intern. Other families explain to the intern that they cannot afford to bring the intern along on vacation. All three options are equally acceptable. If you’re not able to afford to bring the intern on vacation, they may be able to stay with their partner family.
Questions about household dynamics:
Q: May host families request a male or female intern if they have a preference?
A: Yes. On the host family application, there is a question asking about gender preference.
Q: Do host parents have to speak French in order to host?
A: No. Most interns appreciate the opportunity to improve their English by speaking with their host parents.
Q: Will the intern speak French with our children?
A: LNFI encourages this; it is one of the benefits of having an intern in your home. It is acceptable to ask the intern to speak exclusively in French to your children.
Q: I’ve heard that interns are not allowed to babysit. What if I need to run to the store for a few groceries, may I leave the intern at home with our children?
A: Yes. It is acceptable to run a short errand and leave the intern in charge if the intern is willing to stay home with the children.
Q: We want to host an intern, but have a busy, “on-the-go” household. Can we still host?
A: There are questions on the host family application about family interests, activities, and lifestyle. This helps the Intern Committee match each intern with the most suitable family and not place a “homebody” intern with an “on-the-go” family.
Questions about Host Family Support:
Q: What support does a host family have from the Intern Committee?
A: The host family coordinator is always available to provide confidential help and will check in monthly with each host family. If a problem arises that cannot be solved directly between the intern and host family, the host family coordinator and intern liaison can help facilitate a resolution. If it becomes necessary, a new home will be found for the intern. However, talking through issues is often enough to resolve them.
Please contact Tracie Berniard at firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to any additional questions related to hosting an intern.
Please click here to fill out the host family application.